Northrop Presents

Classical Forms & Cultural Identity: Looking to the Past to Look Forward

Past event
Nov 07, 2022
Phil Chan and Ashwini Ramaswamy

Join Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer, Ashwini Ramaswamy (Ashwini Ramaswamy and Kevork Mourad: Invisible Cities, Ragamala Dance Company), and co-founder and author of Final Bow for Yellowface, Phil Chan, for an online happy hour conversation about adapting stories for the stage and the role of innovation and improvisation in making classical dance forms relevant for contemporary audiences.

This event will be captioned with other accessibility services available upon request.

Event Details

Event Access Information

  • Livestream begins Mon, Nov 7 at 5:00 pm on Zoom. 
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Ashwini Ramaswamy

Photo by Ed Bock

Ashwini Ramaswamy

Ashwini Ramaswamy has practiced the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam—a living, breathing movement language that conveys the range of human experience—for over 30 years. Decades of dance training from her teachers - mother Ranee Ramaswamy, sister Aparna Ramaswamy, and the legendary Smt. Alarmel Valli of Chennai, India – has allowed her to uphold the balance between technical rigor, physicality, grace, and expressive authenticity that is the hallmark of their Bharatanatyam lineage. This meticulous training has given Ashwini a robust foundation upon which to build her own structures.

As a founding member of Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Ragamala Dance Company, Ashwini has toured extensively, performing throughout the U.S. and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the U.K, and India, highlighted by performances at The Joyce Theater and Lincoln Center Out of Doors (New York, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), American Dance Festival (Durham, N.C.), Music Center of Los Angeles, the Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, CT), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bali Arts Festival, National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), and Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India). As a soloist, she has performed at the Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), the Ritz Theater (Minneapolis, MN), Northrop (Minneapolis, MN), Carleton College (Northfield, MN), the Drive East Festival, and Erasing Borders Festival (New York, NY).

Her work is praised for “[weaving] together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine” (The New York Times, Critic’s Pick). Ashwini’s choreography was listed among the “Best of the Year” in the Star Tribune, Minnpost, and The Washington Post, and was a City Pages Artist of the Year for “illuminating Bharatanatyam’s future.” Her work has been presented by the Joyce Theater and Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC), Cowles Center (Mpls), The O’Shaughnessy (St. Paul), The Scottsdale Center (Arizona), The Yard (Martha’s Vineyard), and the Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), among others.

Ashwini is the recipient of grants from the MN State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, The South Asian Resiliency Fund, and Jerome Foundation, a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship and McKnight Fellowships for dance & choreography. Her work is supported by USArtists International, MAP Fund, the National Performance Network, and the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, has been commissioned by The Liquid Music Series, The American Dance Platform, Augsburg College, and Macalester College, and developed in residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, UNC Chapel Hill, Kohler Arts Center, the National Center for Choreography, the Bogliasco Foundation (Bogliasco, Italy), and the Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France). Her next project, Ashwini Ramaswamy and Kevork Mourad: Invisible Cities, which premieres in 2023, is commissioned by The Great Northern Festival, Northrop, The Cowles Center, The Perelman Center, The Kohler Center, and The Bates Dance Festival.

Phil Chan

Photo by Eli Schmidt

Phil Chan

Phil Chan is a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, and author of Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact, and the President of the Gold Standard Arts Foundation. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of the Ailey School. He has held fellowships with NYU, the Manhattan School of Music, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and is currently a fellow at Harvard University, Drexel University, and the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art in Paris. As a writer, he served as the Executive Editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Business Weekly, and the Huffington Post, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Dance Magazine. He served multiple years on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel and the Jadin Wong Award panel presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance. His latest choreography project, the Ballet des Porcelaines, premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Dec 2021 and will tour throughout 2022. He is a Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Dance at Carleton College in Fall 2022, and was just named a Next 50 Arts Leader by the Kennedy Center.

Support by

Minnesota State Arts Board logo

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.