Northrop Centennial Commission

Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim

Rooted in the expansive South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, Ragamala Dance Company manifests a kindred relationship between the ancient and the contemporary. In their latest evening-length performance, Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim, eleven dancers conjure a realm where time is suspended and humans merge with the divine. Award-winning creators Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy imagine a metaphorical crossing place that enters into a ritualistic world of immortality, evoking the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora. This work is the culmination of a two-year partnership with Northrop that included a reimagined 2020-21 Ragamala Rooted residency with free monthly engagement activities.

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


“soulful, imaginative and rhythmically contagious … every gesture radiates joy or generosity or a sense of striving toward some higher form of being.”  —The New York Times


Program Notes

Kari Schloner

Greetings! Welcome to this special performance by Minnesota’s very own Ragamala Dance Company. It feels like a blessing and a gift to be sitting here with you in person, a simple pleasure that has taken on new significance these last two years.

This performance is emblematic of the pandemic’s silver linings. Ragamala Dance Company was originally scheduled to be a part of Northrop’s 2020-21 dance series, but the ongoing ebb and flow of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the timeline for the creation and presentation of Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim again and again. These “set-backs” provided an opportunity to extend the partnership between Northrop and Ragamala and to offer audiences the chance to dive more deeply into the themes of the work.

Together we hosted Pico Iyer in a conversation with Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy entitled The Multinational Soul: A Talk About Ancient Indian Traditions in a Modern, Diasporic World that gave us a window into their reflections on the concepts of impermanence, joy, and sorrow through the lens of their shared Indian heritage, and Food for the Souls: Food Rituals in the Diaspora to explore how food fits into end-of-life rituals as they relate to Varanasi. We examined the connection between Bharatanatyam and yoga through an online and in-person workshop and held an interfaith panel discussion on end-of-life rituals and practices that honor the lives of our loved ones who have passed on called Talking to the Dead. All of this culminates tonight at last, with Ragamala’s presentation of Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim.

Northrop is also very proud to include Ragamala’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim as part of the Northrop Centennial Commissions program. This program provided eight companies whose performances were either canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 with residencies and financial support to create new work, while simultaneously offering our communities opportunities to engage with the artists throughout the process. This transformational program will continue to support at least one company each year, acting as a runway to Northrop’s centennial anniversary in 2029 and leaving a legacy of new work to be appreciated for generations to come.

I want to give a special thanks to RBC Wealth Management, who sponsored this performance by Ragamala, and to our subscribers and donors. You helped to make tonight's performance possible. When performances were canceled due to the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, 239 ticket holders donated the value of their tickets to Northrop. These ticket donations were the seeds that became the Northrop Commissioning Project Fund. If you donated your ticket back to Northrop, thank you for dreaming big with us. I invite you to learn more about the Northrop Centennial Commissions program, our current projects, and how you can support the ongoing creation of new work. Thank you, and enjoy tonight’s performance.


Kari Schloner
Director of Northrop

Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy’s
Ragamala Dance Company

Ragamala Dance Company logo

Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim

Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy

Choreographic Assistant: 
Ashwini Ramaswamy

Ranee Ramaswamy

Original Compositions:
Prema Ramamurthy, Ranee Ramaswamy, S. Sakthivel Muruganantham, and Lalit Subramanian

Development of Score: 
Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, with the musical ensemble

Choreography of Bho Shambho:
(performed by Aparna Ramaswamy)
Padmabhushan Smt. Alarmél Valli

Aparna Ramaswamy, Ranee Ramaswamy, Ashwini Ramaswamy, Chaitra Chandrashekar, Jessica Fiala, Sri Guntipally, Ramya Kapadia, Tamara Nadel, Radhika Naidu, Garrett Sour, Alan Tse

Preethy Mahesh (vocal), Lalit Subramanian (vocal), C.K. Vasudevan (nattuvangam), S. Sakthivel Muruganantham (mridangam), Ramanathan Kalaiarasan (violin), Sruthi Sagar (flute)

Maulav Ganga (performed by Ranee Ramaswamy) pre-recorded by Vidwan Sri T.M. Krishna (vocal), with K. Arun Prakash (mridangam), R.K. Shriram Kumar (violin), and Bhagyashri (tanpura), included by special permission from the artists

Scenic and Lighting Design: 
Willy Cessa

D.S. Aiyellu, Ranee Ramaswamy, and Carole Bruns Couture 

Production Manager/Sound Engineer/Prop Construction: 
Maury Jensen

Associate Lighting Designer: 
Mary Shabatura

Technical Director/Lighting Supervisor:
Mat Terwilliger

Set Construction: 
Joseph Stanley

Sound Recording, Editing, and Mixing: 
Kalaiarasan Ramanathan, Baba Prasad, Michael DeMark

Tour Manager: 
Erik Madsen-Bond

Exclusive Representation by:
Laura Colby, Director, Elsie Management


Lead Commissioner:
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 


The Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College

Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at Cal State Northridge

Northrop at the University of Minnesota

With additional commissioning support from:

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University 

Meany Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington  

American Dance Festival

The Joyce Theater Foundation's Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Work

Developed in Part in Residence at:
Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College 
Northrop at the University of Minnesota
The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, 
with support from Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Guggenheim Fellowships

Creative Producer
Laura Colby, President, Elsie Management

Special Thanks: 
This work is a reflection of the long training Ranee, Aparna, and Ashwini have had under our respected guru Smt. Alarmél Valli. As a guru par excellence, she has molded our technique, elevated our thinking, imparted clarity of aesthetic, and mined the depth of abhinaya. As she has said many times, a true guru is like a banyan tree and the students are its numerous roots that drop to form individual trees. We are humbled to take root to form our own plants, but always be a part of that magnificent tree. With deep respect and love to the one who has given us everything.

Ranee and Aparna RamaswamyVaranasi, India is a city where past, present, and future mingle within a single space—the sacred city is a portal between the ancient and the current. We have created Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim as a narrative nested within a narrative, nested within another narrative—the art forms, philosophies, and rituals borne from our Hindu ancestry which remain a source of hope, solace, and truth; the pilgrim who travels through time and space singing and dancing the name of the Sacred; and finally, the powerful voices of those who journey from one home to another.

We began envisioning this project after the death of our father/grandfather away from his homeland of India. A devout Hindu, his desire was for his ashes to be scattered in the Ganges River in Varanasi just as our ancestors before him. 

For millennia, Varanasi has symbolized the crossing place between this world and the ‘far shore.’ Cremation fires burn night and day, and one is surrounded by rituals of death, both beautiful and apocalyptic. Ours is a religious tradition that contemplates life and death as an integrated whole. Upon death, the funereal fires dissolve the five elements of the physical body in order to take these elements to a new body. 

Our dance tradition of Bharatanatyam provides a rich and expansive lexicon that serves as our wellspring. With a history that goes back over two millennia, the form grows within and with each practitioner. Through this language, we celebrate body and spirit, and the joyous and healing quest for physical and spiritual transcendence. 

The creation process of Fires of Varanasi began well before the pandemic, yet the themes of mortality and resilience became even more salient, and the sharing of stories and honoring of ancestors even more urgent. We are incredibly grateful to our commissioners and funders who made this work possible. We could not have created this work without the commitment of our dancers, musical and technical collaborators, and staff, who spent hundreds of hours with us and each other over Zoom and WhatsApp. 

Finally, we dedicate Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim to the memory of our dear friend, Patricia Barretto, who lost her battle with cancer in March, 2020. Patricia was a visionary and a force, and we miss her greatly. Thank you, Patricia, for blessing this work with your light.

—Aparna Ramaswamy and Ranee Ramaswamy


The Sacred pilgrimage routes, The Ganges River, and the patron deity Shiva together form the cosmic trinity of Varanasi, each providing a tirtha—or metaphorical crossing place—where one may leave the mundane and enter into the world of immortality.  

Fires of Varanasi opens at dusk with a ritual on the banks of the Ganges River, its sacred waters offering a purification for the living and salvation for the dead. Through the work, eleven dancers undertake a sacred pilgrimage through shifting landscapes as they seek a mystical connection between the divine and the human. The dancers are engrossed in an ecstatic and communal prayer, the soloists become the ‘Eternal Pilgrim’ seeking a solitary and internalized ritual of sacred contemplation. Ultimately the physical journey transforms into a psychic one.



Darshanam, To See and Be Seen

Soloist: Aparna Ramaswamy

The fire god, Agni, is the intermediary between Gods and humans, and a witness of our actions. The blessings of Agni are sought on all solemn occasions, including birth, marriage, and death. He is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels—on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, and in the sky as the sun. 

The banks of the Ganges River become the altar to worship the sun every morning, bringing light and life, an end to the actual and metaphoric darkness.

Sankalpam, Conviction to the Deity of Cosmic Balance
Soloist: Ranee Ramaswamy

As the veil of darkness lifts, we prepare to glimpse Shiva, the reigning deity of Varanasi.



Liquid Shakti

The Power of the Ganges River
The Ganges River—mythologized as falling from heaven to earth—is a manifestation of Shakti, the female life-energy of Shiva. Bathing in the Ganges River is an essential daily act of the pilgrim in Varanasi, invoking the water as a giver of life, immortality, and healing.

The Myth of the Rivers
Soloist: Ranee Ramaswamy, Ashwini Ramaswamy, Aparna Ramaswamy
The Ganges is believed to feed thousands of rivers and water bodies, forever making the gods present and humans linked. 

In His incarnation as Vamana, Vishnu transformed into Trivikrama, lifting His left foot and, with His big toe, tearing the sheath of the universe and releasing Ganga from the heavens. Shiva calmed Her ferocious waters by trapping them in His hair, releasing Her in small streams.

As Vishnu’s incarnation of Krishna, He saved the Yamuna River. The water of the Yamuna seethed with the poison of the snake-demon, Kaliya. Nothing grew on the river bank; no bird or beast was spared. To save the river and the people, Krishna leapt onto Kaliya's head, assuming the weight of the whole universe, dancing the snake into submission.

Ganga as Mother Goddess 
Goddess Ganga is the liquid essence of life, the celestial river cascading from heaven to nourish humanity.

Goddess Ganga is worshiped through an immersive engagement with the river. The repetitive pouring of water by devotees recognizes the life-giving force of the water, the ability to wash away troubles, and the acceptance of old age and death. The devotee ultimately seeks the embrace of Mother Ganga to cross over into a place of joy after death.



The Purification of the Living and the Salvation of the Dead

Weaving Eternity
Soloist: Chaitra Chandrasekhar
“An extraordinary weaver has woven this shawl of life, by stretching the vertical threads of one's actions and the horizontal threads of destiny. This human body is a combination of past actions and destiny.”  
—15th c. Sufi poet Kabir Das of Varanasi

The Eternal Pilgrim
Soloist: Ranee Ramaswamy
The 5th century Bhakti poet Karaikal Ammayar is the symbol for the ‘Eternal Pilgrim.’ In her longing for Shiva, she yearned to shed her body—flesh, skin, and gender—to emphasize the true essence of her humanity.

I aspired to only one thing;
I settled on it and left the rest
I kept in my heart only that lord
whose crest bears the Ganga
whose matted locks
are adorned with the sun and moon
whose palm holds the flames—
and I have become his servant.

At twilight,
flawlessly in time to the rhythm
of heavenly drums
effortlessly bearing fire in his palm
the beautiful one dances.

The City of Shiva
Soloist: Aparna Ramaswamy
The cosmic dance of Shiva symbolizes the interplay of dynamic and static divine energy flow, containing the five principles of eternal energy—creation, preservation, destruction, illusion, and emancipation. 

The ecstatic pilgrimage journey begins and ends at the Kasi Vishweshvara temple—the center of Varanasi, a city where people surrender their earthly bodies to death and receive spiritual bodies like Shiva himself.


For additional information, please visit Ragamala’s website to access Fires of Varanasi: An Illustrated Guide, developed by Ranee Ramaswamy:

Woven Light: Textiles from Varanasi

Curated by Khazana

Varanasi is a sacred city on the banks of the holy Ganges River which draws thousands of pilgrims to its many temples and to the river itself to light oil lamps and funeral pyres in honor of the deceased, sanctifying the passage from life to death. The lights from these pyres and lamps have given Varanasi the name, “City of Lights.”  

Varanasi (previously, “Banares”) is also celebrated as a home for weavers, particularly for the many gifted artisans who create complex brocade textiles from colorful silk and lustrous gold and silver threads. The “Banarasi Brocades” for which the city is famous not only reveal the skills of these expert weavers, but also capture the aura of the city itself: the metallic threads woven into these textiles shimmer and reflect light, much like the flames from the city’s sacred oil lamps and funeral pyres. These textiles also illustrate the other side of Varanasi, as a vibrant cultural and artistic center that is teeming with life. 

Curated by Khazana at the invitation of Ragamala Dance Company, the exhibition Woven Light: Textiles from Varanasi features the beauty and diversity of Varanasi’s brocade textiles. 

Khazana, which means “treasure” in Hindi and Urdu, is a gallery, boutique, and community gathering space in Minneapolis. Amongst the many treasures of Khazana is an extensive collection of vintage and newly-crafted textiles from India, including brocade woven sarees from Varanasi.  

“Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer.”

—The New York Times


Driven by the artistic vision of mother-daughters Ranee Ramaswamy, Aparna Ramaswamy (Artistic Directors), and Ashwini Ramaswamy (Choreographic Associate), Ragamala Dance Company is committed to the idea that while history is time bound, the stories we share are timeless. Rooted in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, Ragamala's work is expansive – extending beyond the stage to embody their immigrant experiences and show a kindred relationship between ancient and contemporary within today’s world.

Ragamala has toured extensively throughout the U.S., India, and abroad, highlighted by the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Joyce Theater (New York), Lincoln Center (New York), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (MA), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT), Cal Performances (Berkeley), Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India), and National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), among others.

For upcoming tour dates or to subscribe to Ragamala’s e-newsletter, please visit, 
Or contact us at, • 612-824-1968 
Facebook: @ragamala     Instagram: @ragamala_dance     YouTube: 

For booking information, please contact,
Laura Colby, Director, Elsie Management • 718-797-4577

Ranee and Aparna RamaswamyRANEE RAMASWAMY and APARNA RAMASWAMY (Artistic Directors/Creators/Choreographers/ Principal Dancers) explore the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary, highlighting the fluidity between the secular and the spiritual, the inner and the outer, the human and the natural. Working in an intergenerational partnership between mother and daughter, their creative vision merges the rich traditions and deep philosophical roots of their Indian heritage with their hybridic perspective as first generation Indian-Americans. As protégés and senior disciples of legendary dancer/choreographer Padma Bhushan Smt. Alarmél Valli, known as one of India’s greatest living masters, Ranee and Aparna’s training in the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam is the bedrock of their creative aesthetic.

Among their recent awards and honors are a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Research Fellowship (Italy), and a 2020 McKnight Fellowship for Choreography. Their choreographic work has been commissioned by the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Lincoln Center (New York), American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT), and the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), among others, and supporters of their work include the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, MAP Fund, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. They have developed work in residence at MANCC (the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography), the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth, Northrop (Minneapolis), and during an NPN residency at The Yard.

Ranee currently serves on the National Council on the Arts, appointed by President Barack Obama. She is a recipient of a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artists Fellowship, a McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, and 15 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Choreography and Interdisciplinary Art, among others. (

Aparna is a recipient of a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Joyce Award, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, and four McKnight Artist Fellowships, among others. Most recently, she was named a recipient of a 2022 Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College. Described by The New York Times as “thrillingly three-dimensional… rapturous and profound,” she has been selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch and is an empaneled artist with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Her projects include solo, evening-length works which have toured widely, nationally and internationally, and commissions from the American Dance Festival and the Silk Road Ensemble, among others. (

Ashwini RamaswamyASHWINI RAMASWAMY (Choreographic Associate/Dancer) has spent over 25 years studying Bharatanatyam from her gurus - her mother Ranee Ramaswamy, sister Aparna Ramaswamy, and the legendary Smt. Alarmel Valli of Chennai, India. The New York Times describes Ashwini as “weaving together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine.” As a founding member of Ragamala, she has toured extensively, performing throughout the U.S. and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the U.K, and India. Ashwini has received commissions from the SPCO’s Liquid Music Series, American Dance Platform, Macalester College, and Great Northern Festival, residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC), UNC Chapel Hill (North Carolina), and National Center for Choreography (OH), and support from the National Dance Project, MAP Fund, USArtists International, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund, a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, and McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowships for Dance and Choreography. Her choreography has been listed among the ‘Best of the Year’ in The Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnpost, and Big Dance Town. As a 2019 City Pages ‘Artist of the Year, Ashwini's work was highlighted for ‘illuminating Bharatanatyam’s future.” She is currently touring her most recent work, Let the Crows Come. (

SMT. PREMA RAMAMURTHY (Composer) has been an outstanding vocalist and composer for more than four decades. She received intensive training under the great Maestro ‘Padmavibhushan’ Dr. Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, specialized in the art of ‘Pallavi singing’ from Vidwan Sri T. V. Gopalakrishnan, and learned the art of singing ‘Padams & Javalis’ from the veteran musician, Mrs. T. Muktha. An A-TOP Grade Artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan TV, she has won critical acclaim as a composer, and has performed in many of the top venues and festivals of India, the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Mexico, and South Africa.

WILLY CESSA (Scenic and Lighting Design) has worked as a director, light director, and light designer since 2001. In 2007, he met Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in Paris for the project La Zon-Mai at the Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration. Since that time, they have collaborated on 13 projects for Cherkaoui’s Antwerp-based company Eastman. Additionally, he has worked with multiple renowned artists and institutions, including Yabin Wang, Aakash Odedra, Herman Diephuis, Esther Aumatell, Fanny de Chaillé, Damian Jalet, Le Centre Dramatique Régional des Pays de la Loire, Cie Les Aphoristes, Cie KLP, Danse l’Afrique Danse!, and Franck II Louise.

Chaitra ChandrashekarCHAITRA CHANDRASHEKAR (Dancer) is a disciple of Guru Dr. Mala Shashikanth and Guru Vid. Asha Ravindra, and has practiced and honed the art form of Bharatanatyam for over two decades, performing at prestigious cultural events and competitions from a young age. She completed major levels of examinations conducted by KSEEB (Educational Board of Karnataka) in India and attained pre-vidushi honorary title. She is currently an Apprentice with Ragamala, learning under Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy since 2020.

Jessica FialaJESSICA FIALA (Dancer) began training with Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy in 2006 and has performed with Ragamala throughout the US and in India, the UK, and the UAE. She holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in museum studies and cultural studies from the University of Minnesota, with research published in the anthology The Ruined Archive and the journals Diálogos com a arte and the Journal of Somaesthetics. Fialais also a research associate at the consulting firm 8 Bridges Workshop.

Sri GuntipallySRI GUNTIPALLY (Dancer) has been learning Bharatanatyam under Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy since 2018. She is an Apprentice with Ragamala and has performed with the company at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Guntipallygraduated high school in 2021 as valedictorian at Eagle Ridge Academy, a U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate, and National Merit Scholar. She is attending the University of Minnesota to study Human Physiology, and aspires to be a dancing doctor.

Ramya KapadiaRAMYA S. KAPADIA (Dancer) is a Knoxville-based Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer and a Carnatic vocalist. Kapadiahas toured around the world to present solo and ensemble works and is a much sought-after vocalist and composer for Bharatanatyam dancers. She has received the Emerging Artist award, Choreography Fellowship and Individual Artist awards from the Durham Arts Council and the NC Arts Council and is a teaching artist with United Arts the Durham Arts Council.

Tamara NadelTAMARA NADEL (Dancer) is a disciple of Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy and a founding member of Ragamala, performing throughout the U.S, India, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, and the U.K. She has received grants and fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Minnesota State Arts Board, among others. Most recently, she was selected by the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts at UW-Madison to perform a solo choreographed for her by Ranee Ramaswamy, illuminating the synergies between Hindu and Jewish mystical traditions. Nadel is Ragamala’s Director of Institutional Development and board member of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

Radhika NaiduRADHIKA NAIDU (Dancer) joined Ragamala in October 2019 as a participant in the development of Fires of Varanasi. As an immigrant to the U.S. in her teens, and having visited Varanasi, she was particularly drawn to and inspired by Ranee and Aparna’s portrayal of the theme of this project through Bharatanatyam. In her spare time, Naidu is a practicing pediatrician.

Garret SourGARRETT SOUR (Dancer) is a classical Cambodian dancer under the master teacher, Yousedy Peov and is a principal dancer and assistant instructor with Wattanak Dance Troupe. Sour has also trained in different dance styles competing in many different competitions across the nation and has performed in South Korea representing the USA in the 13th Gangneung International Junior Art Festival. When Sour is not dancing, he is working towards his undergraduate degree at the University of Saint Thomas.

Alan TseALAN TSE (Dancer) is a creative soul expressing his artistic skills through design, dance, and yoga. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Alan moved to the Twin Cities two decades ago. He has danced with Sole to Soul Dance Conversion, Ballet of the Dolls, and MotionArts, and has performed in works by Myron Johnson, Jim Liberthal, Pam Gleason, and more. Tse is currently a company member of Continental Ballet Company.

PREETHY MAHESH (Vocal) is a Carnatic musician who has been accompanying eminent dancers since 2002. She owes her art to her respected gurus Sri DK Jayaraman and Sri S Kalyanaraman. A graded artist of All India Radio she has performed extensively as a soloist and has recorded multiple commercially-available albums of dance music. She has performed in some of the world’s best theatres with accomplished artists such as Priyadarsini Govind, Shobana, Padmabhushan Alarmél Valli, Revati Ramachandran, Parvati Ghantasala, The Dhananjayans, and Ragamala. In recognition of her contribution to the art, has been honored her with the titles Gana Kokilam, Sangeetagna, and Nritya Sangeeta Varshini.

LALIT SUBRAMANIAN (Composer/Vocal) is a vocalist proficient in both the South Indian (Carnatic) and North Indian (Hindustani) styles of Indian classical music. He is the disciple of renowned Carnatic musicians Tiruvarur Sri S. Girish and Neyveli Sri R. Santhanagopalan, and renowned Hindustani musician Pandit Shekhar Kumbhojkar. Subramanianhas won multiple awards and performs at various venues in the U.S. and India, both as a solo vocalist and as an accompanist for dance performances. He also plays the mridangam and the tabla and has trained under tabla artist Pandit Anand Godse. He has been a junior artiste at All India Radio as a Hindustani vocalist, and holds a graduate degree in Carnatic music from India. Subramanian has been working with Ragamala Dance Company since 2008.

C.K. VASUDEVAN (Nattuvangam) is student of renowned Carnatic percussion maestro, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. Umayalpuram Sivaraman, and has been trained by Padma Bhushan Smt. Alarmél Valli in the art of nattuvangam. Mr. Vasudevan has provided vocal support to several renowned dancers at the major festivals and theatres of India, and in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. He has a diploma in mridangam from the Tamil Nadu Government Music College, and is a recipient of multiple honors, including the Vaadhya Kalaimani, Laya Kala Sironmani, and Rukmani Thala Samuthiram awards and the title Laya Vidyadara. 

S. SAKTHIVEL MURUGANANTHAM (Mridangam) has been a preeminent performer on the mridangam, specializing in the accompaniment of classical dance, for 34 years. He learned by traditional Gurukulavasam under the great Guru Shri Mayavaram G. Somasundaram Pillai and later under Guru Shri Bakthavatchalam, and Guru Shri M. Balachander. Mr. Muruganantham  has accompanied preeminent dancers at leading festivals and theaters in India and worldwide, including Dr. Vyayanthimala Bali, Padmabhushan Alarmél Valli, Shri Leela Samson, and Priyadarshini Govind, and great gurus such as Shri K.J. Sarasa, Shri Udupi Lakshmi Narayan, and Shri Narasimhachari. His titles include Laya Vidhyadhara from Smt. Alarmel Valli’s Deepashika, Natya Sangeetha Kala Bharathi from Bharath Kalachar, Laya Kala Vipanchee from Vipanchee Trust, Laya Kala Ratna, Laya Sironmani, and Mridanga Mamani.

RAMANATHAN KALAIARASAN (Violin) is the son of distinguished Mirudanga Vidwan Sangeetha Bhusanam Professor Thiru A.S. Ramanathan. A disciple of Smt. Dhanadevi Mithradeve, he graduated with honors from Annamalai University, Chidambaram, India, with the title of ‘Sangeetha Bhushanam.’ He has over 25 years’ experience accompanying leading dancers in India and abroad, and recording music and dance DVDs for E- Parampara Infotainment and Swathi Soft Solutions. He is a permanent staff member/performer with Padmabhushan Sri. V.P.Dhananjayan and Smt Shantha Dhananjayan’s Bharatha Kalanjali. His honors include Best Violin Artist for Dance from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Best Accompanying Artist for Dance from VDS Arts Academy, and the Sudharani Raghupathy Endowment Award for senior musician from Natyarangam—the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai.

SRUTHI SAGAR (Flute) has earned a place for himself in the field of Carnatic Music. A disciple of Kalaimamani Dr. Sunder for more than fifteen years, he had his initial training on the Flute from Shri B. V. Balasai and his father Shri Sudarsana Rao. Sruthi Sagar has performed at prestigious venues and festivals throughout India and is a recipient of the Air India Radio first prize and other coveted awards such as Kuzhal Isai Chelvan, Yuva Kala Bharathi, and Yuva Kala Vipanchee. Since 2005, Sruthi Sagar has been a Central Government scholarship awardee, and recipient of a Young Achievers Scholarship conferred by the Government of India. He has performed at the Olympic Games in London as part of the STACCATO Band.

The creation and touring of Fires of Varanasi has been made possible in part through grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; and The Dr. Dash Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and promote rich Indian heritage and culture. Additional support for the creation comes from the Marbrook Foundation; the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, & The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; the Fredrikson & Byron Foundation; the APAP Cultural Exchange Fund; American Dance Abroad;  Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy's 2018 Guggenheim Fellowships; Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s 2020 McKnight Fellowship; the voters of Minnesota through a Creative Support Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Ranee Ramaswamy’s Equity Response Grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund; a residential fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy; and a residency at the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy.

The lobby exhibit Woven Light: Textiles from Varanasi is made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Support for the Ragamala Rooted: Fires of Varanasi community engagement series the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the Carolyn Foundation; the Mardag Foundation; the F.R. Bigelow Foundation; the Marbrook Foundation; The Saint Paul Foundation; the RBC Foundation USA; the City of St. Paul Cultural Sales Tax Revitalization Program; and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Additional support for Ragamala’s work comes from The McKnight Foundation; The Bob and Kathie Goodale Legacy Foundation; Target; a CARES Act Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.


New England Foundation for the Arts logo
National Endowment for the Arts
Dr. Dash Foundation
New Music USA
Mardag Foundation
F.R. Bigelow Foundation
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations
Saint Paul Star Program
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Marbrook Foundation logo
Minnesota State Arts Board logo


($5,000 AND ABOVE)

  • Dr. S.K. and Kalpana Das
  • John Enquist
  • Rachel Gustin
  • The Kasbohm Family
  • Kit Prendergast


GOLD ($2,500-$4,999)

  • Rachel Gustin
  • Sumit and Pritika Kumar
  • Emily Maltz and Jean-Michel Artigaud
  • The Mayer Family
  • David McKay and Ranee Ramaswamy
  • Mumtaz Mustapha and Christopher Lundstrom
  • Mark and María Nadel
  • Bruce and Ann Nerland
  • Judith and Bruce Tennebaum
  • The Varadhan Family

SILVER ($1,000-$2,499)

  • The Andresen Midness Family
  • Leigh Dillard and John Taylor
  • Brett Egan
  • Fay Finn
  • James and Yvonne Forsythe
  • Sarah Jones
  • Jon and Jai Maier
  • Padma and Pratap Naidu
  • Raj and Nisha Ramaswamy
  • The Roan Mazur Family
  • Veena Padmanabhan and Eric Doran
  • Venkat and Carla Prakash
  • The Riske Family
  • Louise Robinson and Neal Cuthbert
  • Ben Seymour
  • Shanti Shah and Stefan Peterson
  • Dheenu and Thanalini Sivalingam
  • The Subrahmanian Vijayakumar Family
  • Gregory Vilmo
  • Anne Walter and Michael Swift
  • Jay Wilkinson and Karen Covington

BRONZE ($500-$999)

  • Mark Bayuk
  • Mary Benson
  • Niki Bohne
  • Leon Conrad
  • Geetha and Sundar Damodaran
  • Ram and Neena Gada
  • Eric Janus and Carolyn Chalmers
  • The Lloyd Family
  • Nithya and Veeresh Mathad
  • Archana Ramaswamy and Rumi Faizer
  • Rob Simmer


($499 and below)

  • Anonymous
  • The Abrams Family
  • Alex Achen and Jane Cowan
  • Berit Ahlgren
  • Marguerite Ahmann and Carey Jeremiason
  • Colleen Aho
  • David Alexander
  • Terri Allred
  • Erin Allweiss
  • Jake and Elizabeth Anderson
  • Bhavani Arimilli and Seth Hogan
  • Laurie Baker
  • Linda and Kjell Bergh
  • Emily Barbee
  • Elizabeth Beck
  • Marcy Beix
  • Ellen and John Belton
  • Chloe Bergstrand
  • Diana Bersohn
  • Dennis Biros
  • Julie Bittman
  • Ed and Mary Bock
  • Meg Bond
  • Ariana Boussard-Reifel
  • Sarah Brennan
  • Deborah Brimacomb
  • Peter Brosius
  • Susan Brousseau
  • Amy Cassello
  • Fred Child and Wang Jie
  • Babu and Haritha Chimata
  • Elisabeth and Mike Christenson
  • Walt and Zan Cochran-Bond
  • Laura Colby
  • Julie and Tomkin Coleman
  • Levi Collins
  • Sarah Collyer
  • Allison Coyne Carroll
  • Jim and Mary Cron
  • Shannon Cron
  • The Daggett Ziegler Family
  • John and Julianne Daggett
  • The Dantas Family
  • Robin Dawe
  • Diane Duggan
  • Quynh Duong
  • Jean Ann Durades
  • Kristin Dwyer
  • Michelle and Brycen Eberwein
  • Joan and Dave Ellison
  • Ronald and Barbara Engle
  • Judy and Todd Erickson
  • Nancy Eserkaln
  • Amy Etzel
  • David Etzel
  • Virginia Evjen
  • Jane Eyestone and Stephan Hookano
  • Bradley Failor
  • Martha Ferral
  • Jessi Fett
  • Kay and Franklin Fiala
  • Dennis Fithen
  • James and Yvonne Forsythe
  • Ram and Neena Gada
  • Madeline Gallo
  • Pujan Gandhi
  • Courtney Gerber
  • Mike and Mimi Glode
  • Rachel Godlewski
  • Marion Goldwasser
  • Sarah Goldwasser
  • Jan Gonder
  • Kathryn Gonzalez
  • Elly Grace
  • Emily Graef
  • Robert Groethe
  • Peter Groynom and Craig Barrett
  • Arjun Guneratne
  • Sweta Hari
  • Vicki Lynn Harper
  • Jimmie Heags Jr. and Cherie Hanson
  • Michelle Helsing
  • Deborah Hennrikus
  • Benjamin Hiatt
  • Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hiatt
  • Lisa Hildebrand
  • Debra Hjortland
  • Beverly Hlavac
  • Lisa Hollingsworth
  • Nancy and Joe Holmberg
  • Jess Hopeman
  • Frank Hornstein and Marcia Zimmerman
  • Judith Howard
  • Tina Huang
  • Michael Hull
  • Greg Husak
  • Kevin Huselid
  • Patti Hague and Barbara Merrill
  • Paul Halverson and Catherine Egenberger
  • Nissa Hanna
  • Cyrus Hanson
  • Genevieve Hanson
  • Jerome and Judith Ingber
  • Lakshmi Iyer
  • Nisha and Bin Iyer
  • Roger Jackson and Pam Percy
  • Susan Jaret McKinstry
  • Gae Jarvis
  • James Johnson
  • Julia Johnson
  • Martha Johnson and Rick Shiomi
  • Steven Johnson
  • Tim Johnson and Alison Kirwin
  • Kathryn Kaatz
  • Alan and Geraldine Kagan
  • The Kamalapuri Family
  • Alavi Karim
  • The Kataky Family
  • The Kataria Family
  • Colleen Kennealy
  • Kate Kennedy
  • Elizabeth Keys
  • John Kirwin and Kathryn Kmit
  • Neena Kissner
  • Scott Kleinheksel
  • George Kliger and Kathleen Kauppi
  • Rebecca Knittle
  • Kishori Koch
  • Geeta and Venkat Kolla
  • Raj Kondapaneni
  • Shilpa Krishna Kumar
  • Anjali Kumar
  • Arun and Abha Kumar
  • Donald Lacourse
  • Amadeo Lasansky
  • Katheryn Lecusay
  • Tom Lemmer and Liz Rolfsmeier
  • Arleta Little
  • Anne Loch
  • Susan Loper
  • Steven Loures
  • Scott Lykins
  • Arlyn Madsen-Bond
  • Tom Mahoney
  • Debora Marshall
  • Dayna Martinez
  • Chad Maslowski
  • Nicole Mauriello
  • Rodger McBride
  • Will McGrath and Ellen Block
  • Bernard McGarrigle
  • Elizabeth McKinsey
  • Meghan McNamara
  • Emily Moore
  • Jennifer Moore
  • Theodore Moriarty
  • Sonya Mosco and Dan Romanello
  • Tara Nahey
  • Radhika Naidu
  • Godan and Savithry Nambudiripad
  • Seema and Guptan Nambudiripad
  • Jan Nelson
  • The Nordstrum Landenberger Family
  • Peter O'Gorman
  • Aimee Olson
  • Patricia Olson
  • Veena Padmanabhan and Eric Doran
  • John Palka
  • Katherine Pearce
  • Rani and Charlie Peck
  • The Penugonda Family
  • Carole Peterson
  • Erik Peterson
  • Mary Pickard
  • Laurie and Mark Pitsenbarger
  • Benjamin Polk
  • Jane Powers and Michael Green
  • Natasha Prabha
  • Chithra Prasankumar
  • Nancy Price
  • Brett Quick
  • Pamela Rafter
  • Shyamala Raman
  • Ashwini Ramaswamy and Zack Rose
  • Usha and Mukund Rao
  • Molly Redner
  • Tejaswini and Chandra Remella
  • Shana Robbins
  • Frank Robinson
  • Rachel Robinson and Ben Hecker
  • Nancy Rogneby
  • Lynn Rolfsmeier
  • Diane Rose
  • John Rosenwald and Ann Arbor
  • Taya Rotering
  • Gopal Sadagopal and Sandhya Joshi
  • Indu Sardeshpande
  • Nonoko Sato and Ted Johnson
  • Rakesh Satyal and John Maas
  • Abdo Sayegh Rodriquez
  • Carol Schirmers
  • Kristi Sehnert
  • Anindita Sen
  • The Shankar Family
  • Jessica Shuttleworth
  • The Soffer Family
  • Luke and Jana Soiseth
  • Matt Solnitzky
  • David Southgate
  • Uma Venkat and Venkat Srinivasan
  • Deborah and Terrence Stith
  • Ben Seymour
  • Shanti Shah and Stefan Peterson
  • Linda Shapiro
  • Maria Skillin and David St. Onge
  • The Spohn Family
  • Donna Stephenson
  • Rebecca KD Stewart
  • Meredith Stromberg
  • Lisa Talcott
  • Monica Tanase-Coles
  • Raymond Terrill
  • Mary Tomes and Gary Yanagita
  • Peggy and Jon Traver
  • Surendra Trivedi
  • David Ulaszek
  • Rachel Ulfers
  • Anne Ulseth
  • Elizabeth Van Vleck
  • Scott Van Wert
  • Srinivas Vangur
  • Anil and Jayanthi Vinjamur
  • Amber and Jesse Walker
  • Cedar Walters
  • The Weber Family
  • Linda Weiner
  • Curtis C. West
  • Amanda Whitehead
  • Sarah Wigley
  • Jay Wilkinson and Karen Covington
  • Jane Willard
  • David Wygant and Madhuri Kathi
  • Kyohei Yazawa
  • Pam Young
  • Ute Zahn


$25,000 and above

  • City of St. Paul Cultural STAR
  • The MAP Fund
  • The McKnight Foundation
  • Minnesota Humanities Center
  • The Minnesota State Arts Board
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Program


  • The F.R. Bigelow Foundation
  • The Bob and Kathie Goodale Legacy Foundation
  • The Carolyn Foundation
  • The Dr. Dash Foundation
  • Hennepin County Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • The Marbrook Foundation
  • The Mardag Foundation
  • The New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project
  • New Music USA
  • The Saint Paul Foundation
  • Target


  • The Fredrikson & Byron Foundation
  • Grantmakers for Girls of Color
  • Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
  • RaiseMN
  • RBC Wealth Management 


  • Arts Midwest
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • UnitedHealth Group  

Up to $2,499

  • Altria
  • American Dance Abroad
  • Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
  • Ecolab
  • The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

Thank you for supporting Northrop!

At Northrop, we believe in connecting great artists and ideas with our community and to a new generation of audiences. Your gift helps make memorable arts experiences possible by supporting extraordinary performances and new arts commissions, and helping ensure accessibility to everyone through live-streamed programming, outreach to diverse communities and subsidized student tickets. Our Friends are at the center of Northrop’s biggest ideas and brightest moments on stage.

Become a Friend of Northrop today! 
Donate online at

Ways to Give:

  • Annual Giving, a yearly gift amount of your choice.
  • Monthly Giving, choose a recurring gift amount that works for you.
  • Stock Gifts, Northrop accepts charitable gifts of stock.
  • Planned Giving, consider a legacy gift by including Northrop in your will or trust, or by designating Northrop as a beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy.
  • Matching Gifts, double your gift through your company’s matching gift program.

To learn more about supporting Northrop please contact:
Cynthia Betz or 612-626-7554 

A special thank you to our patrons whose generous support makes Northrop's transformative arts experiences possible. Make your mark on Northrop's future by becoming a Friend today, learn more by visiting

We gratefully acknowledge the support from, Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Minnesota State Arts Board, Marbrook Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts. 

We extend a special thank you to our event sponsors PNC Bank, RBC Wealth Management, and HGA.

director's circle


  • Curtis L Carlson Family Foundation
  • Robert Lunieski
  • Jennifer Marrone and David Short


  • Jerry Artz
  • Kurt and Susan Bjorklund, Dedicated to Silas and Victoria Ford
  • Ellie Crosby, The Longview and Crosswols Foundations
  • Richard Gregory
  • Gail and Stuart Hanson
  • Randy Hartten and Ron Lotz
  • Marbrook Foundation
  • Gary A. Reetz


  • Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
  • Susan DeNuccio
  • Nancy Gossell
  • Shawn Monaghan and Greg Plotnikoff
  • Thomas and Conchy Morgan, In Memory of Sylvia and Henry Frisch 
  • Sandra Morris
  • RBC Foundation-USA
  • RBC Wealth Management
  • Scarborough Fair Boutique
  • Donald Williams and Pamela Neuenfeldt

friend's circle


  • Anonymous
  • Frederick L. Betz
  • Mary Benson
  • Jeff Bieganek
  • Deb Cran and Bob Craven
  • Bruce and Judith Hadler
  • Karen Hanson and Dennis Senchuk
  • Minhchau and Lawrence Harms
  • Sally and Richard Leider
  • Glenn Lindsey
  • Bob and Susanna McMaster
  • Medtronic Foundation
  • Tim and Gayle Ober
  • Kathryn Sedo and Scott Beers


  • Margaret Albrecht
  • Jeanne Andre
  • Kathryn Cahill, In Honor of Ferne Rowland
  • R. and J. Cameron
  • Rob Carlson and Gregg Larson
  • John and Nancy Conlin
  • Will and Ginny Craig
  • Fran Davis
  • Stephen Davis and L Murray Thomas
  • Meghan DeBruycker Legacy Fund-Willmar Area Community Foundation
  • Bob and Nancy Erickson
  • Jo-Ida Hansen
  • Brian Lammers and Emily Knox
  • Barbara and Jeffrey Land
  • David and Leni Moore Family Foundation
  • Mark and Cecilia Morrow
  • Gwen and Mason Myers
  • Rebekah Nagler
  • Lance Olson
  • Derrill Pankow
  • Dale Schatzlein and Emily Maltz Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Richard Taylor
  • TCF Foundation
  • John Wald and Marianne Remedios
  • Mark and Carol Weitz


  • Anonymous
  • Elissa Adams and Michael Margulies
  • Janice Apple
  • Kate and Lynn Christianson
  • George Ehrenberg
  • Pat Gaarder
  • Denise and Corey Holtz
  • Barry and Karen Johnson
  • Jan and Lance Johnson
  • Jennifer and Mark Johnson
  • Candy Lord
  • Holly MacDonald
  • David Musolf
  • Elizabeth Parker
  • Ann Piotrowski
  • Patricia and Joseph Pulice
  • Judith Rohde
  • Gordon Rouse and Sylvia Beach
  • Catharine Ruther and David Vanney
  • Phyllis Saltzman
  • Kathleen Schou
  • Dr. Darlene Sholtis and Dr. Heino Beckmann
  • John and Kelly Wheaton
  • Mark Wright and Elizabeth Walton

friend's circle


  • Anonymous
  • Paul Aslanian
  • Thomas and Jill Barland
  • Sharon Bigot
  • Jeanne Blaskowski
  • David Braslau
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Mark and Karena Casey
  • JaNan Cavanaugh
  • Russell Cowles
  • Virginia Dale
  • Sandra Dale
  • Timothy and Judith Dove
  • William Durfee and Devorah Goldstein
  • Marcia and Berkan Endres
  • Kathy Gremillion
  • Richard Gwynne
  • David and Julie Hartung
  • Joyce and Eugene Haselmann
  • Annemarie Herrlich
  • Patricia Herrmann
  • Christina Herzog
  • Gayle Hjellming
  • Richard Hruby and Kimberly Broderick
  • Kimberly Hutchens
  • Janet Johnson
  • Tovio Kallas and Beatrice Holton
  • Micki and Neil Kay
  • Warren and Patricia Kelly
  • Randy Kish
  • Christina Kraft and Nelson Capes
  • Alan and Peggy Lathrop
  • James and Sharon Lewis
  • Barbara Lind and Craig Poeschl
  • Kimberley MacLennan
  • Holly Manning
  • Candice and Gerald Matykowski
  • Kenneth and Judith Matysik
  • George and Orla McClure
  • Margaret Moutvic-Wasz
  • Michael and Lisa Nekich
  • Jenine Nordquist
  • Jennifer and William Neujahr
  • Donald Ofstedal
  • Field and Cynthia Olson
  • David Pace
  • David and Mary Parker
  • Jacob Rabinowitz
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
  • John Reay and Karen Hanson
  • Bridget and David Reddan
  • Debra Reischl
  • Julia Sand
  • Kari Schloner
  • Dan Sheehan
  • John Shreves
  • Jan and Alan Sickbert
  • Wendy Steele
  • Jon Thomas
  • Cindy Tong and Robert Denison
  • Ertugrul and Karen Owens Tuzcu
  • John Van Bogar
  • Cheryl Wall
  • Michael Weinbeck
  • Cathy Westrum and Annelynn Westrum
  • Monica Winker-Bergstrom
  • Millie Woodbury
  • Roger Worm

Up to $99

  • Atashi Acharya
  • Kent Akervik
  • Gerald and Georgianna Allan
  • Arthur and Charlet Allen
  • Jean Anderson
  • Marcia Anderson
  • Michael and Jessica Austin
  • Kevin and Shirley Arms
  • Peter Bartholome
  • Todd Barton
  • Austin Beatty
  • Michael Blomberg
  • Tierra Boose
  • Jason Borah
  • Mary Boyer
  • Patti Brase
  • Kathryn Bredemus
  • Philip Briggs
  • Clifford Brody
  • Nancy Brown
  • Justin Burke
  • Thomas Cabaniss
  • Patricia Cagle
  • Mary Campbell
  • Philippe Catalan
  • Fay Chang
  • Karen Charles
  • Mary Ann and Stephen Chicoine
  • David and Nancy Claussen
  • Deborah Clendenning
  • Beverly Connolly
  • Jeanne and David Cornish
  • Scott Cragle
  • Charlotte Curry
  • Neal Cuthbert and Louise Robinson
  • Cynthia Daggett
  • Emily Dail
  • Andre Delattre
  • Soleil Des Lauriers
  • Cindy Devoy
  • Vicki Donatell
  • Byron Douglass
  • Robert Dufault and Ann Wilcox
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lee Dunn
  • Jill and Ralph Dupslaff
  • Jean Durades
  • Frances Durkin
  • Alisa Eland
  • Kristin Elizondo
  • Susan Elsner
  • Barbara and Gerald Erickson
  • Tamara Eristavi
  • Valerie Fazedin
  • Elizabeth Fleck
  • Debra and Phillip Ford
  • Judith Franklin
  • Kirk Froggart
  • Candance Gossen
  • Michael Green and Jane Powers
  • Jane Greenberg
  • Amanda Grimm and Steven Pope
  • Birgit Grund
  • Julie Hagemann
  • Nils and Heather Halker
  • Urbae Hall
  • Amy Handelsman
  • Jim Hartmann and Michelle Miles
  • Jean Haskell
  • Richard Haskin
  • Cari Hatcher
  • Deborah Hennrikus
  • Patrick and Kimberley Higgins
  • John Hofstede
  • Janet Horvath
  • Ramona Jacobs and Charles Christianson
  • Karin Jacobson and Adam Chapweske
  • Ann Jaede
  • Jay Jaffee and Wendy Friede
  • Bill Jones
  • Michael Kanner
  • Anna Kerben
  • Cassandra Kiehn
  • Milo Kim
  • Nancy Klausner
  • Amy Kosari
  • Connie Kuhn
  • Arnold Kvam
  • Roberta Lamps
  • Carol Larson
  • Linda Leamer
  • Kathryn LeFevere
  • Jane Leonard and Lori Lippert
  • Elizabeth Ler
  • Debra Lex
  • Michelle and Kevin Lian-Anderson
  • Kathryn Lien
  • Kristine Loh
  • Ann Loushine-Thomsen
  • Marcelienne and Roger Lundquist
  • Dianne and Don MacLennan

Up to $99 (continued)

  • Kyle Maltz
  • Kathryn Manger
  • Judy Marcouiller
  • Nancy Marcy
  • Cynthia Marsh and C.W. Vandersluis
  • Susan McNamara
  • Margaret Michaelson
  • Sanjay Mishra
  • Jill Mitchell
  • M Valeriana Moeller
  • Eric Molho
  • Karen Moon
  • Daniel Moore
  • James Moore
  • Ayaka Moriyama
  • Summer Morrison
  • Ann Mosey
  • Chuck Munro
  • Bridget Murphy
  • Amy Nelson Sander
  • Lloyd Nestrud
  • Shelley and James Nichols
  • Libby Nickel
  • Linda and Larry Nielsen
  • Nina Norum
  • James and Sarah Novotny
  • Kristine Olson
  • Sandra Olson
  • Lynn O’Neal
  • Barbara Owens
  • Nicolas Paredes Sepulveda
  • Ann and Bill Parker
  • Judith Parr
  • Helen Paul
  • Mike Payer
  • Matthew Peak
  • Marjorie Pearson
  • Christina Peterson
  • Edward Peterson
  • Greg and Rebecca Phelan
  • Charisse Pickron
  • Holly Pike and Joseph Klein
  • Cathy Poff
  • Claudia Poser and Ronald Ofstead
  • James Potter
  • Nancy Price
  • Rebecca Quaid
  • Mark Rekow and Lynn Mader
  • Melanie Richards
  • Piper Ritter
  • Mary Roberts and Edward Kraft
  • Susan Roberts
  • Robyne Robinson
  • Yvonne Rode
  • Susan Rohde
  • Susan Rose
  • Irina Rukina
  • Makie Sanchez
  • Edward Sarnoski
  • Rebecca Scherpelz
  • Robin Schow
  • Thomas Scott
  • Cynthia Sharon
  • Elizabeth Sharpe 
  • Michele and Chris Shepherd
  • Rebecca and John Shockley
  • Kevin Silverstein and Karen Tang
  • Carol Skinner
  • Emily Soltis
  • Patricia Stankovich
  • Kathleen Stanley
  • Nanette Stearns
  • Kate Stolpman
  • Vicki Strahan
  • George Swan
  • Toni Taylor
  • Marie-Luise and Anita Teigen
  • Ivette Tejeda
  • Connor Theisen
  • Kay Troan
  • Nancy Tykwinski
  • Brandon Ure
  • Alla Valdberg
  • Tatiana Valdberg
  • Ann Van de Winckel
  • Frank Van Tongeren
  • Bill Venne and Douglas Kline
  • Carolyn Wahl
  • Brian and Katherine Weitz
  • Andrew Welken
  • Helen and Paul Wells
  • Curtis West
  • Susan Wiste
  • Allie Wolf
  • Rachel Wolff
  • Winifred Wu and Robert Lund
  • Yuhsuan Yeh
  • Mary Zilge
  • Margaret Zoerhoff
  • Roberta Zohara

This season’s listing is current as of 2/14/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.

The Heritage Society honors and celebrates donors who have made estate and other planned gifts for Northrop at the University of Minnesota. 

  • Nancy M Allen*
  • Jerry L Artz
  • John W Follows*
  • Stephen Gordon and Pat Gavan-Gordon
  • Peter S Lund
  • Darlene M Sholtis



Thank you to the generous donors who continue to support programming for Northrop’s beloved Aeolian-Skinner Organ. It is because of you that this magnificent instrument’s voice will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

organ supporters

Reade Adams
Katherine Anderson
Terry and Vicki Anderson
Pat Andrle
J. Michael Barone
Karen and Alan Beck
Mark Bergaas and Mark Ceilley
Carol Bessler
Fred and Cynthia Betz, In Honor of Esther Stocke
Dean Billmeyer
Joyce Brown
Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
Francis Carter
James Commander
Scott Cragle
William and Virginia Craig
Dee Ann and Kent Crossley
Thomas Dillon
Sheena Dufresne
Laura and Tim Edman
David Fiebiger
Peter Fiore
Catherine Fischer
Deborah Ford
Susan Foster
Salvatore Franco

Judith Franklin
Reid Froiland
Maiken Givot
Karen Grasmon
Marilyn Haight
Nils and Heather Halker
Thomas Hanna
Jeffrey Helgerson
Helen Hillstrom
Janet Hively
Anna Iltis
Charlie Johnson
Susan Keljik
Mark Kieffer
Joseph Kuznik
Arnold Kvam
Carol Leach
Kristin Lefferts
James Lehmann
Kathryn Lien
Ronald Low
Peter Lund
Stephanie McDonald
Alfred and Ann Moore
Daniel Moore
Darcia Narvaez
Paul Nasvik
Pamela Neuenfeldt and Don Williams

Don Notvik
Steve Oakley
Paul Olsen
Steve Panizza
Robert Paschke
Daniel Peterson
David and Margaret Peterson
Chia-Hsing Pi
Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
Jane Rosemarin and Val Lardwehr
Bruce Schelske
Connie Schuelka
Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
John Sebolt
Nancy Shallcross
Rebecca and John Shockley
Foster Solem
Chris Solheid
Laurine Speltz and Denis Ryono
Richard Steege
Paul Stever
William Tajibnapis
Nicole Thomas
Curtis Trout
John Vilandre
Michael Volna
Nancy Wellington
David and Rachelle Willey

organ advisory board

J. Michael Barone
Cynthia Betz
Dean Billmeyer
Kristen Brogdon
Dr. Robert Bruininks
Dee Ann Crossley
Laura Edman
Cathie Fischer
Nils Halker
Cari Hatcher
David Jensen
Helen Jensen
Pamela Neuenfeldt
Kari Schloner

This season’s listing is current as of 2/14/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.

Jeff Bieganek

Welcome to Northrop’s winter season!  I can’t imagine a better way to spend an evening in the Twin Cities than by joining us for this incredible performance by Ragamala Dance Company. We are so grateful for your support and commitment to the work that we do and the artists that we present.  

I hope you can join us as well for the rest of Northrop’s 2021-2022 season which includes more newly commissioned works—like tonight’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim by Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy—co-presentations with our partners in the Twin Cities arts community, and multiple premieres of pieces never seen before in this region. I know you’ll be inspired by these extraordinary performances and I invite you to bring family and friends to share these memorable experiences with you.

As we enjoy this season and look to the future, I invite you to support Northrop’s programs, helping to shine bright lights on our stage. Please consider supporting the important work that Northrop is doing now and in the future to inspire positive change in our world. The Northrop Advisory Board is growing along with new opportunities to engage, if you are interested in learning more, please contact us at  And if you see me in Northrop, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself!  I would love to meet you.

Thank you for attending this performance and we look forward to seeing you at many more Northrop events in 2022!

Jeff Bieganek
Northrop Advisory Board Chair

The Northrop Advisory Board

The Northrop Advisory Board is committed to the growth and awareness of Northrop’s mission, vision, and the continued future of presenting world-class dance and music in our community. If you would like more information about the advisory board and its work, please contact Cynthia Betz, Director of Development, at 612-626-7554 or

board members

Cynthia Betz
Jeff Bieganek, Chair
Kristen Brogdon
Dr. Robert Bruininks
John Conlin
Deb Cran
Susan DeNuccio
Karen Hanson
Cari Hatcher

Jill Hauwiller
Bob McMaster
Katheryn Menager
Cory Padesky
Holly Radis-McCluskey
Gary Reetz
Robyne Robinson
Kari Schloner
Donald Williams

This season’s listing is current as of 2/14/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.




Learn More

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Explore These Themes

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses.

Dance: Multi-Genre

Asian American Studies

Asian/South Asian Studies

Cultural Studies

Global Studies

Theatrical Storytelling

Mortuary Science/Death Rituals

Religious Studies/Religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism)

Spirituality and Healing

Early Childhood Education

Music: Multi-Genre

World History

Global and Cultural Apparel Designs

Environmental Studies


Start a conversation about the performance, or reflect on the performance, using these questions as inspiration.

Art, in all forms, brings the viewer into another world through the story the artist tells. The art of storytelling has the ability to transport and connect us to various aspects of our personal and communal lifestyles and identities. 

  • How do cultural traditions (such as dance) connect us to our ancestors and how do they transcend borders? 
  • How do rituals connect us to our past and our future and what emotions do we carry with them (hope, pain, etc.)?

Alastair Macaulay, in his 2015 article for The New York Times, touches upon the crucial role dance plays within Indian culture. In fact, around the country, the “Hindu gods are seen as dancing; and Shiva’s dance is cosmological.”

  • How do traditions, such as dancing, help us overcome pain and bind us to our beliefs and culture? Is dance both a religious practice as well as a cultural tradition? 

Much of Ragamala Dance Company’s work touches on the narratives and experiences surrounding immigration/emigration/human movement from their homelands. 

  • Does space/distance have an effect on memory? What can be gained or lost in the process of being physically removed from the spaces where memories were created? 
  • What is the meaning of a sacred place? Do we choose it or is it chosen? Is it in our imagination (existential) or is it tangible (local)? What makes a place extraordinary? What makes a place a wellspring? Is it personal or universal?
  • How do communities carry on cultural traditions in a new place? How do they make meaning for the next generation?


Minnesota State Arts Board logo
National Endowment for the Arts

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.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 
To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit