Sunday, October 6, 2002
Ragamala will perform "From Temple to Theater," a selection of works from the group's repertoire, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center. The pieces represent the range of the ensemble's work ï¿½ from classical to innovative.
Based in Bharatanatyam, the ancient, classical dance of Southern India, Ragamala's performances provide a bridge between ancient and modern cultures, exploring a living poetry for the stage.
Artistic director Ranee Ramaswamy's choreography draws from the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam.
While retaining the grace and verve of the original style, she has adapted the dance to new contexts and themes.
Ragamala Music and Dance Theater was founded in 1992 by Ramaswamy with help from composer/sitarist David Whetstone. Since then, the dance ensemble has established a record of artistic innovation and risk taking, groundbreaking collaborations with other national and international artists and educational school and community outreach activities.
Ragamala has performed throughout the world, including the Miao-Li International Mask Festival in Taiwan and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The company also performs annually at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, Minn., and O'Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul, Minn.
In October 2001, Ramaswamy collaborated with deaf actress Nicole Zapko and playwright/director Zaraawar Mistry in "The Transposed Heads." In January 2002, Ragamala presented "Wordance," the company's critically acclaimed cross-cultural collaboration with Milwaukee-based African dance troupe Ko-Thi Dance Company.
The ensemble also maintains a strong commitment to the community through residency work. Ramaswamy has been involved in educational programming since 1981, and the company's residency programs reach about 40 schools a year.
Ragamala also maintains a school in Minneapolis, where about 50 students study Bharatanatyam under the guidance of the company's dancers.
Residency activities in Lawrence include:
ï¿½ Monday: School performances, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Central Junior High Auditorium.
ï¿½ Tuesday: USD 497 Residency Day, in-school visits to Central, West, South and Southwest junior high schools.
ï¿½ Friday: Lecture/demonstration, 11:30 a.m., Robinson Gym, Sherbon Studio, Kansas University; Indian dance technique class, 12:45 p.m.-1:50 p.m., KU dance department.
ï¿½ Saturday: Rice flour painting class, for ages 7-9, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., and "Introduction to Indian Dance" class, for ages 7-9, 10:45 a.m.-11 a.m., both at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. To register call THE-ARTS.
The group also will travel to Wichita for residency activities on Wednesday and Thursday.
Tickets for the performance at the Lied Center range from $11 to $27. Tickets are available at the Lied Center Box Office, 864-ARTS; Murphy Hall Box Office, 864-3982; Student Union Activities Box Office in the Kansas Union, 864-SHOW; TicketMaster outlets, (785) 234-4545 and (816) 931-3330; and online at TICKETS.COM and TicketMaster.com.