Photo Caption: A young participant in Ragamala’s Snakes & Ladders Workshop, on Stage at Zellerbach Playhouse in Berkeley, supported by New Music USA (photo by Erik Madsen-Bond)
Ragamala makes a practice of partnering with presenters and community institutions—both at home and on tour—to bring our work out into the community, providing potential audience members with points of access that demystify our culturally rooted dance form, make diverse audiences feel welcome and invested in work whose origins may at first seem unfamiliar, and introduce them to the ways in which Ragamala creates complex, multidisciplinary, and culturally hybridic dance works.
Ragamala’s weeklong residency in Ann Arbor included a master class with University of Michigan Dance students, a community “You Can Dance” movement workshop at the Ann Arbor YMCA, visits by Ragamala artists to area K-12 schools, a sold-out school-day matinee at the Power Center for K-12 students, and an artists’ talk by Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy about their journey as first-generation immigrant artists whose creative vision has woven the wisdom of their ancestry and the openness of their new home to become a vital part of the United States’ cultural fabric.
Activities in Berkeley included an artist’s talk by Ranee, Aparna, and composer/musician Amir El Saffar about the creation of Written in Water, and a Snakes & Ladders workshop—held on stage at Zellerbach Playhouse—in which the public was invited to step into the world of Written in Water. Participants joined company dancers in playing a life-sized version of this 2nd century Indian board game that inspired Written in Water, using their bodies as pieces on the vibrant gameboard featured in the performance (designed by visual artist V. Keshav and projected on the stage floor).
Both venues exhibited Six Yards of Memory—a photographic installation created by Ragamala Founder/Artistic Director Ranee Ramaswamy with photographer Ed Bock, which uses the six yards of a saree as a canvas to encapsulate Ragamala’s 25 years as an early incubator of collaborative performance works that forge together ancestry and continuity.
Activities at our recent engagement at Jacob’s Pillow (June 20th-24th, 2018) included an artists’ talk, a dance master class, and a lunch discussion with students from The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Please stay tuned for a full report from our wonderful week at the Pillow!