"Let the Crows Come" presented by Ashwini Ramaswamy & Ragamala Dance
St. Mane Theatre
206 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, MN 55949, USA
Lanesboro Arts and Ragamala Dance Company are proud to present Ashwini Ramaswamy’s Let the Crows Come, a piece of experimental Bharatanatyam dance, at the historic St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro on Friday, March 6th at 7:30 p.m. Commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series and debuting in November 2019 in the Twin Cities, this performance with recorded music in Lanesboro is an exclusive regional date before the production goes on to tour the east coast in spring 2020. Let the Crows Come is a genre-twisting evolution of movement and music across cultural and corporeal boundaries.
Let the Crows Come evolved from a simple idea; when a DJ remixes a song he/she/they maintains its essence while changing its trajectory. To Minneapolis-based dancer/choreographer Ramaswamy, this mutation is reminiscent of being a second-generation immigrant – a person that has been culturally remixed to fit into multiple places at once. Evoking mythography and ancestry, Ramaswamy – a founding company member of the internationally renowned Ragamala Dance Company – layers ritual, tradition, deconstruction, iteration, and origin into an unforgettable experience. Let the Crows Come uses the metaphor of crows as messengers for the living and guides for the departed – and in the process explores how memory and homeland channel both guidance and dislocation.
In a series of three dance solos from Ramaswamy and Twin Cities’ dancer/choreographers Alanna Morris-Van Tassel and Berit Ahlgren, the South Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam is deconstructed and recontextualized to evoke a memory that has a shared origin, but is remembered differently from person to person. The dancers' use of imagery and narrative is accompanied, via recorded audio, by the soaring voice of Carnatic singer Roopa Mahadevan and two other classical Indian musicians, percussionist Rohan Krishnamurthy and violinist Arun Ramamurthy, performing an original score by Prema Ramamurthy. The recorded accompaniment also features composer/DJ Jace Clayton and composer/cellist Brent Arnold, who extrapolate from Ramamurthy’s classical Carnatic score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for looped sonic explorations that incorporate pop music and electronic sounds.
"As an artist of diaspora, I am a cultural carrier with an instinct to move within ancestral patterns," explains Ramaswamy. "There is a continuum between what we perceive as real/tangible and what we accept as unknown/unknowable; this gravitation between the human, the natural, and the metaphysical—which are forever engaged in sacred movement—is a focal point in my work.”
A not-to-be-missed evening of music and movement, Let the Crows Come is innovative not for the sake of trendiness, but out of a sincere curiosity about what the art form can can do. Recapping the November premiere for the Star Tribune, columnist Sheila Regan wrote, "The most compelling sections were when the three dancers performed together, because the transference of impulse was so clearly evident, rippling from one body to the next. This collaboration will live on as the artists perform at future engagements. No doubt the initial premise and exchange will deepen and grow as the artists continue to perform together." Pamela Epsland declared in MinnPost that, "Let the Crows Come ... was also one of the most complex and fully-formed Liquid Music events we’ve seen. Liquid Music often presented works in progress, projects it had commissioned or co-commissioned, and some were in their nascent stages. But what we saw on Saturday was polished and sure."
This event is presented by Lanesboro Arts and sponsored by the Wisconsin Public Radio, Commonweal Theatre, Inspire(d) Magazine, High Court Pub and Granny’s Liquors.
The performance of Let the Crows Come in Lanesboro is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through an Arts Tour grant to Ragamala Dance Company from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
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