After the performance premiered in 2019, it was listed among the ‘Best performances of the year’
Raga Mala Dance Company’s is now running its 30th season. It will present Let the Crows Come on April 7 & 8, 2023 at 7:30pm at BroadStage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. Evoking mythography and ancestry, Ashwini Ramaswamy’s Let the Crows Come uses the metaphor of crows as messengers for the living and guides for the departed. Let the Crows Come evolved from a simple idea; when a DJ remixes a song, its essence is maintained while its trajectory is changed. For Ashwini, the Minneapolis-based dancer and choreographer — a founding company member of the internationally renowned Ragamala Dance Company — this adaptation is reminiscent of being a second-generation immigrant – a person that has been culturally remixed to fit into multiple places at once.
In a series of three dance solos, Ramaswamy (Bharatanatyam technique) and fellow Minneapolis-based dancers Alanna Morris (Modern/African Diasporic technique) and Berit Ahlgren (Gaga technique) deconstruct and recontextualize the South Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam, recalling a memory that has a shared origin but is remembered differently from person to person.
The dancers’ use of imagery and narrative is set to a commissioned original score. The soaring voice of Carnatic singer Roopa Mahadevan and two other classical Indian musicians, percussionist Rohan Krishnamurthy and violinist Arun Ramamurthy, perform an original piece by Prema Ramamurthy. Concurrently, cellist Brent Arnold extrapolates from the classical Carnatic (South Indian) score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for sonic explorations – co-created with composer/DJ Jace Clayton (DJ/rupture) incorporating pop music and electronic sounds.
After the performance premiered in 2019, it was listed among the ‘Best performances of the year’ by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnpost, and City Pages, with City Pages citing Ashwini’s work as ‘illuminating Bharatanatyam’s future’. Let the Crows Come is commissioned by the Liquid Music Series and is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project and the MAP Fund (both supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and was developed in part during residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York, NY), and the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron (OH).
Ragamala Dance Company is the vision of award-winning mother and daughter artists Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy. Over the last 4 decades, Ranee and Aparna’s practice in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam has shifted the trajectory of culturally rooted performing arts in the United States to create an exemplary company within the American dance landscape. Tickets start at $40 and are available at broadstage.org/performances/2022-23/dance/letthecrowscome.