University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Ragamala Music and Dance Theater to
Perform April 27 at UW-Eau Claire

 MAILED:  April 14, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — A performance by Ragamala Music and Dance Theater April 27 will conclude this season’s Artists Series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The company’s performance, titled “From Temple to Theater,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena.

The presentation is supported by the Heartland Arts fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from General Mills Foundation, Land O’Lakes Foundation, Sprint Corporation and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Ragamala Music and Dance Theater’s work bridges ancient and modern cultures, exploring a unique style of living poetry for the stage. The program will feature a selection of works that represent the company’s range, from the soulful classical music of India to the thundering Taiko drums of Japan to stirring original poetry set to Western piano.

“From Temple to Theater” illustrates the journey of Bharatanatyam, the ancient classical dance style in which the company’s work is rooted, from the Hindu temples of southern India 2,000 years ago to the theaters of the 21st century.

Based in Minneapolis, Ragamala was founded in 1992 by dancer-choreographer Ranee Ramaswamy and composer-sitarist David Whetstone. Ramaswamy’s choreography draws from the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, an ancient classical dance form from southern India. The company preserves classical style while using it as a springboard for innovative work.

“Ragamala’s forays into cross-cultural dance are increasingly fascinating, drawing connections between the elegantly sumptuous, percussively expressive style of its classic dance and the dances of other cultures,” wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

As a group that builds bridges between cultures, Ragamala has collaborated with several international artists of diverse backgrounds — including poet Robert Bly, Chinese pipa virtuoso Gao Hong, New Delhi-based sitarist Shubhendra Rao, Milwaukee-based African dance troupe Ko-Thi Dance Company, Japanese drumming ensemble Mu Daiko, and former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands.

Ragamala’s work has been presented in prestigious venues throughout the world, including the Miao-Li International Mask Festival in Taiwan, the Open Look Contemporary Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Leid Center of Kansas in Lawrence, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The company also performs annually at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis and O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul.

Admission is $15 for the public; $13 for those ages 62 and over, and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty/staff; or $5 for those ages 17 and under, and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center, and will be sold at the door.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of University Centers and Programs.

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JS/JB


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
newsbur@uwec.edu

Updated: April 14, 2004