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The Baryshnikov Arts Center is Set to Premiere LET THE CROWS COME

The New York City premiere of the piece by Ashwini Ramaswamy runs from April 13th through the 15th.

The Baryshnikov Arts Center is Set to Premiere LET THE CROWS COME

Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) is pleased to present the New York premiere of Minneapolis-based choreographer and dancer Ashwini Ramaswamy's Let the Crows Come, an experimental Bharatanatyam work, and a "Best of Dance 2021" selection by The Washington Post. Performances will take place Wednesday-Friday, April 13-15, at 8pm, at BAC's Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 West 37th Street, in Manhattan.

Let the Crows Come, which was developed during a 2018 BAC Residency and premiered as part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series in November 2019, has been lauded for its "enchanting beauty, arresting movement, and inventive intelligence" that "illuminates Bharatanatyam's future" (City Pages). Evoking mythography and ancestry, it 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 guidance and dislocation.

Let the Crows Come evolved from a simple observation: When a DJ remixes a song its essence is maintained while its trajectory has shifted. To Ramaswamy, a founding company member of the internationally renowned Ragamala Dance Company, this mutation is reminiscent of being a second-generation immigrant-a person who has been culturally remixed to fit into multiple places at once. "My upbringing in both India and the US has encouraged a hybrid aesthetic perspective, and my work is aimed at immigrants longing to make connections between the ancestral and the current," explains Ramaswamy. "I create environments for the stage where past, present, and future intermingle; these worlds capture the disorientation and reorientation of the immigrant settling into a new land and explore how to preserve individuality while creating new spaces of convergence."

With Let the Crows Come, Ramaswamy examines ritual, tradition, and iteration through a genrebending evolution of movement and music across cultural and corporeal boundaries. In a series of solos performed by three dancers with distinct artistic lineages and movement styles- Ramaswamy (trained in Bharatanatyam), Alanna Morris (trained in Modern and African Diasporic dance traditions), and Berit Ahlgren (trained in Gaga technique)-the Bharatanatyam form is deconstructed and recontextualized to recall a memory that has a shared origin but is remembered differently from person to person. The original score, performed live, takes inspiration from Carnatic (South Indian classical) music. Composers Jace Clayton (aka DJ/rupture) and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Prema Ramamurthy's Carnatic score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for their sonic explorations.

Let the Crows Come features Ashwini Ramaswamy and dancer/choreographers Berit Ahlgren and Alanna Morris. Original music by Brent Arnold, Jace Clayton, and Prema Ramamurthy. Music performed by Brent Arnold (cello), Jace Clayton (electronics), Rohan Krishnamurthy (mridangam), Roopa Mahadevan (vocals), and Arun Ramamurthy (violin). With sound design by Maury Jensen and lighting design by Mat Terwilliger.

Tickets for Let the Crows Come are $25 and can be purchased online at bacnyc.org or by phone at 866-811-4111. Running time is 60 minutes. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required and face masks must be worn at all times at BAC.

Let the Crows Come was commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's 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). The work was developed in part during a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC) and the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron (OH).

The BAC presentation of Let the Crows Come is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The foundation of Ashwini Ramaswamy's work and aesthetic direction begins with decades of dance training with her gurus-her mother Ranee Ramaswamy and sister Aparna Ramaswamy (Directors of Ragamala Dance Company), and the legendary Smt. Alarmél Valli of Chennai, India-to uphold the balance between technical rigor, physicality, grace, and expressive authenticity that is the hallmark of their Bharatanatyam lineage. The New York Times describes Ramaswamy as "weaving together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine...there is a continual flow of energy coursing through her limbs."

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov who sought to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. BAC's activities encompass a robust residency program augmented by a range of professional services, including commissions of new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at varying stages of their careers. In tandem with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices. For more information, visit bacnyc.org.

Photo Credits: Jake Armour



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