The SPCO's Liquid Music Series Presents Ashwini Ramaswamy LET THE CROWS COME
On Friday and Saturday, November 8-9, 2019 at 8:00pm, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series presents Ashwini Ramaswamy: Let the Crows Come.
The culmination of her 2-year Liquid Music residency, Minneapolis-based Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy's 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.
Coming off an exciting year of multiple awards including a 2019 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography and an inaugural 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship - as well as residencies at The Baryshnikov Arts Center and the National Center for Choreography and support from The National Dance Project and MAP Fund - Let the Crows Come is Ashwini Ramaswamy's kinetic exploration of cultural hybridity, which is the energizing tension of her choreographic practice. 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. For Ashwini, 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 - Choreographic Associate and soloist with the renowned Ragamala Dance Company - layers ritual, tradition, deconstruction, iteration, and origin. Let the Crows Come is a genre-twisting evolution of movement and music across cultural and corporeal boundaries.
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. Concurrently, composers Jace Clayton and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Carnatic composer Prema Ramamurthy's original score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for their sonic explorations.
"Through my work in Bharatanatyam," said Ramaswamy, "I aim to create opportunities to access an unfamiliar culture yet appreciate its mystery. Like a phantom limb, my Indian ancestry lingers with me, informing my artistic work and daily interactions; my upbringing in both India and the U.S. has encouraged an aesthetic perspective with a hybrid internal compass. I am drawn to the 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 is a focal point in my projects."
"I am thoroughly grateful to be a part of this collaboration with Ashwini Ramaswamy," said dancer/choreographer Berit Ahlgren. "As a huge fan of Liquid Music programming, I felt confident in accepting Ashwini's request, knowing that beyond the creative input of the brilliant artists involved, there'd be a strong support and artistic agency for us to build a piece behind Liquid Music's mission. The creative process itself has been uniquely challenging as I deconstruct Ashwini's choreography in Bharatanatyam, and reconfigure a solo for myself. Using a sensation-based, improvisational dance training called Gaga (which I teach and specialize in), I looked for textures of movements, reverse pathways, rhythms and oppositions to build movement reminiscent of Ashwini's solo, fitting her overall artistic vision of Let the Crows Come. Now working in the studio with Alanna Morris Van Tassel (a former colleague of mine from years past at TU Dance), another layer of depth and perspective is added to the choreographic process, and I am inspired to find where the three of us intersect in the piece. Soon we will be together with the musicians, and I am eager to see how this, too, brings rich, new information to my embodiment and role in the work."
"We've been developing Let the Crows Come for the better part of three years," said Liquid Music curator Kate Nordstrum. "Each incarnation of the project was a necessary step toward realizing its full potential. I'm proud to have taken the time needed to nurture a beautiful idea, and to have created a strong framework for collaboration. I think I speak on behalf of all involved when I say we're truly ready for the birth of Let the Crows Come and have high hopes for its future."
Friday & Saturday | November 8 & 9, 2019 | 8:00pm, Lab Theater, Minneapolis. $25 ($20 for SPCO/Liquid Music subscribers); FREE for children ages 6-17 and students. liquidmusicseries.org | 651.291.1144