Renowned Ragamala Dance Company presents “Sacred Earth”

May 1, 2015

As part of Carleton College’s weekly convocation series, the renowned Ragamala Dance Company will present a special performance on Friday, May 8 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel.

“Sacred Earth” explores the interconnectedness between human emotions and the environments that shape them. Performed with live music, the dancers attempt to create a sacred space to honor the divinity in the natural world and the sustenance derived from it.

The performance of “Sacred Earth” is free and open to the public. Carleton convocations are also recorded and archived online at

“Sacred Earth” is choreographed and performed by sisters Aparna Ramaswamy (Carleton Class of 1997) and Ashwini Ramaswamy (Carleton Class of 2003). Inspired by the philosophies behind the ephemeral arts of kolam and Warli painting and the Tamil Sangam literature of India, “Sacred Earth” is a singular vision of the beautiful, fragile relationship between nature and man.

Founded in 1992 and based in Minneapolis, the Ragamala Dance Company seamlessly carries the south Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam into the 21st century. While deeply rooted in this classical tradition, Ragamala integrates innovative ideas and collaborations into their choreography to convey that Bharatanatyam is contemporary and distinctly current. 

Under the direction of choreographers/ dancers Ranee Ramaswamy  (Aparna and Ashwini’s mother) and Aparna Ramaswamy, Ragamala Dance Company draws from the myth and spirituality of South India to create contemporary dance landscapes that dwell in opposition—secular and spiritual life, inner and outer worlds, human and natural concerns, rhythm and stillness—to find the transcendence that lies in between.

Described as "soulful, imaginative and rhythmically contagiousby The New York Times, Ragamala's work has been presented by the Lincoln Center (NY), Kennedy Center (DC), Walker Art Center (MN), American Dance Festival (NC), and National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India) and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, MAP Fund, USArtists International, New Music/USA, and American Composers Forum. 

Ragamala’s visionary work has also brought the company to many prestigious venues around the world, including the Miao-Li International Mask Festival (Miao-Li, Taiwan), the Open Look Contemporary Dance Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Bali Arts Festival (Bali, Indonesia), the Nagoya Kita Bunka Shogekijyo (Ida City, Japan), the Festival of Spirituality and Peace (Edinburgh, Scotland), and the Soorya Festival (Kerala, India). 

For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at the corner of College and First Streets in Northfield.