Ragamala Dance Company – Fires of Varanasi World Premiere (Kennedy Center)
The dancers’ feet trace the pilgrimage routes of Varanasi, embodying the millions who seek to re-write a living, sacred, internal geography.
Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s award-winning, internationally recognized classical Indian bharatanatyam dance group will perform the world premiere of the Kennedy Center co-commission Fires of Varanasi on the REACH campus, September 11 and 12. This site-specific work is a ritual for the stage where time is suspended and humans merge with the divine. Through images that form the cosmic trinity of Varanasi, India—sacred pilgrimage routes, the Ganges River, and the patron deity Shiva—the choreographers imagine a crossing place that provides spiritual and physical transcendence. This work for 11 dancers expands upon the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to examine immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora. The work features an original, recorded score and the lighting designs of French scenic and lightning designer Willy Cessa.