In February 2016, we featured the women of Ragamala Dance, the Minneapolis-based bharatanatyam company founded by mother-and-daughter team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy. (Daughter Ashwini is a dancer in the company and the troupe's publicist.) Since they appeared on our cover, they've had a busy year and a half, full of performances and exciting news. This weekend, they're featuring their mentor, Alarmél Valli, in a special performance at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts in Minneapolis.
Valli (who Aparna refers to as the "Baryshnikov of India") is actually the reason why Ranee and Aparna wound up founding their company. After Valli gave a master class in Minneapolis that both Ranee and Aparna attended, Valli suggested Ranee bring Aparna to India for further bharatanatyam study. Ranee, who had studied the dance form in her youth, trained alongside her daughter with Valli. By the time Aparna was 17, they'd founded Ragamala.
From left, Ashwini, Ranee and Aparna. Photo by Darial Sneed, courtesy of Ragamala Dance
For her performance this Saturday at 7:30 pm, Valli will be accompanied by a musical ensemble from South India.