september, 2017

14sep(sep 14)7:00 pm16(sep 16)10:00 pmWorld-renowned dancer and choreographer Alarmél Valli presents rare solo performance accompanied by a musical ensemble from South India


Event Details

Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance Company invites Ms. Valli to launch its
25th Anniversary Season


At The Cowles Center: September 14 & 16, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS – The internationally acclaimed classical Indian dancer and choreographer, Alarmél Valli, will travel to Minneapolis from Chennai in September for a rare two-part event as part of Ragamala Dance Company’s 25th Anniversary Season. For this engagement, Ms. Valli will lead a talk on the classical Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam (Thursday, September 14) and present a solo performance with live music (Saturday, September 16).

Ms. Valli has taught Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, the mother-daughter artistic team that leads Ragamala, since 1984 when she visited the Twin Cities to teach a Bharatanatyam workshop. She also teaches Ragamala company member and choreographic associate, Ashwini Ramaswamy – daughter of Ranee and sister to Aparna.

The Ramaswamys credit Ms. Valli with inspiring them to begin Ragamala Dance Company and with helping the company to develop its signature style, which blends ancient traditions with contemporary life.

Perhaps the most celebrated Bharatanatyam artist in the world, Ms. Valli’s two-part engagement is designed to provide a window into the complex and nuanced art form, as well as into her thought process as a dancer and choreographer.

Aparna Ramaswamy recalls, “When I was eight years old, I first saw her perform in Minneapolis, and to this day, seeing Valli akka (‘older sister’) dance is akin to seeing something otherworldly. I never knew that one person could embody and layer a myriad of emotions and states of being with such grace and brilliance. From that moment, I was forever changed.”

Indian classical dance is a celebration of the body, mind and spirit. Alarmél Valli’s talk, entitled The Moving Temple: Dance and the Divine, provides insights into the timelessness and human relevance of Bharatanatyam, as well as her specific approach and aesthetic. She will also discuss the history of the dance form, which goes back over 2,000 years.

Ms. Valli, who rarely gives public performances, will also give a solo performance of her work. Ramaswamy calls it a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” to see an artist of Ms. Valli’s caliber and notoriety on stage.

While Ms. Valli’s visit launches Ragamala’s 25thAnniversary Season, the Ramaswamys emphasize that her appearance is about acknowledging her impact on their lives and therefore a celebration of the company’s milestone.

“When you learn Bharatanatyam, you are a lifelong student. We will never finish learning from her,” says Ramaswamy. “Everything we have, we owe to her, and we want to recognize her for showing us what it means to be a true artist.”

About Alarmél Valli

Acclaimed internationally for her ability to turn a traditional grammar into a subtle, deeply internalized, personal dance poetry, Alarmél Valli’s dance is uncompromisingly classical, but is, at the same time, an undeniable language of self-expression. Her work blurs the boundaries between tradition and the individual talent, inheritance and invention. In her choreography, the Bharatanatyam idiom is not merely a received grammar, but a reinvented one.


About Ragamala Dance Company

Under the direction of Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, Ragamala Dance Company’s work explores the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the personal. As choreographers and performers, Ranee and Aparna create 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. As mother and daughter, each brings her generational experience to the work — the rich traditions, deep philosophical roots and ancestral wisdom of India meeting and merging with their hybridic perspective as Indian-American artists.

About The Cowles Center
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts serves as the Twin Cities’ flagship for dance, presenting 20+ productions each season in The Goodale Theater in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis. The Center’s campus includes three performance spaces, education studios, and administrative offices for more than 20 arts and nonprofit organizations – making it a dynamic and vibrant hub for the Twin Cities’ performing arts community and a place where dance can grow and thrive.

At a Glance

WHAT: An Evening of Bharatanatyam by Alarmél Valli

WHERE: The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403


Artist Talk (September 14): $15

Solo Performance (September 16): $29

Combined ticket for both events: $40

TICKETS: 206-3600


Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m.


Ann B. Erickson | Marketing and Communications Manager

The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
528 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403



14 (Thursday) 7:00 pm - 16 (Saturday) 10:00 pm


Cowles Auditorium

528 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403


Ann B. Erickson612.206.3630;