The Baryshnikov Arts Center is about to create LET THE CROWS COME

The Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) is pleased to present the New York premiere of Let the Crows Come by choreographer and dancer Ashwini Ramaswamy, an experimental work by Bharatanatyam and a Washington Post “Best of Dance 2021” selection. Performances will take place Wednesday through Friday, April 13-15, at 8 p.m. at BAC’s Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 West 37th Street, Manhattan.

Let the Crows Come, which was developed during a BAC residency in 2018 and premiered as part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series in November 2019, has been hailed for its “enchanting beauty, striking movement and his inventive intelligence” which “enlighten the mind of Bharatanatyam”. future” (City Pages). Evoking mythography and ancestry, it uses the metaphor of ravens as messengers to the living and guides to the dead, and in doing so explores how memory and homeland channel orientation and the dislocation.

Let the Crows Come was born from a simple observation: when a DJ remixes a song, its essence is preserved while its trajectory has shifted. For Ramaswamy, founding member of the internationally acclaimed Ragamala Dance Company, this mutation is reminiscent of that of a second-generation immigrant, someone who has been culturally remixed to fit multiple places at once. “My upbringing in India and the United States encouraged a hybrid aesthetic perspective, and my work appeals to immigrants eager to make connections between the ancestral and the present,” says Ramaswamy. “I create environments for the stage where past, present and future intertwine; these worlds capture the disorientation and reorientation of the immigrant who settles in a new country and explore how to preserve individuality while creating new spaces of convergence.”

With Let the Crows Come, Ramaswamy examines ritual, tradition and iteration through an evolution of movement and music in genres across cultural and bodily boundaries. In a series of solos performed by three dancers with distinct artistic lineages and movement styles – Ramaswamy (trained in Bharatanatyam), Alanna Morris (trained in modern and African diaspora dance traditions) and Berit Ahlgren (trained in the Gaga technique ) – the Bharatanatyam form is deconstructed and recontextualized to recall a memory that has a common origin but is remembered differently from person to person. The original score, performed live, is inspired by Carnatic music (classical music from southern India). Composers Jace Clayton (aka DJ/rupture) and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Prema Ramamurthy’s Carnatic score, using age-old compositional structures as a starting point for their sonic explorations.

Let the Crows Come features Ashwini Ramaswamy and dancers/choreographers Berit Ahlgren and Alanna Morris. Original music by Brent Arnold, Jace Clayton and Prema Ramamurthy. Music performed by Brent Arnold (cello), Jace Clayton (electronics), Rohan Krishnamurthy (mridangam), Roopa Mahadevan (voice) and Arun Ramamurthy (violin). With sound design by Maury Jensen and lighting design by Mat Terwilliger.

Tickets for Let the Crows Come are $25 and can be purchased online at bacnyc.org or by phone at 866-811-4111. The operating time is 60 minutes. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required and face masks must be worn at all times at the BAC.

Let the Crows Come was commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series and is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project and the MAP Fund (both supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). The work was developed in part during a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC) and the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron (OH).

The presentation of Let the Crows Come at BAC is made possible by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with primary funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The foundation of Ashwini Ramaswamy’s work and aesthetic direction begins with decades of dance training with her gurus – her mother Ranee Ramaswamy and sister Aparna Ramaswamy (directors of Ragamala Dance Company), and the legendary Smt. Alarmél Valli from Chennai, India – to maintain the balance between technical rigor, physique, grace and expressive authenticity that is the hallmark of their Bharatanatyam lineage. The New York Times describes Ramaswamy as “weaving together, with both fear and joy, the human and the divine…there is a continuous flow of energy running through his limbs”.

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision of artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov who sought to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists of all disciplines. The opening of BAC in 2005 marked the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists around the world. BAC’s activities encompass a robust residency program complemented by a range of professional services, including commissions for new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at different stages of their careers. Along with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary and innovative works at affordable ticket prices. For more information, visit bacnyc.org.

Photo credits: Jake Armor


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