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Austin Arts: Indian dance comes to Paramount

The 2014 Paramount Performance Series, brought to you by Eastwood Bank, kicks off Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the Twin Cities-based Ragamala and their production of Sacred Earth.

This performance is supported in part by an Arts and Cultural Legacy grant and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Sacred Earth explores the interconnectedness between human emotions and the environments that shape them. Inspired by the philosophies behind the ephemeral arts of kolam and Warli painting and the Tamil Sangam literature of India, the performers honor the divinity in the natural world.

Ragamala is led by artistic directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy. Through the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, they explore the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary. Drawing from the myth and spirituality of their South Indian heritage, they make 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.

Tickets for this performance cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children 12 and younger can receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets can be purchased online at austinareaarts.org or at the Paramount Box Office Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.


We are presenting two other events in conjunction with this performance. In partnership with the Hormel Historic Home, Austin's Dr. Vijay Chawla and her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, will share treasured family recipes from Northern India in a cooking class on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Experience the true taste of home-cooked, all-natural Indian cuisine such as Chicken Masala and Rice Pilau. Find out more at www.kavelifoods.com. Register for the class at http://austin.revtrak.net for class CE14WS67.

Ragamala will also be presenting a free Master Class at the Yoga Studio of Austin on Thursday at 6 p.m. No prior dance or yoga experience is necessary to attend this event. Please preregister at https://yogastudioofaustin.acuityscheduling.com/ , or call 440-1073. This informative and interactive session introduces participants to Bharatanatyam, touching on the traditional salutation, basic postures, rhythmic and gestural technique, and four aspects of expressive dance. Rooted in the company's signature aesthetic, Ragamala will show participants how an ancient art form stays eternally relevant and can be used as a living, breathing language through which to create contemporary work.

Jennie Knoebel is executive directorof Austin Area Commission for the Arts.

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