Bharatanatyam dance concert Sunday, April 22, 2001, 7:00 pm
Bharatanatyam dance concert
Sunday, April 22, 2001, 7:00 pm
The Saint Paul Student Center Theater,
About the artists:
Aparna Ramaswamy has performed Bharatanatyam in the Twin Cities since the age of six and has been studying with Alarmel Valli, the leading exponent of the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, since the age of eight. At the age of twelve, she was the first of Alarmel Valli’s students to perform an Arangetram (two-hour debut recital) in India. Aparna has performed at numerous venues both nationally and internationally. Currently Artistic Associate, she has been a member of Ragamala Music and Dance Theater since its inception in 1992. Aparna has been awarded several honors, including the prestigious Balasaraswathi International Award for Excellence in Bharatanatyam (New York), and a 1997 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance. She has also received a Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant, two Career Opportunity Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, An Asian American Renaissance Artist Development Grant, a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and was named "Best Dancer" in the City Pages "Best of the Twin Cities 1999" issue and one of "One Hundred People to Watch" by the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Magazine (February 2000). In June 2000, Aparna presented Samarpanam at the Southern Theater, which was named as "one of the best dance works of 2000" by the Star Tribune. Aparna is a 1997 graduate of Carleton College, with a degree in International Relations/Political Science.
Kats Fukasawa has been studying Bharatanatyam under the guidance of Ranee Ramaswamy since 1994. Before meeting Ranee, he studied tap and flamenco, among other dance forms. After his first trip to India with Ranee Ramaswamy in December 1996 (supported by a Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant), Kats decided to pursue Bharatanatyam as a career. He gave his solo debut performance (Arangetram) in July of 1998 at Intermedia Arts, and is the recipient of a 1999 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance. Kats’ choreography was first presented by Ragamala as part of Pudisu, an evening-length production that premiered at the Southern Theater in September 2000. Kats’ alter ego is known as "Paneer Project."
Alison Kirwin has been studying with Ranee Ramaswamy and performing with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater since 1993. Alison gave her solo debut performance (Arangetram) in August of 1996 at the Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN. Alison finished her Major in Dance at the University of Minnesota in 1997.
Tamara Nadel has been studying with Ranee Ramaswamy and performing with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater since 1994. In 1997, she began teaching at Ragamala’s school and accompanying Ranee on educational residencies. She gave her solo debut performance (Arangetram) in July 1998 at Intermedia Arts. Tamara is the recipient of a 2000 Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant and a 2000 Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant for travel to India. She is a graduate of Macalester College, where she studied Religious Studies and Dance. Tamara’s choreography was first presented by Ragamala as part of Pudisu, an evening-length production that premiered at the Southern Theater in September 2000.
Nirmala Rajasekar, a vocalist and a Vainika (plays the Veena, a 7-stringed instrument), is a disciple of distinguished Veena Guru Kalpakam Swaminathan and has trained in vocal music with Guru B. Sitarama Sharma. Having debuted as a soloist at age 13 with a concert at the Indian Institute of World Culture (Bangalore), she has performed in world-renowned music venues, such as the prestigious Music Academy (Madras), Gayana Samaj (Bangalore), Shankarabharanam (New Delhi), TIFR (Bombay), India Music Circle (London), and the Embassy of India (Berne). In the United States Nirmala has composed and performed for many organizations, including the Schubert Club, Cedar Cultural Center, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, PANGEA World Theater, Indian Music Society of Minnesota (IMSOM), and the Katha Dance Theater. The diversity of her music is illustrated through her innovative work with Dean Magraw, Jay Johnson, Marcus Wise, and poet Robert Bly. Nirmala’s music has been widely broadcast on radio and television in India, the USA, and Europe, highlighted by a recording for BBC England for their Library of World Artists. Nirmala has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of her work and has released many recordings both as a featured soloist as well as a featured artist with the poet Robert Bly. Most recently, KFAI Radio in Minneapolis has chosen Nirmala's concert at the University of Saint Thomas as one of the best concerts of the year 2000. Nirmala opened the Rang Tarang series in February 2001 with a Vocal lecture demonstration and performance on the Veena.
Murali Balachandran hails from a family of dancers and musicians. He studied Mridangam under his father, Dr. C. G. Balachandran, and received training in Bharatanatyam from his mother, Usha. Murali has accompanied leading musicians and dancers and performed at prestigious venues such as the Lincoln Center, the Smithosonian in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Murali is based in New York, NY.
Kalpana Venkataramani, a disciple of violin maestro Shri M. Chandrasekaran, has given concerts at prestigious venues, including performances at the December Music Season in Chennai, India over the last four years. Kalpana has received the first prize for violin from three major venues in Chennai - Mylapore Fine Arts, Tamil Isai Sangam, and VDS Arts Academy. In 1995 she was given the "Best Instrumentalist" from Chinmaya Yuva Kendra and in 1999 she received the "Best Accompaniment" Award from Krishna Gana Sabha, the leading music and dance organization in Chennai, India. Kalpana currently works as a software consultant in Orlando, Florida.
Ranee Ramaswamy has been teaching and performing Bharatanatyam in the Twin Cities since 1978. She has had the good fortune to train under Alarmel Valli, the leading exponent of the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, which requires grace and subtlety of expression. Ranee has received many grants and fellowships in recognition of her dancing, choreography, and tireless work with Bharatanatyam in the Minnesota area, including 12 McKnight Fellowships administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance, a two-year National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer Fellowship in 1994, and a Bush Fellowship for Choreography in 1996. In 1997, she received a McKnight Interdisciplinary Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Collaboration Grant, and a two-year McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance. In 1998, she was awarded a LIN (Leadership Initiative Neighborhood) Grant by the St. Paul Companies. Most recently, she was awarded a 2000 Minnesota State Arts Board Choreography Fellowship and a 2000 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers administered by the Minnesota Dance Alliance. For the current season, Ranee has been commissioned to choreograph a work on Zenon Dance Company, Minnesota’s premiere modern dance company, which will be presented in May, 2001, as part of a joint performance by Ragamala and Zenon.
© Copyright 2001 Indian Music Society of Minnesota