The Kennedy Center


Ragamala Dance Company: Written in Water

Friday, November 2, 2018 - Saturday, November 3, 2018

Contemporary Dance

Ragamala Dance Company, the creation of mother/daughter team Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, returns with one of the company's newest productions. 

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Ragamala Dance Company
Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, Artistic Directors

“Gorgeous, dramatic, rich, and warm—a true delight!”—The Washington Post

Acclaimed as one of the diaspora’s leading Bharatanatyam ensembles, Ragamala Dance Company returns to the Kennedy Center with its latest work, Written in Water. Last seen at the 2011 maximum INDIA Festival, Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy (2018 Guggenheim Fellows) create works that convey that Bharatanatyam is contemporary and distinctly current.  

Written in Water

A large-scale multi-disciplinary work with dance, music, text, and painting, Written in Water provides an allegory of human’s constant search for transcendence. The work takes inspiration from the Indian board game Paramapadam – the 2nd century precursor to Snakes and Ladders – and the rich 12th-century Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds. Performed with live music, an original score interweaves South Indian Carnatic music composed by Prema Ramamurthy with Iraqi American jazz artist Amir ElSaffar’s distinctive blend of Western music and Iraqi Maqam. Written in Water features lush paintings by Chennai-based artist V. Keshav projected onto the stage to create a mythic, mystical dance landscape.   

Performance Timing: 65 minutes, with no intermission.

Enjoy a free pre-show Interactive Game-playing Experience created by company members.

Starting at 6:30 p.m. before each performance, wander in to the Kennedy Center’s North Atrium (across the hallway from the Terrace Theater) to enjoy a behind-the-scenes video and chance to play the Indian board game Paramapadam (precursor to Snakes & Ladders), which inspired Written in Water. A giant interactive floor game, as well as table top game boards featuring the Indian art work will be set out with explanation and instructions written by the company, providing access to the abstract, conceptual nature of Written in Water and the way Ragamala creates multidisciplinary and culturally hybridic dance works, based in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam. Written in Water performance ticket required.


Watch and Listen

'Written in Water' - Ragamala Dance Company at the Kennedy Center

Ragamala - Celebrating 25 Years