WANT TO GO?
Ragamala Dance "Sacred Earth"
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
TICKETS: $10, $15 and $20
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
EXTRA: A traditional South Indian dance class will be held at the Clay Center at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ranee Ramaswamy does not lack for ambition. The Indian-born choreographer, artistic director and principle dancer for the traditional South Indian dance troupe Ragamala wants to bring her style of dance to mainstream America, to make it as accessible to dance fans as ballet.
A step along that way will be Charleston. The troupe will perform its Bharatanatyam style dance Saturday night at the Clay Center in a show titled "Sacred Earth." The production brings the culture of Southern India to the stage, combining dance with a multimedia presentation to explore myth, mysticism and the interconnectedness of life.
Ramaswamy and her dancers have a lot to say.
"Like ballet, our dance has a vocabulary," she explained. "There's a language you learn as a dancer, just as you might learn a language."
And the language is complex. There are many things to see.
"Our production is a feast for the eyes," she said.
Every movement, gesture and facial expression of each dancer is part of the poem, part of the story, part of the message of the dance. That kind of complexity is part of the traditional way of life in southern India.