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31 January 2012

Ragamala Dance cultivates ‘Sacred Earth’ at HACC’s Live at Rose Lehrman

Ragamala Indian DanceHARRISBURG — The Ragamala Indian Dance company will perform its premiere work “Sacred Earth” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Rose Lehrman Arts Center on the Harrisburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College.
Ragamala Dance presents innovative works within the tradition of Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of southern India. “Sacred Earth” is performed against large-scale projected panels by master folk artist Anil Chaitya Vangad.  The performance brings two Ragamala Indian Danceancient Indian visual art traditions — Warli paintings and Kolam rice flour drawings — together into this dance style that transforms the stage into a sacred space with a deep connection to the Earth.
Ragamala Dance artistic director Ranee Ramaswamy has been named the 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist in recognition of artistic excellence spanning more than three decades. “Ranee Ramaswamy is a stellar example of the combined power of vision, commitment, and technique,” said Kate Wolford, president of The McKnight Foundation, “Through teaching and performance, Ranee has helped introduce this 2,000-year-old dance tradition to audiences in Minnesota and around the world, revealing its ancient ties as well as its relevance today.”
Ragamala Dance will present a number of educational events prior to the group’s public performance at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center. The performance will conclude with a post-show talkback and “Taste of India” reception in the lobby. The following is a list of the planned activities:

Monday, Feb. 13:
  • 6 p.m. – Meet and greet with the Indian community and the Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania organization.
Tuesday, Feb. 14: 
  • 11 a.m. - Wet Kolam display by Ranee Ramaswamy in the lobby of the Rose Lehrman Arts Center on HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. Kolams are rice flour designs made each morning by women in southern India as conscious offerings to Mother Earth. This daily ritual creates a sacred space and becomes a link between the intimate home and the vastness of the outside world.
  • Ninety-minute workshop, “Introduction to Classical Indian Dance and Kolam Drawings” for students at the Capital Area School for the Arts, 150 Strawberry Square, Third and Walnut streets in Harrisburg.
Wednesday, Feb. 15:
  • 10 a.m. – One-hour school performance for 380 Harrisburg School District students.
  • 7:30 p.m. – Ticketed public performance of “Sacred Earth” at Live at Rose Lehrman, Rose Lehrman Arts Center on HACC’s Harrisburg Campus.
  • 15 minute post-show talkback with Ragamala Dance's artistic directors, Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy.
  • Post-show “Taste of India” reception in the lobby of the Rose Lehrman Arts Center on HACC’s Harrisburg Campus.
Support for this Live at Rose Lehrman event comes from the Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania, Hershey Asian Affinity Group, and the HACC Foundation. This project is partially supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Greater Harrisburg Arts Council; the Cultural Enrichment Fund; the McCormick Family Foundation; and Property Management, Inc. This event is also funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the arts. NDP is supported by lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust. This tour of Ragamala Dance is also made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Media sponsor for the event is WHTM-TV abc27.
Live at Rose Lehrman will present Ragamala Dance – “Sacred Earth”  at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Rose Lehrman Arts Center on HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. Tickets are $33 for adults, $31 senior citizens, and $15 students. Contact the Live at Rose Lehrman Box Office at 231-ROSE (7673). Tickets also are available online at

Teri Guerrisi, Director, Live at Rose Lehrman performing artist series, 717-780-2545

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