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Director Selects: Ragamala Dance Company

By Thor Steingraber

The spiritual story of Varanasi and its exquisite beauty should be experienced by everyone, regardless of national or religious origin.

In Washington DC, Chicago, and Minneapolis, Ragamala has performed to sold out theaters with their new piece, Fires of Varanasi. While the piece is rooted in Indian tradition, the spiritual story and the exquisite beauty should be experienced by everyone, regardless of national or religious origin. We are very proud that The Soraya is one of the co-commissioners, along with The Kennedy Center, where I attended the premiere last fall. Fires of Varanasi was featured in the Kennedy Center’s reopening, post-pandemic, as well as the launch of their 50th anniversary season. At the Soraya, we will build a small replica of the Ganges River on our stage, and set the mood for a rare but exquisite journey.

The Ramaswamy family who founded Ragamala Dance Company have been at The Soraya twice before, and have become great friends and collaborators. They are thought leaders in our community and offer healing and reflection for everyone’s collective struggles in these challenging times.




“Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer. This is an excellent company…Aparna Ramaswamy is an enchantingly beautiful dancer.”


Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times

“Brimming with allegory, “Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim” points your eyes to the pops of color that show up in the dancers’ vibrant costumes and flower petals strewed into three shallow reflection pools decorated with tiny tea lights. Those pools frame crisp, perfect Bharatanatyam phrases, while hanging above the stage, brass bells, tolled from time to time, call the elders to join. They were certainly among us.”


Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Tribune

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