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Soraya Stories

Recap: World-renowned dance featured in The Soraya’s 2021-22 season

The Soraya’s 2021-22 season featured world-renowned dance companies — including the Martha Graham Dance Company and Ragamala Dance — that we were beyond excited to welcome audiences back into the Great Hall.

Before we begin the journey into the 2022-23 season, we’d like to take a look back at the captivating dance performances that wowed our audiences in our most recent season.


Martha Graham Dance Company | Photo by Luis Luque

At The Soraya we don’t just feature the performing arts, we also help to create them. In the 2021-22 season, The Soraya co-commissioned Jason Moran to create a new score for Canticle — which premiered on March 19, 2022 right on our stage with the Martha Graham Dance Company and Wild Up.

Thor Steingraber, The Soraya’s Executive and Artistic Director, said it best leading up to the world premiere performance, “students of music, dance, and American culture know that few individuals contributed more to the advancement of art in the 20th century than Martha Graham.”

​​In the re-envisioning of Canticle, Artistic Director Janet Eilber tells Debra Levine, Moran’s music melds perfectly with Micaela Taylor’s choreography in a “poetic” way. Read Levine’s article on the behind-the-scenes work that went into the performance here.


Ragamala Dance Company | Photo by Luis Luque

The Ragamala Dance Company’s April 9, 2022 performance involved building a replica of the Ganges River on The Soraya’s stage — for a piece co-commissioned by The Kennedy Center.

Ragamala’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of The Eternal Pilgrim was created by mother-daughter duo Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, to tell the story of their father/grandfather passing away from his homeland in India and yearning to ultimately return home after he died.

“A devout Hindu, his desire was for his ashes to be scattered in the Ganges River in the sacred city of Varanasi, India, just as our ancestors before him,” Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy wrote as they detailed the spirit behind the piece.

“In this theatrical reimagining, we expand upon the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora.”

The performance marked the Ramaswamy family’s third visit to The Soraya with their dance company.

Read more about the richly-colored costumes and mystical music here from Karen Greenspan for The Soraya.


Ballet BC | Photo by Luis Luque

Thor Steingraber, The Soraya’s Executive and Artistic Director, was behind the last work — after envisioning an excerpt of Walerski’s Romeo + Juliet. Read more about what went into creating the performance here from Debra Levine, for The Soraya.

  • Garden (2016)
  • The Statement (2018)
  • An excerpt from Romeo + Juliet (2018)



What were your favorite moments of the 2021-22 season? To share your answer with us, comment on our Facebook post or tag us on your favorite platform!

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