Paramount goes international in May

Published 6:39 am Saturday, May 4, 2019

Ragamala Dance, Cahoots NI visit Austin in the first half of the month

The Paramount Theatre will host international performers this May: Cahoots Theatre Company from Northern Ireland and Ragamala Dance, lead by Indian immigrants.

Ragamala Dance will offer a Kolam Workshop on Tuesday, followed by performing original dance, “Nocturne,” on Wednesday.

She hadn’t danced in 10 years when Ranee Ramaswamy — then a young wife and mother recently immigrated to the Minneapolis suburbs — was invited to dance at a Diwali Festival. Ramaswamy said yes, launching her dance career. Ramaswamy founded Ragamala Dance Company in 1992, focused on Bharatanatyam dance, which goes back more than 2,000 years to the ancient temples of southern India. Integrating elements of music, theater, poetry, sculpture, and literature, Bharatanatyam is both entertainment and spiritual practice for dancers and audience.

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Ragamala will offer a Hands-On Kolam Workshop at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, meeting at the Austin ArtWorks Center and proceeding outside if weather allows. Each day before sunrise, southeastern Indian women create Kolams — intricate designs made of rice flour on the ground in front of their homes. The ritual creates a sacred link between the intimate home and the vast outside world. Ragamala artists will introduce participants to the history and background of Kolam and its philosophy of interconnectedness between humanity and nature. Ages 10 and up are welcome. Cost is $5 per person and registration is required.

“Nocturne” is the first major work to be conceived/choreographed by long-time Ragamala soloist Ashwini Ramaswamy, Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Principal Dancer of Ragamala with her choreographic partner (and mother) Ranee Ramaswamy. Inspired by the natural, emotional, and spiritual migrations that occur after nightfall, “Nocturne” summons the different facets of the night — the natural world, the emotional world of anticipation and longing, and the heightened spiritual potency of pre-dawn.

“Nocturne” will be presented at the Paramount at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets are on sale now and cost $15 in advance, $20 the day of show and $5 per student.

Cahoots NI will perform “Shh! We Have A Plan,” a play about diversity and kindness told without words, at the Paramount Theater at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15.

Based on the Chris Haughton book of the same title, the story features characters that have a plan to capture a beautiful bird perched high in a tree. The simple quest soon becomes an absurd obsession, leading to the discovery that perhaps freedom and kindness are more important than getting what you want at any cost. Belfast, Ireland-based Cahoots is traveling to Austin as part of a U.S. tour that began in Texas in March.

This performance is made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities. Funding support was also provided by Rotary Club of Austin and the Welcome Center. It is part of Austin Public Library’s “One Austin: Many Stories” programming.

Tickets are a $30 value, but are available free to the public because of grant funding. Although tickets are free, they must be obtained in advance from the Austin ArtWorks Center, Austin Public Library or the Welcome Center.

Coming soon to the Paramount Theatre

  • “Nocture” by Ragamala Dance: May 8
  • St. Andrews Sisters: Just a Little UnCONVENTional: May 11-12
  • “Shh! We Have a Plan” by Cahoots Theatre Company: May 15
  • $5 Movie: “The Perfect Storm”: 3 and 7:30 p.m., May 22
  • $5 Movie: “Jaws”: 3 and 7:30 p.m., May 29

Coming soon to the Austin ArtWorks Center

  • Learn Your Camera with Hannah Rosholt: May 7
  • Kolam Workshop with Ragamala Dance: May 7
  • Birch Trees: Canvas Paintings with Katie Stromlund: May 9
  • $5 Kids Studio: Mother’s Day Bags: May 11
  • Family Art Studio: May 11
  • 2nd Floor Gallery Show: James Wegner: May 17
  • SOLD OUT: $5 Kids Studio: Canvas Painting: May 18
  • $5 Kids Studio: Polymer Clay Animals: May 25
  • ArtRocks Open Jam: May 31

More information is available at