Austin getting a look into Indian culture

*Editors note: In the print version of this columnn, found in this Sunday’s paper, the day for Ragamala was inadvertently left out. This online version contains all the correct information.

The 2014 Paramount Performance Series brought to you by Eastwood Bank kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday with the Twin Cities-based Ragamala and their production of “Sacred Earth.”

This performance is supported in part by the Arts and Cultural Legacy grant and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

“Sacred Earth” explores the interconnectedness between human emotions and the environments that shape them.

Inspired by the philosophies behind the ephemeral arts of kolam and Warli painting and the Tamil Sangam literature of India, the performers honor the divinity in the natural world.

Ragamala is led by artistic directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy. Through the South Indian classical dance form of Bharata Natyam, they explore the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary. Drawing from the myth and spirituality of their South Indian heritage, they make dance landscapes that dwell in opposition — secular and spiritual life, inner and outer worlds, human and natural concerns, rhythm and stillness — to find the transcendence that lies in between.

Tickets for this performance are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children 12 and younger can receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.austinareaarts.org or at the Paramount Box Office Tuesday through Friday 12 to 5 p.m. We are presenting two other events in conjunction with this performance.

In partnership with the Hormel Historic Home, Austin’s Dr. Vijay Chawla and her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, will share treasured family recipes from Northern India in a cooking class this Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m.

Experience the true taste of home-cooked, all natural Indian cuisine such as Chicken Masala and Rice Pilau.

Find out more at www.kavelifoods.com. Register for the class at  http://austin.revtrak.net for class CE14WS67.

Ragamala will also be presenting a free Master Class at the Yoga Studio of Austin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. No prior dance or yoga experience is necessary to attend this event.

Please preregister at https://yogastudioofaustin.acuityscheduling.com/ or call 507-440-1073. This informative and interactive session introduces participants to Bharata Natyam, touching on the traditional salutation, basic postures, rhythmic and gestural technique, and four aspects of expressive dance.

Rooted in the company’s signature aesthetic, Ragamala will show participants how an ancient art form stays eternally relevant and can be used as a living, breathing language through which to create contemporary work.

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