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Ragamala Dance Company

Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim

Feb 09Feb 11

Performance Dates

  • Thu Feb 09 2023 8:00 PM
  • Fri Feb 10 2023 8:00 PM
  • Sat Feb 11 2023 8:00 PM


Meany Hall – Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater

Co-presented with SAMA: Seattle Sacred Music & Art

Driven by the artistic vision of mother-daughters Ranee Ramaswamy, Aparna Ramaswamy (Artistic Directors) and Ashwini Ramaswamy (Choreographic Associate), Ragamala Dance Company is committed to the idea that while history is time bound, the stories we share are timeless. Rooted in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, Ragamala's work is expansive – extending beyond the stage to embody their immigrant experiences and show a kindred relationship between ancient and contemporary within today’s world.

Fires of Varanasi is an immersive ritual for the stage where time is suspended and humans merge with the divine. Award-winning creators Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy imagine a metaphorical crossing place that enters into the world of immortality, expanding upon the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora. For them, the transformation of the soul after cremation becomes a powerful symbol for human resilience and the tenacity of people and cultures across time. In this full-length evening for eleven performers with an original, recorded score, French scenic and lighting designer Willy Cessa transforms the stage as the performers traverse the iconic stairways and landings along the river banks, performing ritual ablutions in the sacred river.

Co-commissioned by Meany Center

Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer. 
— The New York Times


The ENCORE+ digital program for this performance is available to READ ONLINE


Dance Series generously underwritten by Delaney and Justin Dechant and Ira and Courtney Gerlich in honor of Katharyn Alvord Gerlich.​​