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Evoking mythography and ancestry, Let the Crows Come uses the metaphor of crows as messengers for the living and guides for the departed. This dance for three with live music explores how memory and homeland channel guidance and dislocation. Featuring Ashwini Ramaswamy (Bharatanatyam technique), Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (Contemporary/African Diasporic technique), and Berit Ahlgren (Gaga technique), Bharatanatyam dance is deconstructed and recontextualized to recall a memory that has a shared origin but is remembered differently from person to person. Composers Jace Clayton (dj/rupture) and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Prema Ramamurthy’s classical Carnatic (South Indian) score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for their sonic explorations.  

The foundation of Ramaswamy’s work and aesthetic begins with decades of dance training with her gurus—her mother, Ranee Ramaswamy; sister Aparna Ramaswamy (directors of Ragamala Dance Company); and the legendary Alarmel Valli of Chennai, India—to uphold the balance between technical rigor, physicality, grace, and expressive authenticity that is the hallmark of their Bharatanatyam lineage. The New York Times describes Ramaswamy as “weaving together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine … there is a continual flow of energy coursing through her limbs.” 

As a founding member of Ragamala Dance Company, Ramaswamy has toured extensively, performing throughout the United States and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and India, highlighted by performances at The Joyce Theater and Lincoln Center Out of Doors (New York City), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), American Dance Festival (Durham, North Carolina), Music Center of Los Angeles, the Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, Connecticut), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bali Arts Festival, National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), and Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India). 

As a soloist, Ramaswamy has performed at the Just Festival (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), the Ritz Theater (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Northrop (Minneapolis), Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota), the Drive East Festival, and Erasing Borders Festival (New York City), and her choreographic work has been presented by Augsburg College, the Red Eye Theater, and the Cowles Center (Minneapolis); Triskelion Arts and The Joyce Theater (New York City); The Just Festival (Edinburgh); and The Yard (Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts). 

This presentation of Let the Crows Come by Ashwini Ramaswamy was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Collaborating Partner:

The presentation of Let the Crows Come by Ashwini Ramaswamy was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Presenting Sponsors:

Betty Hum and Alan Yudell

Karen and John Voris


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Virginia G. Piper Theater
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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In Conversation: Choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Join us for a discussion with choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy as we dive into her process, time at Baryshnikov Arts residency, and inspiration behind her most recent work, ‘Let the Crows Come.’

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