Ragamala Dance: 1,001 Buddhas

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Ragamala Dance translates the exquisite classical Indian dance form bharatanatyam into a vibrant present tense. "1,001 Buddhas: Journey of the Gods" takes its inspiration from the 28 Hindu deities that guard the Buddhas at the Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto, Japan. This monument of ancient cultural melding proved irresistible to Ragamala's artistic directors, Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy. Drawing on the iconography of the deities and the myriad histories and energies they embody, the Ramaswamys focused on the intersection of Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions. The images of the guardians originate in Indian Buddhism, and while they have Japanese names, they are also known by their names in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism. The marvelous Ragamala dancers (all women) are the perfect instruments to channel the range of qualities these custodians represent, from ferocity to compassion. The dynamic score, played live, combines the artistry of the Wadaiko Ensemble of Japan (taiko drums), Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan of India (chenda drum), Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam drum), Lait Subramanian (vocal), and Anjna Swaminathan (violin). This will be a visual and aural multicultural banquet if there ever was one. And speaking of feasts, a Silk Road Social following the Sunday performance features small plates of Indian- and Japanese-inspired food and wine, a chance to mingle with the artists, and a silent auction. (Photo by Bonnie Jean Mackay)
March 22-23, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 24, 2 p.m., 2013
 
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