The South Indian dancer and choreographer Aparna Ramaswamy’s newest solo work explores the divine benevolence and strength of women as the guardians of ritual.

In They Rose at Dawn, Ramaswamy, the co-artistic director of Ragamala Dance, examines and celebrates how we as humans endure and thrive through our transmission of wisdom from one generation to the next. As a lone dancer on stage accompanied only by a stellar Carnatic musical ensemble, Ramaswamy, whose work has been described as “thrillingly three-dimensional” by The New York Times, creates a beautiful and powerful meditation on the feminine through the dynamic interplay between movement and music.

Navigating inner and outer worlds, women are the primordial source of all creation: the compassionate mother; the lover; and the embodiment of power and strength. For Ramaswamy, these intergenerational conversations provide a forum to create intricate and complex worlds that convey a sense of reverence, of unfolding mystery, and of imagination. Bridging ancestry and the personal, lineage and a new breath, They Rose at Dawn reflects the intertwined truths of history and the present moment that exist within all of us.

“Movingly meditative . . . enchantingly beautiful.” —The New York Times


Ragamala Dance is widely recognized as one of the Indian Diaspora’s leading dance ensembles in the traditional genre of Bharatanatyam. The troupe is known for deeply emotional work that highlights the freedom and spontaneity in the onstage interplay between dancers and musicians. Co-artistic directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy draw on the philosophy and spirituality of their South Indian heritage to convey their own voices as contemporary American choreographers. They see the classical form as a living, breathing tradition, believing that ancient art forms can serve a modern consciousness and a twenty-first-century society. Ragamala has toured extensively nationally, including the American Dance Festival and the Kennedy Center, and internationally, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India.

“Soulful, imaginative and rhythmically contagious.” —The New York Times