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Ragamala delves into dharma and karma with ‘Sthree’

The Minneapolis-based Ragamala Music and Dance Theater has created yet another production that introduces audiences to the kinetic poetry of Bharatanatyam via a contemporary adaptation of Hindu religion, philosophy and mythology.

“Sthree,” choreographed by founder Ranee Ramaswamy and her daughter and now co-director Aparna Ramaswamy, is based on a first-century Tamil epic from South India, “Shilappathikaram (The Anklet).” Set during the Sangam Period, a time in which arts and literature flourished, the work explores the push-pull that exists between the principles of karma and dharma, the basis of the Hindu belief system.

Dr. L. Subramaniam, reportedly one of India’s finest classical violinists, composed the score, which Ragamala commissioned with funding from the American Composer’s Forum. Vocalist Prema Ramamurthy provides aural texture to the performance. Twin Cities actor and director Zaraawar Mistry directs and narrates “Sthree.”

Expect a dazzling concert that displays the troupe’s visual, aural and kinesthetic poetry, while confirming Bharatanatyam’s (an ancient temple dance) ability to retain, even in the 21st century, its essential form.

“Sthree.” April 30 to May 3; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Sunday. Tickets $29; Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis. 612-340-1725. Gala Performance at the Southern and dinner at the Weisman Art Museum on Saturday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m. $80-$85.

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