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Alarmel Valli returns: transcendent Bharatanatyam

On a hot summer night in 2007, the famed Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmel Valli performed to a packed audience in Minneapolis. It was a transportive experience.

Valli is the teacher of our own singular Bharatanatyam performers, Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala Dance Theaterwho have gently pushed the classical dance form in new directions by staging evening-length works with an entire company of dancers, often in collaboration with musicians and other artists.

Ragamala’s work is, without exception, gorgeous, poetic and revelatory. It would hardly seem possible that another performer could match the Ramaswamys’ intricate elegance as their bodies bring Indian poetry to kinetic life. And yet, while watching Valli, one experiences the transcendent. Here is a woman, performing solo, who is the embodiment of enlightenment through movement.

“An Evening of Classical Bharatanatyam,” Friday, 8 pm. The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. $10-$19. 651-690-6700.

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