Bringing Ancient Dance to Modern Audiences

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Bridging two thousand years of dance tradition, Indian dance artist Ramya Ramnarayan introduces the ancient form of Bharatnatyam dance to Newark area audiences in “Ancient Salutations: A Symposium on Classical Indian Dance,” Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 at the Newark Museum and Rutgers-Newark campus.

Ramya Ramnarayan will explain the historic and cultural background of India through the medium of dance in her workshop entitled “Traditional Dance of India” from noon to 1 p.m. in the Billy Johnson Auditorium at the Newark Museum.  Participants of the workshop will also be invited to view the museum’s extensive collection of Asian-Indian art following the workshop. At 7 p.m.  Ramnarayan and her dance troupe, the Nrithyanjali Institute of Dance, will present a concert featuring live musicians at the Bradley Hall Theater, 110 Warren St. on the Rutgers-Newark Campus. A reception in the theater lobby will follow the concert. All symposium events are free and open to the public.

Bharathanatyam is a classical dance style from Southern India having an unbroken tradition for over 2,000 years. Born in the South Indian Temples, it utilizes a vocabulary of classical steps to create complex rhythmic patterns, and through the language of gesture itconveys various themes, ideas, and concepts to the audience. Hailed as a master artist in Bharathanatyam,Ramnarayan has been widely recognized for her commitment, dedication, and achievement in the art of Indian Classical Dance. She is the Artistic Director of Nrithyanjali Institute of Dance, which presents numerous programs to promote and popularize Indian Dance at libraries, museums, and universities. The New York Times has called Ramya “a considerable virtuoso and a complex stylist.”

The dance symposium is mounted by The Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, an interdisciplinary academic center that offers the Newark metropolitan area the finest thinkers and artists engaged with key issues of modern life. Currently, the Institute hosts the only regular dance series on the Rutgers-Newark campus. Former dance programs have included Middle Eastern, Indian, African, Afro-Brazilian, North African, Flamenco, Cambodian, South African, Modern and Hip-Hop dance.

Ancient Salutations: A Symposium on Classical Indian Dance is presented by the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience and co-sponsored by The Newark Museum. The Symposium is supported in part by funds from: The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs; an ArtStart Project Grant from the Newark Arts Council; and by the Cultural Arts Programming Fund at Rutgers-Newark.

For more information, visit the Institute’s website at and the Newark Museum website at, or contact Marisa Pierson at 973-353-3896.