Conceived and choreographed by Ranee Ramaswamy and
Aparna Ramaswamy
Amir ElSaffar and Prema Ramamurthy, composers

Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance Company has been lauded for bringing "a visionary approach to an ancient art form" (Dance Magazine) in its stunning productions rooted in the South Indian Bharatanatyam classical dance form. Written in Water explores the cultural complexities of the modern world through the metaphor of the ancient Indian board game Snakes and Ladders, with a live music score performed by an ensemble of four musicians, including jazz trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, known for his distinctive fusion of contemporary jazz and Iraqi maqam.

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Related Events

Written in Water
Dec 1–3, 2017

Snakes and Ladders Workshop
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 5pm
Zellerbach Playhouse

Ragamala artists lead participants in playing the second-century Indian board game of Paramapadam (the precursor to Snakes and Ladders), which is a central inspiration for the company's Written in Water. This hands-on experience—along with accompanying discussion with the artists—invites audiences to explore the moral and psychological implications of the game, and provides a helpful introduction to the abstract, conceptual nature of Written in Water and the ways in which Ragamala creates complex, multidisciplinary, and culturally complex dance works.

$5. Advance registration required.


Public Forum
Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 1pm
Zellerbach Playhouse

Artists talk with Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy and Amir ElSaffar.

Free to ticket holders. Major support for public programs provided by Bank of America.


Berkeley RADICAL 2017/18 Transcending Borders
Watch to learn more about Cal Performances' groundbreaking and dynamic artistic programming philosophy.

'Written in Water' Trailer

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]

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