TRADITIONAL TO THE CONTEMPORARY
Jayanthi Raman is a dancer, choreographer and master artist who has a critically acclaimed and an extensive and impressive career spanning three decades. Using the Indian classical dance form Bharatha Natyam as the starting point for her exploration, she creates thought provoking work. Her contemporary approach to classicism is provocative in our cultural environment. She worked hard to perform in proscenium theaters, become an educator of repute, and finally a cultural ambassador; creating a prominent and vital position for Bharatha Natyam and for herself in the world of dance. Her work sets her apart as a renowned and respected scholar of the art form.
Raman blazes the dance scene with her virtuoso performances and award winning choreography. The artist lends herself graciously to the physical representation of music through the visual dynamic medium of traditional and contemporary Indian dance. Using the Indian dance form as the starting point for her exploration, she creates thought provoking work; including her recent critically acclaimed dance with MacArthur genius fellow NY based drummer Dafnis Prieto, reviewed as ‘fearless in her experimentation’ by the Oregon Arts Watch.
Raman’s work as a choreographer is grounded in the centuries old classical dance form, yet draws inspiration from newer concepts and themes as well as using modern lighting and technology. Her choreography based in ancient Indian traditions, has been lauded for its deep-rooted classicism as well as for its aesthetic experimentation and willingness to cross boundaries. Her enthusiasm to take risks and explore unpredictable and complex movements has established her as an exciting and groundbreaking choreographer. She has choreographed 25 full length evening works and numerous solo and group pieces.
Raman has created a unique language that expresses her personal Indo-American identity. Raman has become a recognized persona in the US, called as a “cultural treasure” (Oregonian) and as a “world class dancer” and “scholar of dances” (DANCE Magazine). She is reputed as a scholar by the critics and her peers and as the ‘Gold standard of Indian dance in the region’. As a performer and choreographer, she is well known for her precise footwork and her eloquent abhinaya -expressive dance. She has performed numerous solo and thematic performances at reputed dance festivals and performing art centers in US and internationally with critical acclaim.
Unlike artists performing Indian classical dance in larger cities nurtured by the large immigrant Indian population; the struggles faced by the pioneers of this art in the smaller cities like Portland, was immense and longer. Raman struggled to find a niche for her art form and her artistry. The ancient relatively unknown art found a strong foothold in the world of dance due to her tireless efforts.
Raman is a powerful performer and choreographer with the ability to reach to global audiences. Her dance company has performed at prestigious venues like the Symphony Space- New York, Flynn Performing Art Center- Vermont, Lied-Nebraska, Rialto Theater- Atlanta, Wortham Performing Art Center – Houston, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Newmark Theater at the Portland Performing Art Center, Meany Hall- Seattle, (UW World Series) Listner Auditorium- Washington DC etc. In many cities like Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho- Pullman, Sun Valley etc., the audiences were seeing Indian classical dance for the ﬁrst time!
Her collaborative works with legends from India: Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, Veena players- Geetha Bennett, Jayanthi Kumaresh, Rajesh Vaidhya and Mandolin Maestro U Rajesh as well as with dancers from Orissa Dance Academy, Manipuri Nartanalaya, Gurukul Chau Sangam, and from Chennai speak her intercultural and cross cultural works.
With an MD in Internal Medicine and Master’s degree in Computer Science and Informatics, Raman pursues dancing full time passionately. She enjoys the merger of arts and sciences in her productions.
To ﬁnd recognition in the world of dance is difficult for a choreographer in any genre, and this is especially true for this remarkable choreographer and performer who has proven her merit over the years.