TRADITIONAL TO THE CONTEMPORARY
Select Reviews: Choreographer – Performer:
“The strongest piece …. choreographed and danced by Raman, explored classical and folk elements as it told the story of Lord Krishna, in the three ages of his life. The piece was gentle and lilting, evocatively communicative, and Raman’s exposition before the piece provided a helpful narrative guide, allowing greater accessibility into what is for many in the audience, likely an unfamiliar tale.” Eugene Weekly October 2015
“Some of India’s oldest folk tales are turned into a dance show full of mysticism, colorful costumes and English quips from local choreographer Jayanthi Raman…….known for bringing classics to life by adding experimental choreography. This show mixes dance, music and theatre to tell three of the most well-known fables from the 2,500-year-old Panchatantra. It’s like history class, except you can stay awake.” Willamette Week 2015
MAYA: Illusion 2014
“Jayanthi Raman, richly, colorfully dressed in pleated, jeweled silk, starts her solo from a squatting position, knees turned out to the side, bare feet arched as elegantly as a bas relief of an ancient temple dancer’s. Slowly, as the music starts, she rises and begins to perform the hand gestures, foot stamps, and shifting facial expressions that are the hallmarks of the South Indian classical dance form known as Bharata Natyam. ……. She is fearless, as is Raman in her experimentation with a highly codified form of dance… Raman’s dance, … becomes an expression of her own power as a human, 21st century Indo-American woman.” Martha Ullman West, Oregon Arts Watch 2014
“….the exquisite dancer/choreographer Jayanthi Raman, who will be familiar to patrons of the Northwest Folklife Festival, where she has performed many times…..” Paul De Barros, Seattle Times August 2014
GURUBYO NAMAHA 2013
I was there …and I thought it was spectacular, loved it. I thought Ramya danced beautifully, but lady, nobody can touch you! ………….after all you’ve been doing this for much longer, but the nuances of your dancing, the finesse…lovely, truly. Martha Ullman West, Oregon Arts Watch 2013
Portland-based choreographer Jayanthi Raman has a record of melding the classical South Indian dance form of Bharatha Natyam with contemporary influences…….” Aaron Spencer, Willamette Week 2013
“……unforgettable night of visual splendor and insight into the history of classical Indian dance..” Oregonian 2012
“Dr. Raman is a scholar of the folklore, mythology, religion and history of dance of India, and she brings her knowledge to each production.” Courier 2012
“Dr. Jayanthi Raman, the women behind Shrishti: Creation…. Not only is she a physician with a master’s degree in computer informatics, she also …. happens to be our region’s best choreographers and performers of traditional East Indian dance…” Tiffany Harms, Inlander, WA 2010.
“As Director of the Asian Studies program, I just wanted to say that we found your performance captivating in many ways. First, the artistry, singing, and staging was superb. I, like many in the audience, were introduced to a new world of Indian dance. Your newest production allows both old hands and young students to stretch our imaginations beyond Bollywood productions. Second, your work is a rich cultural resource that should be shared far beyond the Pacific Northwest. Many universities and communities across America would treasure the opportunity to host your production. Your work presents both its style and content in a way that I believe any audience will benefit from its rich cultural heritage. Thank you again for visiting Central Washington University.” James A. Cook, Ph.D.; Associate Professor; Department of History; Central Washington University.
“Indian dancers inspire, soothe Central students. Jayanthi Raman’s “Shrishti: Creation” draws full house.” The Observer 2010
“From start to finish, Shrishti was invigorating, thought provoking and truly mesmerizing…” Staff Writer, Chicago Times 2010
“The Jayanthi Raman Dance Company thoroughly impressed and charmed our audience with the performance of Shrishti. Authentic, spiritual, colorful, educational- everyone left enriched and uplifted. The Company’s performance for 1,000 school children was both educational and impactful. The sound of 1,000 children saying ‘Namaste’ touched my soul.” – Cindy Barnhart, Executive Director, Festival Dance and Performing Arts, ID.
DANCE LEC DEM 2009
“Local Bharatha Natyam dance maven Jayanthi Raman offers a peek at and primer on classical Indian dance ….. Raman, who’s been crafting and performing modern takes on the centuries-old South Asian dance form for nearly two decades, is an energetic and mesmerizing performer……” Kelly Clark Willamette Week, July 2009
KRISHNA BHAKTI 2006
“Raman is an exquisite interpreter of the ancient Indian temple dance…” The Oregonian 2006
“Raman ignites the form with a singular focus, making the dance as riveting today as it was 2,000 years back in the day…” Willamette Week 2006
US National Tour Press Reviews
“Raman is a performer of extraordinary skill and power…” DANCE Magazine 2004
“As bare feet stamp and ankle bells ring, silken clad gods and goddesses transport us to the mythic world of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god with a man’s body and an elephant’s head. With every wrist flick, finger quake and ankle quiver the dancers moved with precision, radiating an inner joy. Vibrant costumes of gold, burgundy, and magenta shimmered before projections of mountains, trees, stars and fire. ….. The performers project warmth and pleasure and their rhythmic movements draw the audience onto the stage as if we’re dancing with them.” The Oregonian
“Director and troupe use dance, world music to tell their story.
There is nothing so nice as seeing dance on the spacious and lively Lied Center main stage. Unless, that is, the dance is accompanied by live music. If it’s world music and the crowd is in such a mood, all the better. So was the case Wednesday night, when artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer Jayanthi Raman presented “Gajamukha, TempleDance Ballet of India.”
The multitalented director, who is based in Portland, Ore., researched the mythology of the protector of the universe and used an original score,….. and chanted vedas — the ancient scriptural chants from south India’s temple. Raman twists the dance-theater convention again by combining the fluid moves of Mohini Attam .., Kuchipudi dance .. and the more familiar Bharatha Natyam foot-slapping, out of Tamil Nadu. Something’s cooking in the Pacific Northwest, however. The ubercool region that gave us Mark Morris‘ inventive take on ethnic dance has incubated another folk-grounded modernist.
Respectful throughout in its intent, the storytelling transcends ritual into fantastic proportion through the magic of projected images of nature; ruby, emerald and curry-colored costumes, which are gilded and intricately pleated; and the skilled gestures of the artists on stage. The musicians, elevated and onstage throughout, were really jamming. Their soaring flutes and drums, vocal trickery and sighing sitar were thrilling.” Amy Lamphere, Lincoln Journal Star 2004
“The production, led by Dr Jayanthi Raman comprised of a 12 member cast…A musical ballet .. presented on a platform that is both mainstream and artistic, to an audience that was a veritable mix of cultures, age groups and affinities, is just as globally riveting as it can get. The production took flight amidst applauding patrons and an ambience that was imbued with rich complexity of art in an alien ethos. This fusion of East and West was made more engaging because of the merits of the production itself. Added commentary in English.. made it even more easy to relate to. Spiritual yet sensuous, colorful and soulful the ballet adapted for common consumption… Panning all the nine rasas, the production led one from entertainment to enlightenment.
The troupe took the bow to a standing ovation. And in one stroke, Gajamukha transformed the precincts of an urban American high brow art facility to an amphitheatre that facilitated high art with utmost simplicity.” – Hindustan Times, 2004.
“The passion of Dr. Raman in presenting ‘Gajmukha’ was evident in all aspects of the theatrical attributes- grace, spirituality, sensuality, vibrant colors, shimmering costumes, stunning backdrops, precision, wonderful music and choice of episodes that controlled the dance patterns. In the mesmerizing last scene, the chaste, “Ganesha worship” (abhishekam), practiced in the inner sanctum of the South Indian temples was a great eye opener for those who are not familiar with this method of worship. The entire ballet was a joy to watch. While the performances of the Nandi and the mouse were captivating, the heart of the ballet is without doubt Dr. Raman who as Goddess Parvathi excels in all scenes. Jayanthi’s stellar dancing career spans over 25 years.” Gandhi Foundation, review 2004.
“Multi-Style ‘Gajamukha’ Enlivened by Vocal Color: “Choreographer” is too limited a term to describe what Jayanthi Raman, like others in Indian classical dance, does when she creates a work. Raman has.. flown off in a contemporary direction in the inclusion of many dance (and music) styles in one production. She incorporates folk dance … and classical dance genres. In doing this, she joins the community of contemporary Indian choreographers. Watching “Gajamukha” is akin to watching “Giselle” with some scenes in ballet, some done as jazz and some as modern dance” Washington Post 2004
“Indian dancers give one of year’s best shows
Don’t understand Sanskrit? Don’t know a thing about Hindu mythology or scripture? You still would have found much to enjoy in Gajamukha, a marvelous touring dance and music production that was presented by the Indian Foundation Saturday night… one of the best dance performances of the new season based on versatility, power and expressiveness of the six dancers and the first-rate musicianship of the accompanying quintet. .. Jayanthi Raman was the featured dancer, her choreography, staging and seamless meshing of Indian classical and folk dance forms that were most impressive in the two-act dance drama about the elephant-headed god Ganesha. The Portland, Ore.-based director and teacher created the production with a grant from the National Dance Project and cast it in Chennai, India.” Dayton Daily News
“Indian ballet translated to American audience
Nothing in “Gajamukha” should be lost in translation. The people behind the ballet have taken care to ensure this. Although the dance company brings Indian language, culture, dance and music to an America that may be unfamiliar with these elements, the programs and narration explain clearly what is going on throughout the show.” by John Wenz, Daily Nebraskan October 2004
“Engrossing production……. The stories were clear, thanks to narrated introductions in English and Raman’s deft choreography for seven virtuosic dancers…”- Houston Chronicle 2004
“Jayanthi Raman, has long been devoted to retaining the purity of the movement’s style and promoting knowledge of the Indian arts in Portland…..her most recent dance ballet depicts the mythologies and symbolism of that most felicitous and popular of Indian deities, Lord Ganesha….” The Oregonian 2004
KRISHNA BHAKTI 2003
“Jayanthi Raman is the rare dancer whose body can contain multiple intricate rhythms simultaneously — juxtaposing a slowly descending, ornately curved arm against a quick percussive burst of footwork, for instance, her feet accenting the sharp trill of an accompanying tabla. Raman has long distinguished herself as an eloquent soloist in her interpretations of the ancient Indian classical dance form Bharatha Natyam, deploying the style’s hundreds of codified gestures …with an easy expressiveness.” The Oregonian 2003.
“Dr. Jayanthi Raman danced the part of the adult Meera, a role that allowed her express profound emotion. In the dimming lights, the audience showed it’s appreciation with a heartfelt ovation…” Asian Reporter 2003.
“Raman’s percussive and precise movements and heady presence not only command notice but channel older visions—a sight worthy of delight and praise.” Willamette Week 2003
OM GANESHA 2000
“Jayanthi Raman, has long been devoted to retaining the purity of the movement’s style and promoting knowledge of the Indian arts in Portland………” Preview, The Oregonian 2000
VANDE MATARAM 1999
“The characteristics that make the Madras-trained Raman an extraordinary performer…….are precisely those that mark an extraordinary ballerina. Her feet slap crisply; her ankle bells sound cleanly on the beat. She places each gesture, every movement with precision. Through it all, Raman displays warmth, ease and pleasure…” – Cerinda Survant, The Oregonian 1998.
“In …… Bharatham, Raman’s movement and dramatic expression of the Bharatha Natyam form were both eloquent and technically precise.” Willamette Week, WW Pick.
SHIVA SHAKTI 1997
“Few dancers communicate effectively across the wide gulfs of cultural difference. Jayanthi Raman is one. Even a viewer conditioned by American culture can recognize what sets Raman’s dancing apart. Technique, expressiveness, acting ability, musicality – just as in a ballet. Raman is an elegantly musical dancer……… Watching improvisation of this caliber is an unalloyed pleasure.” Cerinda Survant, The Oregonian 1997
KRISHNA LEELA 1996
“Raman Sparkles in Dance of India – Jayanthi Raman is an artist of sparkling presence and crystalline technique. The minute her jingling ankle bells and stamping feet ring out and her silk-clad body, sinuous arms and dramatically mobile face appear, the audience knows it’s going to see a world-class dancer. Raman’s talents go beyond dancing, more than the star …She also choreographed, costumed and produced it.” – Martha Ullmann West, The Oregonian 1996.
“Indian precision shimmers in ‘Valli’..Raman is a dancer of precise, musical beauty–every gesture considered, ….. as elaborate and refined as an Indian miniature painting.. The mix of mime, narrative dancing, ritual dancing and musical interludes was so skillfully done that the audience was thoroughly engaged.” Martha Ullman West, The Oregonian 1995.
“Her feet strike the floor like thunder claps. Her face and form take the viewer through every possible emotion until the viewer and dancer are almost one” Kassandra Sterling, Portland DownTowner 1993.
“Raman is a scholar of Indian dancing. She is a gifted practitioner of this highly codified art form” The Oregonian 1992.
SOLO PERFORMANCE Portland 1990
“Classical Indian dancer enchants audience. Her hands, painted with bright red dye that made each finger stand out, were almost in constant motion, moving from one mudra to another, exquisite to watch.” Phil Hunt, The Oregonian, 1990.
Select Reviews: Teacher
Reviews of Dance school and students
“Natya began with a rising action that didn’t die down until the applause at the end of the grand finale… ” The QUEST, Reed College concert review 2005.
“Jayanthi Raman and her Natya Dance Academy provided a stunning weekend performance…..the enthusiastic participation of the young students gave the performance it’s energy and charm captivating the audience with their artistry… ” Phil Hunt, The Oregonian 1999.
“The fine-honed technique of Raman and her students will be unmistakable even to Western eyes.” Martha Ullman West, The Oregonian 1996.
“We are grateful for all of Jayanthi’s efforts to bring the beauty and artistry of India to our community and as a result breaking down cultural barriers among people.” Jayne Scott, Executive Director, Beaverton Arts Commission.
“As a dancer, teacher and choreographer of Indian dances in Portland for the past decade, she has done an excellent job of preserving the tradition while adapting to the needs of the present.” President, Portland India Cultural Association.
“We are more impressed than ever with your efforts to maintain the Bharatha Natyam art form and its traditions in this far corner from your original homeland. You added immeasurably to the cultural resources in Portland.” Phil Hunt, Critic, Arangetram of Raman’s student 1995