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Multimedia Works





Multimedia Works

Compositions are aranged alphabetically by title. Click the colored titles to read reviews.

Four Dream Sequences from Carl Jung's Dream Symbolism
Electroacoustic score, 16mm film, dance • 18 min.
Commissioned through the Northwest Area Foundation (1985)
Performances include: Canadian Festival of Modern Dance, Winnipeg; Music Interalia, Winnipeg; Minnesota Dance Theater; International Electronic Music Festival; Portland Art Museum

...out of the looking glass
Slides of 40 contemporary drawings and paintings from Alice in Wonderland
Electroacoustic score, visuals • 16 min.

Subash is a well-known South Indian drummer
Electroacoustic score with processed live clay pot drum • 7 min.

The Cry of Thoth
A Video Music Drama
Electroacoustic score, soprano solo, 10 video monitor computer animation • 24 min.
Commissioned and premiered by the Composers Theater, Minneapolis (1988)

Ten Incarnations
Settings of Hindu Mythology
Electroacoustic score, South Indian dance, video animation • 24 min.
Commissioned by Ragamala Dance Theater
Premiere: Extended Play Dance Festival (1994)

Praise for Fusions:

Witty mix of media enjoyable

Minneapolis composer Jan Gilbert has a balm for the bruised spirit in her Four Dream Sequences for two dancers, digital video film and synthesized sounds. Choreographed by Desiree Kleeman and Fiona Drinnan, and danced by Kleeman with Karen Kuzak, this involving tribute to Jung's dream symbolism is almost Chaplinesque.

Danced with an iron, ironing board and blender, over the drone of ring-modulated sine waves, the second sequence ballet mechanique reminded of Chaplin's ingenious a capella silent ONE A.M., while the third, with its pulsating sequencer had the dancers rhythmically manipulating hula hoops in front of an infrared visual spectrum.

-James Manishen, Winnipeg Free Press

Praise for Ten Incarnations:

Ranee Ramaswamy has been an aggressive and articulate advocate in Minnesota for the 2,000-year-old southern Indian dance form Bharatanatyam, and those of us who have watched her over the past decade have learned a great deal about this subtly expressive, surprisingly energetic dance.

For all her dedication to it, Ramaswamy has never presented it in the hushed tones of the museum. Though it's been heavily codified over the centuries (there's a strict vocabulary of 28 single-handed and 24 double-handed gestures, for instance), Ramaswamy has never looked on it as anything less than a living form.

Perhaps it's not surprisingly then that aspects of contemporary America would eventually filter into her work... Her latest performance Ten Incarnations, now on at the Hennepin Center for the Arts as part of the Minnesota Dance Alliance-Walker Art Center "Extended Play" series, is rooted in tradition and tells an ancient story. Yet Ramaswamy, so secure is she in the Bharatanatyam technique, has been totally unafraid to take it into untraditional territory.

Ten Incarnations is basically a dance presentation of the ten avatars of Vishnu, the Hindu god whose role it is to bring balance to the world. Every time evil begins to dominate, Vishnu descends to Earth in animal or human form to bring back the balance.

These splendidly imaginitive incarnations allow for provocative, creatively expressive and often witty dance interpretations. Ramaswamy keeps the core vocabulary of the dance - the subtle balances; the sharply punctuated rhythms; the fluid fingers, hands and wrists; the dramatic facial expressions; the stretched-out lines - and wraps them in an untraditional package.

The lively, propulsive "electroacoustic" music by Jan Gilbert combines electronic sounds, vocalizations and amplified traditional instruments. It perfectly captures the flavor of the dance and the spirit of storytelling.

Bharatanatyam usually is danced to vocal music, the movement illustrating and deepening the words. With the exception of some helpful narration filtered through the work, this is mostly an instrumental piece, and Ramaswamy has had to use the dance not just to illustrate but to essentialize her subject, and she does that spiritedly.

Fleshing out the story are rear-projected animations by Arch Leean that also include videotapes of dancers mixed into the process, often abstracted in a backdrop that decorates the stage and adds context to the proceedings. It all adds up to a fluid, powerful and surprising piece.

-Mike Steele, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Praise for The Cry of Thoth:

Most ambitious of the pieces was The Cry of Thoth, using electronic music and computer animation to recreate an ancient myth from the Egyptian Book of Gates. Computer graphics on 12 moving monitors provided visual images of the gods and their actions, while electronic music, combined with live and pre-recorded vocals, created an emotional and musical signature. The work is a stimulating collage of color, light and sound...

-Jeanyne Bezoier Slettom, Ear Magazine

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