Ragamala honored with 2008 Joyce Award
March 22, 2008 

The Joyce Foundation supports Midwest cultural institutions to commission works by artists of color. The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation has long provided major funding to Chicago-area cultural institutions, and the establishment of the Joyce Awards marked the expansion of its culture grant-making to other Midwest cities. A recipient of the 5TH ANNUAL JOYCE AWARDS for 2008, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater in Minneapolis, MN, gets a grant to support the commission of a new collaborative dance work by master Balinese choreographer, dancer, composer and musician I Dewa Putu Berata.

The Joyce Awards grants are made directly to arts organizations and are awarded in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. This year's competition drew 30 entries from around the region. Projects were reviewed by independent arts advisors from outside the Midwest and voted on by the Foundation's board in December 2007. Each award supports the work of the individual artist as well as significant community engagement efforts.

Founded in 1992, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater (Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, Artistic Directors) performs Bharatanatyam, while incorporating contemporary themes and diverse influences from around the world. Ragamala has produced over 20 new works and has collaborated with US and international artists of diverse backgrounds, including Chinese pipa virtuoso Gao Hong, New Delhi-based sitarist Shubhendra Rao, Milwaukee's African dance troupe Ko-Thi Dance, Chicago based jazz musician Howard Levy, Taiko drumming group Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara (Nagano, Japan), Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), Western classical composer Ruth MacKenzie, and Bali-based artist I Dewa Putu Berata, an accomplished musician, composer, dancer, and visual artist. He is the founding director of Çudamani, a professional performance company comprised of thirty-one skillful musicians and dancers that perform a diverse repertoire of rare, classical Balinese traditional dance as well as highly creative instrumental works. Berata has twice been a fellow with UCLA's Center for Intercultural Performance's Asia Pacific Performance Exchange and is involved in collaborative works with esteemed artists from Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United States.

The Joyce Award will support Ragamala Music and Dance Theater to commission I Dewa Putu Berata to create and present a global collaboration with Berata's Çudamani ensemble. The piece entitled Dhvee (Duality) will be the second new work created jointly by the two companies. Dhvee will have its world premiere at the Bali Arts Festival in the capital city of Denpasar and in late 2009 or early 2010. Berata's Çudamani together with Ragamala will present the US premiere in the Twin Cities. Dhvee will also be featured in Ragamala's national touring schedule during its 2009/2010 season.