Performance tells story of immigration


Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 12.10.13 PMPortland’s Jayanthi Raman Dance Company is currently touring around Oregon with its show, “Duality: An Immigrant Experience.” The tour includes upcoming shows in Baker City and La Grande.

“Duality” follows the story of a woman who moves from her hometown in India to Portland.

Choreographer Jayanthi Raman wrote the script based on a story by author Sasikala Vijayakumar.

Ultimately a celebration of immigrant life in the United States, “Duality” depicts the hardships and challenges of immigration. The main character is able to overcome those hardships with the support of her friends in her new home.

Many of the performers in the show can relate to the story of “Duality,” having moved from India to make a new home in Portland. Some are second-
generation dancers who continue the tradition of dancing to preserve their heritage and cultural roots.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 12.10.19 PMThe messages of hope and home are conveyed through the classical Bharatha Natyam style, which originated in the second century in India and has been handed down through generations of practitioners and teachers as an oral tradition. There are few books on the dance saved from ancient palm leaf manuscripts.

In addition to the symbolism of the dances, a running narration will be provided in English by Jayanthi Raman, who leads the dance company.

Raman is a performer and choreographer who boasts a contemporary approach to traditional dances, according to her dance company’s website.

The cricially acclaimed artist creates a “unique language that expresses her personal Indo-American identity,” the website reads.

Although her dance career has spanned three decades, Raman has a medical degree in Internal Medicine and a master’s degree in Computer Science and Informatics. She often marries her love of arts and sciences in her productions.

The hour-long, family-friendly performance has a 15-minute intermission.

The Baker City performance begins at 6:30 p.m. April 7 at the Baker High School auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The cost is $3 for Crossroads members, $5 for non-members, $8 for a family of Crossroads members and $10 for a family of non-members.

The Baker performance is supported by the Oregon Community Foundation, the StarSeed Foundation and RASIKA Dance Group.

The La Grande performance will begin at 2 p.m. April 8 at McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall, Eastern Oregon University. Doors  open at 1:30 p.m., and admission is free.

The venue is wheelchair accessible. The La Grande show is presented by Trio Student Support Services, the EOU Diversity Committee and RASIKA Dance Group.

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