NCDA Dance Swap

Join us!  Dance Swap:  the Raleigh/Charlotte Edition

* * * April 3, 2016  at Arts Together, Raleigh NC * * *

Master Classes + a Showing of Works by:

 * Ramya S. Kapadia, 2015 NCDA Choreography Fellow

 * Eric Mullis

 * Audrey Baran

 * Tara Zaffuto Mullins

 * Sarah Council, 2016 NCDA/NCDF New Works Award Artist (Showing only)


$12 member/$15 non-member /per class.  On-site Registration only.


Free for class participants, $5 for general audience



DSC_5740_Ramya_webRamya Kapadia (née Sundaresan), 2015 NCDA Choreography Fellow, was initiated into Bharatanatyam by Smt. Shantha Gopinath from Kalakshetra at the age of 12. Since 2003, she has been studying under Guru Kripa Baskaran of the Natyarpana Dance Company, Milwaukee, USA. And tours all over the USA as part of Natyarpana’s Performing Troupe to present solo and group productions, workshops and lecture demonstrations in universities and high schools.

Besides being a Bharatanatyam dancer, Ramya is also an accomplished vocalist in her own right. She was initiated into Carnatic music at the age of 3 by her mother, Smt. Gayathri Sundaresan, and later received advanced training from Sri V. Vamanan in Mumbai.

During her undergraduate years in Mumbai, Ramya was a lead singer in a number of world music bands, singing both Indian classical and Western styles with equal flair. She has several commercial jingles and classical concerts to her credit. She has lent her voice to commercial movies such as “Kaho na Pyaar Hai”, “Love in Times Square” and the Tamil-Telugu bilingual film “180”.

Ramya has scored the music for the dance productions Abhijnyāna Shākuntalam, Ponnolir Bhāratam & Chandālikā directed by Dr. Jayashree Rajagopalan and has toured all over India with her troupe for over ten years. She leads the orchestral team for the Natyarpana Dance Company and also scores music for its productions. Ramya was an instructor for Indian Classical Music in the Division of Continuing Studies, UW-Madison and has been actively involved in promoting Indian Classical music and dance in the United States. She is a much sought-after vocalist and has toured all over the world to provide vocal accompaniment to  Bharatanatyam dance performances.

Ramya has had five years of theater experience and has been featured in The Secret Garden, a University Theater musical, Bhopal and Madison Repertory Theater’s Our Town. She recently wrote, directed and choreographed “Sitayana”, Aum Sadgurubhyo Namaha”, “I am Spanda”  and “Krishnakarnaamritam”, all Bharatanatyam dance theater productions that have played successfully in several venues through the US. She was was free-lance journalist for the Capital City Hues and was on the editorial board for two years.

Currently, she runs the Natyarpana School of Dance and Music in Durham, NC and trains students both in Carnatic voice and Bharatanatyam. The students are given intensive training in dance and music theory and performance techniques. She recently formed the Spand Dance Company along with Smt. Hasita Oza (Kathak) in order to explore modern dance, yoga and various Indian Classical dance forms. Ramya works closely with the Duke Dance Department and the Durham Arts Council to foster a vibrant and creative cultural environment in the Triangle.


Sarah Council
Sarah Council (NCDA/NCDF New Works Award Artist 2016) is the artistic director of Sarah Council Dance Projects (SCDP). SCDP has performed and taught extensively though out New York City and the east coast region. SCDP has been presented at NYC venues such as The Green Building, The 92nd St. Y, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The Flea Theater, The Secret Theater, The LABA Theater, The Riverside Theatre, Green Space, Triskelion Arts, Topaz Arts among others and also at Dance Place (DC), The Jack Guidone Theater (DC), Franklin Marshall University (PA),Glema Mahr Center for the Arts (KY) and Jacksonville Episcopal School (FL). SCDP has received support from the Queens Council on the Arts, The Puffin Foundation and The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  Photo credit: Sarah Seehafer



Audrey BaranAudrey Baran is the founder and director of Baran Dance, a Charlotte based contemporary company. She earned a BA in Dance from the UNC Charlotte in 2003 and is enrolled in the MFA in Dance program at Hollins University. Audrey has danced with Martha Connerton/Kinetic Works, Queen City Jazz Company, Kim Robards Dance, project incite, EE Motion, Kim Jones, Jennifer Archibald, and Moving Poets Charlotte. She teaches at Open Door Studios, Charlotte Ballet Academy, and UNCC. Audrey Baran is also a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and thrives on sharing her love of movement and mindfulness throughout the Queen City.  Photo credit: Drea Atkins



Eric Mullis has studied with Jesse Zarritt and Ishmael-Houston Jones, gaga technique in Tel-Aviv, Tai chi and Chinese martial arts in the United States, Beijing and Taiwan, and is currently enrolled in the Dance MFA program at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  He regularly accompanies dance classes at American Dance Festival and at the Charlotte Ballet and is a Professor of Philosophy at Queens University of Charlotte. He has published essays on dance performance in Dance Research Journal, Contemporary Aesthetics, and the International Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media.  []



Tara for webTara Zaffuto Mullins is the Assistant Director of the NC State University Dance Program, where she directs the Panoramic Dance Project and choreographs and teaches for both NC State dance companies. Recently, she was nominated for the NC State Chancellor’s Creating Community Award. For years she directed her own Z Mullins Dance Company and has taught at UVA, Henrico Center for the Arts, Arizona State University and The Academy of Arts and Minds in Miami. She is currently working on a dance film, In this Place I Stand with documentary filmmaker Doug Kass, costumed by Justin LeBlanc. Tara has a B.A. in dance from JMU and an M.F.A. in Dance from Arizona State University.



10-11:20am: Class Block 1
Contemporary Modern Dance ~ Audrey Baran
a point. a line ~ Eric Mullis
11:30am-12:50pm: Class Block 2
Dance Conditioning ~ Tara Mullins
Bharatanatyam ~ Ramya Kapadia
1-3pm: Showing



Bharatanatyam with Ramya Kapadia: is a 3000 year old dance form from South India. The form combines ancient mythology, yoga practices and temple iconography with rhythm and melody, making it an aesthetic and holistic visual art form. The class will cover a series of warm up stretches that borrows from yoga traditions, basic footwork, hand gestures and facial expressions. Time permitting, the students will also learn a small choreographed piece using the hand gestures and footwork they’ve studied in class.  Clothing: Loose fitting, sleeved shirt or kurta/tunic with pyjama/leggings/slacks. Dupatta/stole to tie around waist. Hair must be pulled back into a ponytail/headband. No socks or shoes will be worn while dancing.  Snack/Water: Bring along some snacks and water to consume during breaks.   Handouts: Handouts with the taught material will be provided. Bring a pencil/pen/eraser to make additional notes.

Contemporary Modern Dance  with Audrey Baran: This class blends contemporary movement with classic modern technique, focusing on both fluidity and precision. Dancers will be challenged physically while finding personal expression. Improvisation and phrase work will be incorporated to create a cohesive, yet individual, movement experience.

a point. a line with Eric Mullis:  This class draws on Rudolf von Laban and William Forsythe’s work with embodied geometry and advances a rigorous approach to dance improvisation.  We will experiment with several structured improvisations that can be used to generate choreography and, more generally, that encourages us to push the edges of our movement habits.  All levels are welcome.

Dance Conditioning with Tara Mullins:  Dance Conditioning will begin with body awareness and imagery exercises and continue with rigorous conditioning that focuses on core strength, efficiency in alignment and integration of imagery. Class will conclude with gentle stretching, relaxation and constructive rest.




“Ganesha – Remover of Obstacles” (Ramya Kapadia) explores the various manifestations of the Elephant God, Ganesha through the Bharatanatyam genre. Bharatanatyam is a 3000 year old classical dance form of South India that draws from temple iconography and ancient mythology. Carnatic music (classical music from South India) accompanies Bhararatnatyam.

In this piece, Ramya depicts Ganesha as having an elephant’s head with large ears, small eyes and a large round belly, holding a goad, a noose, a broken tusk and a bowl of sweets in his four hands. While this depiction is largely rooted in Hindu philosophy and myth, the symbolism of this form is highly contemporary and relevant to the journey of one’s life in the quest for single-mindedness, knowledge, unity and ultimately peace.

The composition, “Sri Mahaganapatiravatumam”, is in a 7/8 meter. Through the NCDA fellowship, Ramya has worked with renowned Carnatic violinist, Embar Kannan to create an introductory passage that will lead into the main song. Together with Kasi Aysola, a young choreographer in DC, she has composed cross-rhythmic patterns to overlay on the introductory passage as well as on the main song. The entire song has been recorded in Ramya’s voice at Coral Studios, Durham and all the instruments have been recorded at Resound India, Chennai, India. Ramya is indebted to research scholar Gayathri Sundaresan, with whose help she has gained a deep understanding of the Bharatanatyam genre, the traditions that it originated from and its cultural and social contexts in today’s world. She also thanks Anuj Kapadia (Engineer at Coral Studios), Sai Shravanam (Engineerat Resound India) and the NCDA for their support in creating this work.

“Dislocate” (Sarah Council) is centered on themes of loss, perception and paradigm shifts.   Inspired by the experiences of international refugee families relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, Dislocate, is a physical inquiry into stories of courage, expectation, disappointment and sacrifice. In this thought provoking work, dancers will navigate physical and emotional spaces; searching out moments of synchronicity, balance and connection in a shifting, off kilter environment.

It’s All Fonda and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt” (Audrey Baran) is a satirical examination of the instinctual human desire to be the best, and then some. Why settle for bigger-faster-stronger when one can be obsessive, vindictive, and self-destructive? Cross that finish line, but you may never go back.

“Later Rain” (Eric Mullis) is investigating ecstatic movement, how it affects and situates viewers, and the manner in which it has been represented onstage by dance artists.  We are researching the history of the Pentecostal movement in the United States, aspects Appalachian culture, aspects of dance history (for example, the work of Mary Wigman and Tatsumi Hijikata), and the desire for authentic embodied experience.   The piece is site-adaptive and previous drafts have been presented at Charlotte-area music venues and at the [Re]-Happening in Black Mountain, North Carolina. 
Performers:  Matt Cosper, Kadeylynn Ballard, Eric Mullis.




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