|Born||1981/1982 (age 32–33)
Bronx, New York
|Current group||New York City Ballet|
Amar Ramasar (born 1981/1982, in The Bronx) is a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet. In 2010, Dance Magazine reported that Ramasar was one of the few Asian American professional ballet dancers. He took his first dance lessons at the Henry Street Settlement House, to which commuted by subway from his home in the South Bronx to the Lower East Side almost daily.
Education and early career
Ramasar got his performing start at TADA! Youth Theater. The Artistic and Executive Director of TADA!, Janine Nina Trevens, directed him in his first musicals, Prop Shop and Sleepover. His first dance lesson at the Henry Street Settlement House's Abrons Arts Center in 1993. He commuted by subway from his home in the South Bronx to the Lower East Side almost daily to go to dance lessons, starting at age 10. As a "low-income youth," this one of the few opportuntities he had "to achieve [his] artistic dreams...."
Ramasar joined the New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 2000, and joined the corps de ballet in 2001. He became a soloist in March 2006, and was promoted to a principal in October 2009. Ramasar's promotion was noted by a critic as good thing, because "change at NYCB is itself a gift, for as younger dancers take over cherished roles, these wonderful ballets can look new all over again."
Ramasar is one of the few Asian American professional ballet dancers nowadays. As of 2010, he is the only person of color who is a principal in that prestigious company. He was quoted as saying:
I actually looked at my race as an advantage because there was no one who looked like me. In New York City Ballet especially, I felt my casting has always been great. The biggest one for me was Fancy Free because, if you think of the history of that ballet, it’s not necessarily the case that in the 1940s an Indian guy was one of the sailors fighting for America. But they let me do that here, and I thought, "I’m breaking boundaries that people automatically put up for a stereotypical white ballet."
Ramasar appeared in NY Export: Opus Jazz, a 2010 film about that ballet.
His first featured review in the New York Times was in 2003:
A revelation came from the young Amar Ramasar, who has taken over Jock Soto's original role opposite Janie Taylor in The Infernal Machine, the convoluted acrobatic duet created by Peter Martins for the Diamond Project last spring. ... This time, there was a fresh emotional current with a dextrous partner who added a tinge of vulnerability. It was an outstanding performance from both dancers in first-class choreography that suddenly acquired the aura of an existential void. ... [A] woman's collapsible body is manipulated into wraparound positions by the man. ... Head thrown back, Ms. Taylor now evokes more angst than spunk and Mr. Ramasar, unlike Mr. Soto, is fleetingly fearful in a retreat. He stands over his partner at the end, but she has worn him out.—Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times
In 2005, the New York Times gave a rave review for Ramasar in a feature article:
Gifted dancers tend to grow up in public. That is true of Amar Ramasar, who has taken on a surprising range of roles for a corps dancer. He is never less than fully engaged in performance, and his joy in dancing is infectious, though it sometimes takes him over the top of his assignment.
Ramasar is extremely promising, both forceful and softly muscular (he'll be better when he views "modern" moves in the context of classicism and stops lifting his shoulders and dropping his head).—Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice
Ballet.co.uk, a British online magazine, raved in 2008 about Ramasar, even while trashing a new dance in which he performed.
During the 2010 season Ramasar has gotten rave reviews. The Saratogian called Ramasar "hard-working" for his roles in Fancy Free and Who Cares? at the New York City Ballet summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Their critic had "the pleasure of watching Joaquín De Luz, Tyler Angle, and Amar Ramasar dance together, truly convincing as three good sailor buddies." Ramasar's performance in Fancy Free was "enthralling its audience with Red Angels," an Albany Times Union blogger noted; "The intense color proved a dramatic backdrop to the power and strength of its four dancers: Maria Kowroski, Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle and Amar Ramasar." The official review from the Times Union wrote that Fancy Free, "Played with ample swagger by Tyler Angle, Joaquín De Luz and Amar Ramasar ... set the bravura tone for the entire night." In May 2010, TheArtsDesk.com noted that "the spectacularly bare-chested Amar Ramasar" had sex appeal.
- John Rockwell, "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; In the Complex World of Ballet, It's Youth That Soars," The New York Times, January 18, 2006, p. E1. Found at New York Times archives. Accessed January 14, 2010. "Amar Ramasar, 24"
- Connor, Tracy (July 6, 2007). "He can't dance out of this". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 28, 2011. "Amar Ramasar, 25"
- "New York City Ballet Announces Six Promotions," October 27, 2009. Found at Press release at the New York City Ballet website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Artistic personnel profile of Amar Ramasar at the New York City Ballet website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Ann Farmer, Rosalynde LeBlanc, and Steven Sucato, "Other voices: dancers, choreographers and teachers speak frankly about their experiences regarding race and dance," Dance Magazine, June, 2005. Found at Dance Magazine website and Bnet Find Articles website. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- "Each pair performed, with total commitment and physical daring — especially in the dancing of Amar Ramasar whose family originally hails from India ...." Rachel Straus, "New York City Ballet: Passages: ‘Oltremare’, ‘Valse Triste’, ‘An American in Paris’, ‘Russian Seasons’", Ballet.co Magazine, January 2008. Found at Ballet.co Magazine website. Accessed July 14, 2010.
- "Amar Ramasar: Dancing the Dream," July 7, 2008, found at the Henry Street Settlement website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- "New York City Ballet Promotes Nine Dancers," March 8, 2006. Found at New York City Ballet website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Jay Rogoff, "'Midsummer Night's Dream' among highlights during New York City Ballet season at SPAC July 6–17," The Saratogian, July 2, 2010. Found at The Saratogian website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Ballet Talk discussion group. Last accessed July 14, 2010.
- Amy Nathan, Meet the Dancers: From Ballet, Broadway, and Beyond ("From ballerinas to Broadway show-stoppers, these dancers were kids once, too!') (Henry Holt, 2008). ISBN 9780805080711. Found at Amy Nathan books website and Google Books. Both accessed July 13, 2010.
- Anna Kisselgoff, "DANCE REVIEW; For Debuts, A Charge Of Emotion," New York Times, January 17, 2003. Found at New York Times archives online. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- Jennifer Dunning, "At City Ballet, Some Especially Catch the Eye; Amar Ramasar," New York Times, December 30, 2005. Found at New York Times archives online. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Deborah Jowitt, "Dance", Village Voice, January 3, 2006. Found at Village Voice website. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- "25 To Watch". Dance Magazine. January 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- Lynn Garafola, "New York City Ballet," Dance Spirit, September 2007. Found at Britannica Bp website. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- "Review: New York City Ballet's sterling 'Source' springs with joy at SPAC," Saratogian, July 12, 2010. Found at Saratogian website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Christen Gowan, as reviewed by Lisa Stevens, Saratoga Seen blog, "New York City Ballet has hot opening at SPAC," Albany Times Union, July 7, 2010. (Caption to photo of Ramasar and two other dancers: "Hey there, sailor! Members of the NYCB perform 'Fancy Free.'" (by Michael Farrell/Times Union)) Found at Blogs at the Albany Times Union website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Joseph Dalton, "City Ballet launches summer season with grace, brilliance," Times Union, July 8, 2010. Found at Albany Times Union website. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Roslyn Sulcas, "Wayne McGregor & Alexei Ratmansky premieres, New York City Ballet," TheArtsDesk.com, 16 May 2010. ("Perfectly suited to the Balanchine heritage: Wayne McGregor's NYCB debut piece 'Outlier' with Amar Ramasar, Maria Kowroski and Craig Hall." Photograph by Paul Kolnik/NYCB.) Found at TheArtsDesk.com. Accessed July 13, 2010.
- Amar Ramasar at the Internet Movie Database
- Fan Club at FaceBook
- Dance Listings at the New York Times
- Movie & TV Listings at the New York Times
- Photographs of Ramasar at Getty Images
- "Photo: Children explore the world of ballet", July 8, 2010, at Saratogian website