Ranee Ramaswamy

Updated
30 Nov 2016

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Ranee Ramaswamy. Photo by Ed Block.

Ranee Ramaswamy founded Ragamala Dance in 1993, and currently serves as co-artistic director with her daughter, Aparna Ramaswamy. A master teacher, performer, and choreographer of the South Indian classical form of bharata natyam, she has tirelessly worked for the last three decades to find a place for bharata natyam in the landscape of American dance. Since her first cross-cultural collaboration with poet Robert Bly, Ramaswamy's work has merged the classical language of bharata natyam with a contemporary Western aesthetic, to create timeless pieces that freely move between the past and the present. Her many awards and honors are 14 McKnight Artist Fellowships for choreography and interdisciplinary art, a 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, a 2012 US Artist Fellowship, and multiple MAP Fund and NEFA National Dance Project grants. She currently serves on the National Council on the Arts, appointed by President Barack Obama. Her company has performed in national and international venues such as the Kennedy Center, New Victory Theater, American Dance Festival, and the National Center for Performing Arts Mumbai, India, to name a few, and has received commissions from the Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center, and elsewhere. Ramaswamy was named 2014 Doris Duke Fellow for choreography, and she served as a 2014 Center Performance panelist.