About the NEA

Ranee Ramaswamy

Minneapolis, MN

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 Bharatanatyam, she has tirelessly worked for the last three decades to find a place for Bharatanatyam in the landscape of American dance. Since her first cross-cultural collaboration with poet Robert Bly, Ms. Ramaswamy’s work has merged the classical language of Bharatanatyam 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 US Artist Fellowship (2012), and multiple MAP (Multi-Arts Production Fund) Fund and New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) National Dance Project grants. Song of the Jasmine – a new work by Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy in collaboration with jazz saxophonist and fellow Doris Duke Artist Rudresh Mahanthappa – will premiere at the Walker Art Center in May 2014. Her company performs in national and International venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; New Victory Theater in New York; the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC; the National Center for Performing Arts Mumbai, India; and the Bali Arts Festival in Indonesia to name a few. Ms. Ramaswamy has received commissions from the Walker Arts Center, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland/College Park.