Founded in 1992, award-winning mother/daughter artists Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy are the Artistic Directors of Ragamala Dance Company, a pioneering company rooted in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam. Over the last four decades, Ranee and Aparna have forged a path for culturally rooted performing arts organizations and made Ragamala a standard-bearer within the American dance landscape. The New York Times says, “Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer.”
Ranee and Aparna’s choreographic work has been commissioned and presented extensively throughout the U.S., India, and abroad, highlighted by the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Joyce Theater (New York), Lincoln Center (New York), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (MA), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), The Soraya (Southern California), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT), Cal Performances (Berkeley), Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India), and National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), among others.
Ranee serves on the National Council on the Arts, appointed by President Barack Obama. Among her recent awards and honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Research Fellowship (Italy), United States Artists Fellowship, and McKnight Distinguished Artist Award. Ranee immigrated to the United States in 1978 and, since that time, her work has merged the rich traditions and deep philosophical roots of her Indian heritage with her hybridic perspective as a first generation South Indian American, including bold experimental collaborations with national and international artists across forms and genres.
Aparna is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Research Fellowship (Italy), Joyce Award, and Bush Fellowship for Choreography, among others, and has been selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch for 2010. Her projects include solo, evening-length works which have toured widely, nationally and internationally, and commissions from the American Dance Festival and the Silk Road Ensemble.