Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy
Ranaee and Aparna created a solo for Dancer Fellow: Amanda Dlouhy
Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy are Artistic Directors, Choreographers, and Principal Dancers of Ragamala Dance, acclaimed as one of the Indian Diaspora's leading dance ensembles. Ranee and Aparna's work seamlessly carries the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam into the 21st century, seeing it as a multi-dimensional, dynamic, living tradition whose beauty, vitality, stunning physicality, and emotional depth offer vast potential to convey timeless themes and contemporary ideas. Ranee and Aparna are disciples of legendary Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer Alarmél Valli, one of India's greatest living masters. Ranee and Aparna's work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Japan Foundation, USArtists International, and a 2008 Joyce Award; has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center and American Composers Forum; and has toured nationally and internationally, highlighted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, New Victory Theater in New York, Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and Soorya Dance and Music Festival in India.
Ranee has been a master teacher and performer of Bharatanatyam in the U.S. since 1978. Since founding Ragamala in 1992, she has worked with celebrated artists such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy, legendary composer/violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam (India), the Çudamani ensemble (Indonesia), and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara (Japan). Among her many grants and fellowships are 13 McKnight Artist Fellowships, a Bush Fellowship, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International. Most recently, Ranee has been chosen as the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist for 2011.
Born in India and raised in the U.S., Aparna has been featured at prestigious venues throughout the U.S. and abroad, both as a soloist and as principal dancer with Ragamala. Described as "a marvel of buoyant agility and sculptural clarity" (Dance Magazine), "thrillingly three-dimensional," and "an enchantingly beautiful dancer," (The New York Times), Aparna has been awarded several honors, including McKnight Artist Fellowships for Dance and Choreography, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, an Arts and Religion grant funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, two Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grants, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International. In 2010, Aparna was the first Bharatanatyam artist to be named one of "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine.