Described as “thrillingly three-dimensional… rapturous and profound” (The New York Times) and selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch for 2010,
APARNA RAMASWAMY is Co-Artistic Director,
Choreographer, and Principal Dancer of Ragamala Dance Company with her choreographic partner (and mother) Ranee Ramaswamy. As dancemakers and performers, their creative vision merges the rich traditions and deep philosophical roots of their Indian heritage with their hybridic perspective as first generation Indian-Americans.
Born in India and raised both in India and the United States, Aparna studies and performs in Chennai as
senior disciple and protégé of legendary dancer/choreographer Alarmél Valli while building her own body of work as a dancemaker and performer in the U.S. This cultural hybridity has given her the perspective to approach Bharatanatyam as a living, breathing language through which to create works that speak to the contemporary experience.
Most recently, Aparna and Ranee were awarded 2018 Guggenheim Fellowships and selected as 2017
Research Fellows by the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy). Aparna is recipient of a 2016 Doris
Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2016 Joyce Award, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, and three McKnight Fellowships, among others.
Aparna and Ranee’s choreographic work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center (New York), Walker
Art Center (Minneapolis), Krannert Center (University of IL), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (University of MD), Opening Nights Performing Arts (FL State University), and the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), and they have developed work in residence at MANCC (Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography), and the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), and an NPN residency at The Yard.
Aparna is currently regarded both in the U.S. and in India as one of the exemplary soloists in Bharatanatyam. She is an empaneled artist with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and her solo work, with live music, has toured the U.S. and India with support from the National Dance Project and USArtists International. In summer, 2018, she premiered a solo work commissioned by the
American Dance Festival. She is currently working with composer/violinist Colin Jacobsen on a new work commissioned by and for the Silk Road Ensemble, to premiere in 2019.
In addition to their creative work, Aparna and Ranee are committed to inspiring a new generation to think
and act innovatively, sparking conversations that articulate new possibilities for cultural hybridity in the 21st
century. They have served as guest lecturers at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., and have been
featured speakers and panelists for such forums as the Dance/USA National Conference, the International
Festival of Arts & Ideas, and the Body Voices: Reimagining Culture, Community, and Politics conference
hosted by NYU Abu Dhabi. Through the Ragamala School in Minneapolis, Aparna and Ranee have educated hundreds of students in the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam.