Choreographic Associate, Dancer, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Ashwini Ramaswamy has studied Bharatanatyam with Ragamala Dance Company’s Artistic Directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy—her mother and sister—since the age of five. She now has the honor of studying under Bharatanatyam legend Alarmél Valli of Chennai, India, one of the greatest living masters of the form.
The New York Times describes Ashwini as “exuding the darting ebullience of a butterfly…there is a continual flow of energy coursing through her limbs” and the Minneapolis Star Tribune says “Ashwini brings a level of athleticism, ferocity and even a touch of mischief to her dancing.”
As a founding member of Ragamala, she has toured extensively, performing throughout the U.S. and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the U.K, and India, highlighted by performances at The Joyce Theater and Lincoln Center Out of Doors (New York, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), American Dance Festival (Durham, N.C.), Music Center of Los Angeles, the Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, CT), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bali Arts Festival, National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), and Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India).Ashwini’s work in Bharatanatyam affords her the opportunity not only to perform, but also to engage a new generation through workshops, demonstrations, and lectures in cities and towns across the US. and abroad.
As a soloist, she has performed at the Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), the Ritz Theater (Minneapolis, MN), Northrop (Minneapolis, MN), Carleton College (Northfield, MN), and the Drive East Festival (New York, NY). Ashwini is a McKnight Artist Fellow for Dance, as well as the recipient of three Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grants, a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step Fund grant and Community Arts Grant, and a Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant.
Ashwini's choreographic work has been presented by Augsburg College, the Ritz Theater, and the Red Eye Theater (Minneapolis, MN), and Triskelion Arts and The Joyce Theater (New York, NY), and will be performed in Edinburgh, Scotland and Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2017. Her choreography has been likened to "magical realism" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and lauded for displaying a unique creative voice that honors her lineage while taking it in a new direction. She will be the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series’ Virtual Artist in Residence in 2017-18, followed by a commissioned work to premiere in 2019. Her next project, Body, the Shrine - created with Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy – will premiere in 2018.
Ashwini is Ragamala Dance Company’s Director of Publicity and Marketing, and holds a degree in English Literature from Carleton College. She currently serves on the board of Arts Midwest.
Dancer, Development and Outreach Director
Tamara Nadel is a founding member and soloist with Ragamala Dance Company. She is a disciple of the company’s Artistic Directors, Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, under whom she has engaged in intensive study of Bharatanatyam since 1994.
Tamara has toured extensively with Ragamala, performing featured roles on major national and international stages, highlighted by Lincoln Center (NY), Kennedy Center (DC), American Dance Festival (NC), Walker Art Center (MN), Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (IL), International Festival of Arts & Ideas (CT), University Musical Society (MI), Krannert Center (IL), Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Just Festival (Edinburgh, UK), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India).
Tamara is a 2006 McKnight Artist Fellow in Dance. She is recipient of a Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant, as well as grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and Rimon: the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council. She is currently working with choreographer Ranee Ramaswamy on a solo work rooted in the poetry of the Sephardic Jewish writers of medieval southern Spain.
Tamara is Ragamala’s Development & Outreach Director, and a teacher at the Ragamala School. She holds a degree in Religious Studies and Dance from Macalester College. Tamara served on the City of Minneapolis Arts Commission from 2008-2010, and currently serves on the board of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.
Jessica Fiala is a company member of Ragamala Dance and has studied with Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy since 2006. She has toured with Ragamala throughout the U.S. and to India, the U.K., and the UAE. Performance highlights include Lincoln Center Out of Doors (NYC), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), the American Dance Festival (NC), the Soorya Festival in Kerala (2010) and southeastern India (2012), and a desert camp outside of Abu Dhabi (2015). Jessica is a teacher at the Ragamala School and has led and supported outreach activities across the United States for audiences from K-12 students to senior citizens, as well as teaching a 2013 workshop in Bangkok, Thailand.
In addition to her work with Ragamala, she has recently performed in projects by Vanessa Voskuil and Kaleena Miller. Jessica holds an interdisciplinary master's degree from the University of Minnesota focused in Museum Studies & Cultural Studies, and her research is included in the anthology The Ruined Archive (2014). She was Research Coordinator for the 2015 International Award for Public Art, and delivered a collaborative keynote for the 2016 International Public Art Researcher Convening hosted by the University of Shanghai. Her current research is focused on Bharatanatyam, and she presented on “Docile Bodies and Technologies of the Self in Bharatanatyam’s Transfigured Past and Transcultural Present,” for a panel on Dance as Knowledge at the University of Pittsburgh’s conference, Doing the Body in the 21st Century (2016). Jessica is a Program Coordinator at Forecast Public Art and a Research Associate at Lutman & Associates.