RANEE RAMASWAMY founded Ragamala Dance Company in 1992 and currently serves as Co-Artistic
Director, Choreographer, and Principal Dancer along with her creative partner (and daughter) Aparna 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.
Ranee’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 training in Bharatanatyam under iconic dancer/choreographer Alarmél Valli in Chennai, India, is the bedrock of her creative aesthetic. Most recently, Ranee and Aparna were awarded 2018 Guggenheim Fellowships and selected as 2017 Research Fellows by the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy).
Ranee currently serves on the National Council on the Arts, appointed by President Barack Obama. She is the recipient of a 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship, a 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, and 14 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Choreography and Interdisciplinary Art, among others.
Ranee and Aparna’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.
In addition to their creative work, Ranee and Aparna 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, Ranee and Aparna have educated hundreds of students in the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam.