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Ragamala Dance Company

How a mother-daughter duo is bringing classical South Indian Dance to the global stage


FEB 27, 2023 | ISSUE 11

Ragamala Dance Company

Born and raised in Tamil Naidu, India, Ranee Ramaswamy is a first-generation Indian-American now living in Minneapolis, where she founded Ragamala Dance Company in 1992. Co-leading the company with her daughters Aparna and Ashwini, the trio see family as an “artistic incubator through which we craft multidisciplinary, intercultural dance landscapes.” The Ramaswamys were trained in Bharatanatyam – one of eight standard South Indian classical dance forms – by Alarmél Valli in Chennai, India. Since its founding over 20 years ago, Ragamala’s dancers have performed at venues ranging from college campuses to international festivals, disseminating South Indian classical dance to diasporic populations and curious dancers worldwide.

Ramaswamy’s production style thematically and aesthetically stratifies traditional Bharatanatyam elements. Her two most recent projects – Fires of Varanasi and Sacred Earth – chart new trajectories of interdisciplinarity; intersecting traditional choreographic vernacular with input from a...