President Barack Obama has nominated Ranee Ramaswamy, an Indian-American master teacher and performer of Bharatanatyam since 1978, as a member of the prestigious National Council on the Arts.
Founder and co-artistic director of the Ragamala Dance Company, Ramaswamy has been a disciple of Alarmel Valli, one of India's greatest living masters since 1984.
Announcing her nomination along with half a dozen other key administration posts, Obama said in a statement: "These dedicated and accomplished individuals will be valued additions to my administration as we tackle the important challenges facing America. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
Ramaswamy's work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Centre, American Composers Forum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and has been supported by the National Dance Project and the Joyce Foundation.
Her tours have been highlighted by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Dance Festival, and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai.
Ramaswamy has worked with celebrated artists such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy, legendary composer/violinist L. Subramaniam, the Cudamani ensemble (Bali, Indonesia) and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara (Nagano, Japan).
Among her numerous grants and awards are 14 McKnight Fellowships, a Bush Foundation Choreography Fellowship, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International.
She is the recipient of the 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award and was named "2011 Artist of the Year" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
She earned a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Madras.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)