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US senate confirms Indian-American dancer to art council

Washington, Oct 18 (IANS) The US Senate has confirmed noted Indian American Bharatanatyam exponent Ranee Ramaswamy as a member of the prestigious National Council on the Arts for a five-year term.

The National Council on the Arts advises the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs.

It reviews and makes recommendations to the chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines and leadership initiatives.

Ramaswamy, who has been a disciple of Alarmel Valli, one of India’s greatest living masters of Bharatanatyam, founded the Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre in 1992 at Minneapolis, Minnesota.

She started popularising this classical Indian dance form in the US since then, according to her biography posted on her website.

Ramaswamy has worked with celebrated artists such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy and legendary composer and violinist L. Subramaniam.

Among her many grants and fellowships are 13 McKnight Artist Fellowships, a Bush Fellowship, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International.

Her work is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project, and the Japan Foundation.

In 2011, she was chosen as the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist. Ramaswamy and co-Artistic Director Aparna Ramaswamy were named the 2011 Artist of the Year by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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