Ranee Ramaswamy, right, and her daughter Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala Dance. (Photo by Tom Wallace)

The national nonprofit United States Artists (USA) has awarded a $50,000 fellowship to Ranee Ramaswamy, founder and artistic director of Ragamala Dance in Minneapolis. The Los Angeles-based USA awards 50 such grants each year to artists throughout the country.

Ragamala, which performed for the opening of the Cowles Center, practices bharatnatyam, a popular form of dance in India with ancient roots. Ramaswamy said she will use the grant for two projects, including a collaboration with her daughter and co-director, Aparna Ramaswamy,  and New Zealand choreographer Lemi Ponifasio.

The Ramaswamys were named the Star Tribune’s Artists of the Year in 2011.

Last year, two Twin Cities artists received USA grants, choreographer/dancer Morgan Thorson and composer Mary Ellen Childs.

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