Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Dance Company

Ragamala Dance

Founded by Ranee Ramaswamy in 1992, Ragamala Dance has evolved into a company of international stature that performs the immensely complex South Indian dance form bharatanatyam. The company of seven women imbues an ancient art form, originally performed by female acolytes in Hindu temples, with contemporary vigor. The demanding technique takes over a decade to even begin to master. As dancers channel intricate rhythmic strands through slapping feet, pliant torsos, highly articulated hands, arms, even faces (there is a whole vocabulary of gestures for the eyes alone), the body moves in cross-rhythms, with contrasting energies (hard/soft, fierce/fragile). At the same time, these dancers must embody characters in Hindu mythology, animals, scenery, even complete weather systems. Until a few years ago, one went to Ragamala concerts to watch the extraordinary dancing of Ranee and her daughter Aparna Ramaswamy. These days, the rest of the company moves with the precision and clarity of dancers totally immersed in not only a technique but a world. While only three of the dancers are of Indian descent, all of them study the culture of India — from food to history to spiritual practices. And it shows in their dancing. From Tamara Nadel's richly expressive characterizations to Amanda Dlouhy's spirited buoyancy, each dancer makes her own vibrantly individual statement through an ancient grammar and syntax.

Best Dance Company (2018) Ragamala Dance Company

Best Dance Company (2020) Ragamala Dance Company

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Best Actress Christiana Clark

Best Album of the Past 12 Months The Cactus Blossoms

Best AM Radio Personality Esme Murphy

Best Art Gallery CO Exhibitions

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Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months Roma di Luna

Best Blues Club Bayport BBQ

Best Choreographer Carl Flink

Best Classical Musician Osmo Vänskä, Minnesota Orchestra

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Best Columnist Jon Tevlin

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Best Concert Venue Varsity Theater

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Best Dance Performance of the Past 12 Months Storm, Zenon Dance Company

Best Dancer Eva Mohn

Best Director Wendy Knox

Best Female Vocalist Brute Heart

Best FM Radio Personality Jake Rudh

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Best Jukebox The Herkimer

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Best Local Music Broadcast Radio K's Off the Record

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Best Play In the Red and Brown Water

Best Radio Station 89.3 the Current

Best Record Label Moon Glyph

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Best Tattoo Parlor Leviticus Tattoo

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Best TV Newscaster Jana Shortal

Best TV Sports Anchor Joe Schmit

Best TV Station KSTC 45

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Best Writing Classes The Loft Literary Center