BEST DANCER - 1999
Whether performing with her mother Ranee Ramaswamy in Ragamala Music and Dance Theater or setting her own high standards in recent solo efforts, Aparna Ramaswamy has made a unique impression for one barely out of college. Of course, Ramaswamy has been studying bharatanatyam, an ancient dance form originating in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, since the tender age of six. At age 12 she made her solo debut and has since aspired to master the intricacies of bharatanatyam. Watching Ramaswamy tell traditional stories using delicate hand and eye movements matched by the aggressive counter-percussion of her stamping feet is a bit like witnessing a dancer masterfully accompany herself. She pairs unflappable serenity with uncommon control, refusing to reveal the tension that surely lies beneath the surface of her challenging endeavor.