Classical Dance of India
Ranjanaa Devi is an internationally known dancer and choreographer specializing in South Asian performing arts. Trained in several classical dance styles and dance theater techniques under three eminent performers and teachers in India -Guru Gopinath, Guru Valmiki Bannerjee, Guru Mayadhar Raut, Ranjanaa emerged as a leading performer, choreographer and teacher with a unique style of her own that is expressive, energetic and filled with delicate nuances. She holds academic degrees in Music and Musicology from the Shankar Lal Institute of Music, Delhi University and has studied the complex temple rituals connected to dance with well known Brahmin scholars attached to temples in North and South India. She is the recipient of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Citation Award 2007 for her most recent production Mudra: the Gesture Speaks, a new work that celebrated her 25th anniversary in the dance world. Her unique dance theater productions on Indian and Buddhist ritual themes is in demand for use by university and college dance and religion departments and libraries across the USA and internationally.
As the founder and artistic director of Nataraj Performing Arts of India, an organization for the promotion of performing arts of India in the United States, the Nataraj Dancers have presented concerts and workshops across the nation and in India, Canada, Australia and Japan in prestigious venues. Ranjanaa has served on artist panels for Massachusetts Cultural Council grants as well as received several awards for cultural heritage preservation, organization, and artist fellowship categories. She has presented several papers and workshops at regional, national and international conferences. She has been the US National Representative for Dance and the Child International (UNESCO), a member of National Dance Education Organization, Arts Presenters Association of America, and the Arts Literacy Project. Since 1993, Ranjanaa Devi is the founder and director of the Asian Arts and Culture Program at the University of Massachusetts and a guest faculty in the Five College Department.