Artist Bios

Hema Rajagopalan

Hema Rajagopalan

Hema Rajagopalan (Indian Dance Consultant) is a Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer, acclaimed internationally for her dynamic and versatile choreography, which respects integrity while moving the art form in new directions, reaching diverse audiences. Bharatanatyam is a dance theater form from India. She is the founder and artistic director of Natya Dance Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, which will celebrate its 40th year in 2014. There, she creates work that reflects an awareness of the world around her, with an appreciation of the social functions of art. She learned under the renowned gurus, Sri. K.N. Dandayudapani Pillai and Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan, who made her the artist she is today. Ms. Rajagopalan performed as a soloist for three decades at prestigious venues throughout the world, receiving critical acclaim. As an independent choreographer she has created 35 evening-length productions and numerous short works, and has also collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chitravina Ravikiran of India, and many other world renowned artists. She has been commissioned to create work by Ravinia Festival. Her many awards include seven choreographic awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the coveted Emmy Award. She received the Vishwa Kala Bharati Award for artistic excellence, given to only one artist per year in India, and was the first choreographer working in an Indian tradition to be selected among leading Chicago choreographers by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum.