Joyce Award Winners

Aparna Ramaswamy and Kyle Abraham



Ragamala Dance Company

Aparna Ramaswamy and Kyle Abraham received a Joyce Award, with the Minneapolis-based, Ragamala Dance Company, to create a new work to be presented at the Walker Art Center, with live music from Colin Jacobsen. Drawing from the artists' own experience of cultural hybridity, the new work will be informed by concepts of identity and place. The process will incorporate various community discussions and workshops, and will premiere in the fall of 2017.

Aparna Ramaswamy’s choreography and performance have been described as “rapturous and profound” (The New York Times). Her work explores the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary—the rich traditions, deep philosophical roots, and ancestral wisdom of India meeting and merging with the curiosity, openness, and creative freedom fostered in the United States. Aparna is Co-Artistic Director of Ragamala Dance Company with her choreographic partner (and mother) Ranee Ramaswamy. Aparna’s choreographic work is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, MAP Fund, and USArtists International; commissioned by the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Lincoln Center (New York), and the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi; and presented by the Joyce Theater (New York) NY, Kennedy Center (D.C.), and American Dance Festival, and National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), among many others.

Kyle Abraham has been described as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in NYC in the age of Obama”(OUT Magazine). With diverse training in music, visual art and dance, his highly physical vocabulary reflects the youthful energy of the hip-hop and urban dance of his adolescence and a strong grounding in modern dance technique. Kyle is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, a 2012 USA Artist Ford Fellow, and a Creative Capital Fellow. His choreographic works have been performed by both his company, Kyle Abraham/ (founded in 2006), and others at such venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Joyce Theatre, Harlem Stage, REDCAT (Los Angeles), among many others.

Related Content


Joyce Awards Information Session

Joyce Awards application information and 2021 Virtual Session recording.

Grantee Spotlight

Pivoting to a reimagined stage

The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project adapts and endures, rethinking performance space and how to reach audiences and students through a pandemic.


A conversation with 2021 Joyce Award recipients

2021 Joyce Awards winners together for the first time discuss their projects– four impactful collaborations spanning the visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts that engage diverse communities in Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.


2021 Joyce Awards Announcement

Announcing the winners of the 2021 Joyce Awards! Four impactful collaborations between BIPOC artists and organizations spanning the visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts that engage diverse communities in Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.


Foundation welcomes Williams, Khimm and Ezeigbo

Foundation hires new Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform and Education & Economic Mobility program officers, and Culture program director.


New Joyce Awards Collaboration: ATNSC with M. Carmen Lane and Shaun Leonardo

The Joyce Foundation is delighted to announce that ATNSC: The Center for Healing & Creative Leadership, founded and directed by M. Carmen Lane, will now be serving as the commissioning arts organization of the “Somebody: Mourning at the Temple” project.


Joyce Awards Prize Increase

The Joyce Awards Annual Arts Prizes Increased to $75,000, with new artist stipend.


Aiming for Inclusive Community Renewal, One Cleveland Artist at a Time

Artists and community leaders gather in clusters in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City. One group listens closely as Jim Walker of Big Car Collaborative in Indianapolis takes questions about his organization’s ambitious efforts.