Photograph by Ramnath Siva
Photograph by Ramnath Siva

Kiran Rajagopalan is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, writer, and educator based in New York City. Born and raised in the United States, he had his early training in Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) under Ms. Asha Prem, Mr. Prasanna Kasthuri, and Ms. Sujatha Srinivasan. From 2007-2014, he lived in Chennai to continue his advanced training in Bharatanatyam with Mr. A. Lakshmanaswamy and Ms. Bragha Bessell. He also studied Carnatic violin with Ms. A. Kanyakumari and Ms. Anusha Sreeram and Bhagavata Mela Natakam (ritual dance drama) under the guidance of Mr. S. Natarajan.

Kiran has given many acclaimed performances in India, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, France, and the United States. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants including:  “A Grade Artiste” from Doordarshan (Government of India) in 2015, “Pandit Durgalal Endowment” from Krishna Gana Sabha in 2013, “Singar Mani” from Sur Singar Samsad in 2010, and a fiscal sponsorship from New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010. In 2012, Tamil Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram (Government of India) awarded him a performance grant for a three-city tour in Tamil Nadu. In 2017, he was PASS artist-in-residence at Snug Harbor Botanical Cultural Garden & Cultural Center in Staten Island.

Alongside his performances, Kiran regularly conducts workshops, lectures, and demonstrations on Indian classical dance, performance, aesthetics, and neuroscience. In 2017, Kiran co-founded Daya Arts, an organization dedicated to building bridges between diasporic communities of color through art. Daya Arts has organized #NoTension2017 (a showcase of queer and trans South Asian artists) and produced two original works - Sāmityam and Twin Rivers.

Kiran graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish in 2008.  However, he chose to follow his passion for dance, and he graduated from the University of Madras with an M.A. (honors) in Bharatanatyam in 2010 and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University in 2015.