Hema Rajagopalan 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. Ms. Rajagopalan has performed as a soloist for three decades at prestigious venues throughout the world. As an independent choreographer, she has created 35 productions and numerous short works and has 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 an Emmy Award. She received the Vishwa Kala Bharati Award for Artistic Excellence and was the first choreographer working in an Indian tradition to be selected among leading Chicago choreographers by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum.