From dancer to choreographer: Ashwini Ramaswamy steps up

Aparna and Ranee Ramaswamy

Ashwini Ramaswami is a professional dancer and soloist with the Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance Company — a group with a modern take on a classical South Indian dance form called Bharatanatyam. Her mother, Ranee and older sister, Aparna have been leading the company for nearly 25 years. Now, Ashwini is choreographing an evening-length show for the first time, and one of the people she’s choreographing is her very own mom. I reported this story for KFAI in Minneapolis. (Photo by Ed Bock.)

Remembering Kirk Washington

Kirk Washington, Jr. was a North Minneapolis-based artist and activist who was recently killed in a car accident. I spoke with some of Washington’s friends and fellow artists about his work and legacy. I reported this story for KFAI community radio in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy Made Here/Hennepin Theater Trust).

Longtime Resident, First-Time Voter

Sara Lara LopezAs the U.S. presidential election draws closer, many Latinos living in the United States will be going to the polls. Some, like Minneapolis’ Sara López Lara will be doing that for the very first time. The 30-year-old Mexican native became a U.S. citizen in December 2015 after living here since she was a teenager.

“Everybody told me, Sara, you need to become a US citizen,” she said. “And that was a no brainer, I needed to do it because I wanted to vote.” López Lara has always been passionate about politics and community organizing. After college, she helped Latinos in Minnesota to register to vote.

Since she became a U.S. citizen, López Lara says her identity has shifted. She no longer feels like a Mexican immigrant. Now she identifies more as a Mexican-American woman. “There’s a lot of nuance in being Latin American, being an immigrant, and also a lot of nuance in becoming a citizen,” she said.

I reported this story for NPR’s Latino USA’s “Whatever Floats Your Vote” episode, which released April 29, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Sara López Lara).

From Super Tired to Superposition: The Return of P.O.S

P.O.SMinneapolis hip hop artist P.O.S had to take an extended break from touring and performing to deal with the chronic kidney disease he’s had since he was a teenager. Now he’s back with a brand new track. I reported this story for KFAI community radio. (Photo by Graham Tolbert)

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