Hema Rajagopalan is a bharata natyam dancer, teacher, and choreographer, and the founder and artistic director of Natya Dance Theatre, a professional touring company and school that has specialized in bharata natyam for the past 40 years. Her innovative work preserves bharata natyam in its full integrity as a traditional dance theater form, while developing it in new directions and bringing it to diverse audiences all over the world. Rajagopalan has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world, and as a choreographer, has created numerous short works and over 50 evening-length productions. She has received an EMMY Award, seven National Endowment for the Arts choreography awards, and the Vishwa Kala Bharathi award for artistic excellence, among others. In 2004, she was the first US-based artist to receive the Nrithya Seva Mani award from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Utsavam Festival, for her lasting contribution to the field, and was selected to create new work by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, the first choreographer working in an Indian tradition to be chosen. Rajagopalan served as a 2015 LOI panelist in Performance.