Anandha Ray

After a lifetime in the professional world of dance, Anandha has developed a thorough and innate understanding of dance and the language of movement.

She is an award-winning choreographer who:

  • was instrumental in the development of dance in the late 20th and early 21st century,
  • directed a critically acclaimed internationally touring dance company,
  • was a Cultural Ambassador with the US Embassy,
  • was the chairperson of university and community dance programs, and,
  • combining the resources of her experience with her masters degrees research topics she has created a revolutionary form for training professional dancers.

With literally a lifetime of experience in dance, she is internationally critically acclaimed for her work in dance, propelling the art of dance to new realms, unlocking the mysteries of the soul.

Anandha Ray
Anandha Ray

Through dance that is real, that is authentic, that holds the power of truth and of ritual and ceremony in it’s artistic expression, we grow to know more about the human spirit… There is nothing more SACRED than this.

~ Anandha Ray

Overview of Anandha’s Career

Anandha distinguished herself as a choreographer early on, winning perstigious awards throughout college and graduate school. She has created and directed dance programs, formed a well-renown internationally touring dance company, and over the course of her lifetime in dance has produced over 300 concerts.

Of her accomplishments Anandha is most proud of:

  • Working as a Cultural Ambassador with the US Embassy and the extensive international touring she directed with Moving Arts Dance,
  • The extensive educational outreach programs she developed and directed including pre-professional training and residencies for Title One schools,
  • To have received the honor of being selected as a young choreographer for the Martha Graham Dance Company Arizona Residency in 1982 where Ron Protas singled her out for the honor of meeting Martha Graham herself,
  • And of having created an entirely innovative training and performance form called Quimera Method which is now taught by teachers across the country and internationally.

Anandha Ray, MA, MA, DTR has dedicated over 40 years to the full-time passion of dance. She is an award-winning choreographer who directed a critically acclaimed internationally touring dance company, was a Cultural Ambassador with the US Embassy, the chairperson of university and community dance programs, and combining the resources of her experience with her masters degrees research topics she has created a revolutionary form for training professional dancers.

Her work with Moving Arts Dance included work as a Cultural Ambassador for the US Embassy on tours called “Dance without Borders,” receiving standing ovations from sold-out premiere international venues, to edgy black box theaters in the deep urban recesses of San Francisco. Ray founded Moving Arts Dance, which toured extensively for 2 decades, receiving standing ovations in eight countries and conducting extensive tours and workshops in over 50 cities in the US, Europe, Canada and Mexico.

For Ray, the synthesis of disparate forms of dance provides a fresh forum for exploration and understanding of the unmistakable beauty of light, darkness and the honesty of our humanness. Seeking to expose the extraordinary within the ordinary, Ray’s work has long delved into the subculture of shadow and light, figuratively and literally. She believes that dance has the potential to change the world, giving pause to the viewer, evoking thoughts and inspiring questions. In its authentic form, dance speaks human truths and cannot lie.


Anandha Ray is a member of the
third generation of Modern Dancers.

Ray started her career with intensive studies from the second generation of modern dancers:

  • Margaret Gisolo in the lineage of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Jose Limon and Doris Humphrey
  • Cliff Keuter in the lineage of Paul Taylor.
  • Daniel Nagrin in the lineage of Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Anna Sokolow, Hanya Holm, and his first wife, Helen Tamiris
  • Alwin Nikolais in the lineage of Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and Louis Horst
  • Risa Steinberg in the lineage of Jose Limon for 11 years
  • Dr. Emma Lou Thomas in the lineage of Mary Wigman

Additionally Ray has studied with and performed dances by:

Tandy Beal and Claudia Melrose, both in the lineage of Alwin Nikolais company.

Kelly Roth, inthe lineage of Murray Louis’ company

And she has performed repertory of

3 of Doris Humphrey’s dances,
2 dances by Jose Limon,
2 dances by Cliff Keuter

And she has danced repertory and original pieces set on her by myriads of wonderful choreographers of the second and third generations of modern dancers including:

  • Tandy Beal
  • Bill Evans
  • Beth Lessard
  • Margaret Gisolo
  • Ann Ludwig
  • Claudia Melrose
  • Joanna Mendle-Shaw
  • Clarence Teeters
  • Laura Dean
  • Margaret Jenkins (set by Mercy Sidbury)
  • Duncan McFarland
  • Rhonda Martin
  • Robert Moses
  • Michale Lowe
  • Viktor Kabaniaev

Ray has trained in classes and workshops with masters in the dance world in intensive studies across the country, including:

  • Alwin Nikolias
  • American Dance Festival
  • Bill Evans Dance Company
  • Eric Hawkins
  • Murray Lewis
  • Philobolus
  • Tandy Beal Dance Company
  • The Martha Graham studio
  • and several NY, LA and SF based teachers and choreographers.

Internationally acclaimed as a dancer, director and choreographer, recognized internationally as a featured master teacher, and having the honor of working internationally as a Cultural Ambassador with the US Embassy, Ray has produced over 300 professional concerts, directed dance departments in university, college and community centers. She founded and directed Moving Arts Dance, an internationally touring company with extensive educational outreach. She is a frequent guest artist for professional dance companies and university dance programs, and her work has been presented, commissioned and performed by numerous professional companies, universities and colleges.

She was instrumental in the development of modern dance when, as a graduate student and in her post graduate work Ray created non-gender partnering at a time when women never lifted each other in dance. This caused an international stir, and she received awards and honors for this groundbreaking work from the Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Magazine, American Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, National College Dance Festival and in selection for her first international tour, an honorary tour to Finland. In her later career she founded a The Moving Arts Dance Studio/Theater that was the home of the MAD BAD Festival (Moving Art Dance, Bay Area Dance) and she directed an annual cornerstone event in the Bay Area for National Dance Week, the 2-week Marathon of Dance where she supported the development of local, national and international choreographers for nearly a decade.

For her contributions in dance she has been inducted into the Contra Costa County Women’s Hall of Fame and as an honorary Kentucky Colonel, has received commendations from the US Senate and the CA Assembly, was named as one of 25 Women Leading the Arts and as a Visionary for the 21st Century, and she received the Las Vegas “Daffy Award” (Dance as an Art Form -2009), the Cingular Award for Community Service (2006) and has received numerous grants and awards. She has received national choreography awards including receiving the highest national award granted by the National College Dance Association (selection for performance at the Kennedy Center, WA DC, 2016 and 1986), the WestWave Choreographic Commissioning Project Award (SF 2014), sjCHOREOfest Award (CA 2007, 2011), selection for the Gala Concert of the American College Dance Festivals (OR 1986, WA 1988, NM 1990, AZ 2016), Choreography Award from the American Dance Festival (NC 1986) and selection as a choreographer for the one and only Martha Graham Company Festival (AZ 1982).

After an award-winning 30-year career in professional modern dance, she took an interest in incorporating ritual and ceremony in the context of dance and has traveled internationally to study and participate in indigenous rituals. Toward this goal she became ordained as a Priestess of Isis (the Egyptian Goddess of Dance).

Applying this work with the specialties from her master’s degrees, one in  Choreography with an emphasis in Kinesiology and the second MA in Dance Therapy, she has created an innovative training and performance form called Quimera Method. This form has applications in professional dance performances and community dance ceremonies from the viewpoint of its artistic expressiveness as a “Medicine of Movement”: dances that move beyond entertainment, that open the mind and soul, that heal the personal and the communal.

She has two Master of Arts degrees from UCLA (Choreography with a second emphasis in Kinesiology and a second Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy), most recently spent a semester as the Artistic Director of the university dance company at CSU Fresno, where she is a frequent guest artist, was the Director of the Dance Program at the University of the Pacific and Yavapai College, faculty at Santa Monica College, leads residencies and lectures for universities and festivals as well as adjudicating for several dance festivals and granting committees nationally and internationally, as well as choreographing on college, university and professional dance companies. Ray enjoys partnerships with Desert Dance Theater in Tempe, Az, as guest choreographer, Labayen Dance SF as Artistic Advisor and Guest Choreographer, and ongoing artistic collaborations with Enrico Labayen and CSU Fresno Professor Kenneth Balint.

Spiritual Connection of the Soul Through Movement

For over forty years in dance, Anandha has created a spiritual connection of the soul through movement. Walking this path secretly as a professional choreographer who would be shunned and loose funding if the truth was revealed, she didn’t talk about spirituality, but just did the work.

“Spiritual” and “sacred” are words that are so charged that in the professional world they are shunned. But, without saying so, Anandha’s work dove deeply in the level of the healing arts in performance.

On many occasions people have been so touched by viewing one of her dances that they have written to Anandha to tell her how it changed their lives. On five occasions, viewers have written her letters telling her that viewing her dance brought back the connection to the world that kept them from committing suicide. This is a force of energy that drives Anandha’s passion. Dance heals.

Anandha Ray
Anandha Ray
Her performances have always danced on the edges of the play of shadow and light in the subconscious realm. This is what defines Sacred Dance for Anandha.
She feels that dance has the power to change the world by providing insight into the soul of humanity, allowing people to feel seen and understood. This is what made her work so successful when her company was performing on the US Embassy international tours called “Dance Without Borders”, they illuminated the soul of humanity, the authentic parts of our humanness that we all share no matter where we are from.

This is what guides her work today as she leads dancers to understand the spiritual connection to dance from a viewpoint informed by a lifetime of professional dance as well as one who walks the planet as if all is sacred.

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