August 8, 2018
Ananya Dance Theatre presents premiere of "Shaatranga," Sept. 21-22
Ananya Dance Theatre will present the world premiere of Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds, a 90-minute dance without intermission, as part of Women of Substance at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, September 21-22, 2018. The work is the fifth in the company’s five-year series on the theme “Work Women Do.”
Shaatranga (which means “seven colors” in Bangla and is pronounced “SHA-trong-uh”) asks the question, “How do we show up for each other?” and suggests that global women who engage in world-making are refusing to be seen in only blue/indigo – the pain, sorrow, and defeat that has historically framed them. Instead, they share their multifaceted stories that express not only their pain, but their joys, laughter, and the work they do, that goes largely unrecognized, to create positive force in their communities and the world.
Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea uses two primary metaphors to explore relationships among global south communities linked by Indian Ocean trade routes that pre-existed colonization and slavery: Indigo, an important export/import on these trade routes across Asia and Africa, and blue jeans, whose ubiquitous presence in global commerce falls differently on our skin, mediated through histories of denim and indigo.
Shaatranga is Ananya Dance Theatre’s sixth production and collaboration with The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University. Executive Director Kathleen Spehar and Production Manager Kevin A. Jones are key partners in the detailed planning that leads to the production’s mix of interactive and concert elements. “Work Women Do” concludes with this production exploring women’s work with indigo and cotton, commissioned by The O’Shaughnessy with support from a Joyce Foundation Award.
Chatterjea’s choreography combines metaphor and poetry in Contemporary Indian Dance. Yorchha – the company’s remix of Classical Odissi, Chhau martial art, and Vinyasa Yoga – is a movement practice anchored by social justice as it invokes the spirit of Dakini, traditionally embodied by destruction, chaos, and ultimately transformation. Dakini lives in the possibilities of audiences’ and performers’ discomfort and insists that the role of women’s rage and their spiritual ecstasy be seen in the arc towards equity. This tumult resolves through the choreography that weaves ritualistic performance and dances of the gentle warrior.
ADT’s dancers and collaborators represent a range of ethnic, cultural, immigrant, and of color communities: South, South east, and East Asian, African American, Pacific Islander, Latinx, and mixed race. The ensemble’s composition as “women of color” is crucial, yet nuanced, including queer men of color and trans women of color.
Project collaborators are celebrated artists, including behavioral artist/collaborating director Marcus Young, composer Dameun Strange, scenic designer Chelsea Warren, media designer Darren Johnson, costume designer Annie Cady, lighting designer Kevin A. Jones, and composer/lyricist Queen Drea/Andrea Reynolds.
Tickets for Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds are $19-$29. There are discounts for groups, students, seniors, MPR and TPT members, and military. For more information and tickets, contact The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office at 651-690-6700; summer business hours (through Sept. 1) are Mon.-Fri. 12-4pm; ticket office is located on the main campus of St. Catherine University at 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. Tickets can be purchased online at theoshaughnessy.com.
Residencies and performances of Shaatranga will be presented at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 26-27, 2018; Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersy, Feb. 1-2, 2019; Dance Place, Washington, DC, Mar. 30-31, 2019; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Apr. 11, 2019; and Kelley-Strayhorn Theatre, Pittsburgh, May 10-11, 2019.
ABOUT ANANYA DANCE THEATRE
Celebrating 14 years of linking dance and social action, Ananya Dance Theatre is a Contemporary Indian Dance company composed of artists of color who create performances about the lives and dreams of women around the world: People Powered Dances of Transformation™ at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice. Dancers and collaborators represent many cultural communities in Minnesota: South Asian, Chinese, Hmong, African American, Pacific Islander, Latinx, and mixed race. The company premieres one major work annually, and offers touring performances, classes, workshops, and dialogues. In June 2018, ADT took up residence in its new facility, a women of color-centered space of embodied practice, located at 1197 University Ave. W. in Saint Paul.
ABOUT “WORK WOMEN DO”
World Premiere: September 18, 2014, The Cowles Center for Dance, Minneapolis
Neel is about women’s dreams: dreams that unleash tremendous joy; shattered dreams; the imaginative labor that conjures up the most unlikely but exciting dream-visions; and dreams of wholeness and freedom that sound the call for revolution.
World Premiere: September 18, 2015, The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul
Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, visual artist Seitu Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young have partnered to produce an evening length story reflecting and honoring the age-old work of women who cultivate, nurture, and protect land and agriculture with emotional and blood labor to create a just and sustainable food system for our shared future.
World Premiere: September 16, 2016, The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul
The year: 2053. A patient, dark of skin, has been checked into urgent medical care in a state of collapse. She self-identifies as “the child of many continents.” Follow her journey as she travels into the recesses of memory and imagination to conjure a magical healing experience that invites all into its joy-filled dance. Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre, collaborating director Marcus Young, sound artists Greg Schutte, Queen Drea, Pooja Goswami, and Tenzin Ngawang, visual artist Alison Hiltner, and lighting designer Kevin A. Jones create an original dance theater production inspired by the remarkable properties of turmeric, the root ingredient of many cuisines and recipes that heal from within!
World Premiere: September 15, 2017, The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul
Shyamaliwas inspired by the courage of global women of color who speak up to sustain communities and whose dissent fuels life force. It celebrates women who refuse to be broken and invokes the resilience of grass, which springs up even when trod upon.
ABOUT THE O’SHAUGHNESSY
Located on the scenic main campus of St. Catherine University, The O’Shaughnessy is one of the Twin Cities’ premiere venues for showcasing the arts. Since opening in 1970, The O’Shaughnessy has presented a dazzling array of both local and national performing arts companies, including the Minnesota Orchestra, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, James Sewell Ballet, TU Dance, The Indigo Girls, Joan Baez and countless others. In addition, the venue hosts public events, student and community performances and features multicultural programming with an emphasis on dance, music and theater. Known for its dedication to artistic development and collaboration, the venue has premiered over 400 new works by local and national artists. The O’Shaughnessy is the home of the Women of Substance series, which showcases the artistry and innovative work of women, both prominent and emerging in their fields, whose voices need to be heard. theoshaughnessy.com
ABOUT WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE
For more than 20 years, the Women of Substance series has showcased women’s ideas, amplified their voices and honored their places on life’s stage. These artists, thinkers and change-makers challenge the status quo, make audiences to look at the world in new ways, and instill a deeper understanding of self, purpose and action. Through art and ideas, the series ignites women’s innate power, consciousness and sense of justice, motivating and inspiring others to take action and lead lives of substance. The Women of Substance Festival magnifies the mission, values and spirit of St. Catherine’s University.
Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds
Commissioned by The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University
with support from the Joyce Foundation
Choreography: Ananya Chatterjea
Shaatranga is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Imagine Fund, the Marbrook Foundation, and the Seward Community Co-op. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Metro Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Generous operating support is provided by McKnight Foundation.