February 9, 2022

Dancing Transnational Feminisms: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice

An anthology, Dancing Transnational Feminisms: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice, is available to the public following its January publication by the University of Washington Press. The volume, which elevates the voices of 22 contributors, was edited by present and past members of Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT): Ananya Chatterjea, Hui Niu Wilcox, and Alessandra Lebea Williams.

Through empowered movement that centers the lives, stories, and dreams of marginalized women, ADT has revealed how the practice of and commitment to artistic excellence can catalyze social justice. With each performance, this professional dance company of Black, Brown, and Indigenous gender non-conforming women and femmes of color challenges heteronormative patriarchies, white supremacist paradigms, and predatory global capitalism. Its creative artistic processes and vital interventions have transformed the spaces of contemporary concert dance into sites of empowerment, resistance, and knowledge production. 

Drawing from more than 15 years of collaborative dance-making and sustained dialogues based on deep alliances across communities of color, Dancing Transnational Feminisms offers a multigenre exploration of how dance can be intersectionally reimagined as practice, methodology, and metaphor for feminist solidarity.

Blending essays with stories, interviews, and poems, this collection explores timely questions surrounding race and performance, gender and sexuality, art and politics, global and local inequities, and the responsibilities of artists toward their communities.

Ananya Chatterjea is professor of dance at the University of Minnesota. Hui Niu Wilcox is professor of sociology, critical studies of race and ethnicity, and women’s studies at St. Catherine University. Alessandra Lebea Williams is assistant professor of dance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“Honest, true, and poignant, ADT demonstrates throughout the pages of this book that the affect of being with, in relationship alongside, and in creative alliance for a purposeful act is a labor of love and a beautiful thing to behold.”

– from the foreword by D. Soyini Madison

Dancing Transnational Feminisms is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary political and artistic labor of Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT). Theorizing deeply embodied epistemologies anchored in the histories, experiences, and agency of marginalized communities of Black, brown, and indigenous women and femmes, contributors offer an entirely new and original grammar of transnational feminist solidarity. The work of ADT engaged here offers a beautiful, evocative tapestry of dreaming, dancing, theorizing, and organizing such that body and movement become the site for weaving new collective memories and stories of hope, survival, and resistance. An extraordinary collection that belongs on the shelves of artists, scholars and organizers alike.”

-Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity

University of Washington Press: