December 4, 2019

MRAC supports ADT's 2020 production of Āgun

The Metro Regional Arts Council (MRAC), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, has awarded $806,429 to 84 organizations/projects in the first round of its FY 2020 Arts Project Support grant program. The MRAC board approved the grants at its Oct. 22, 2019 meeting.

Projects included funding for Ananya Dance Theatre’s Āgun, for which choreographer Ananya Chatterjea and her team of collaborators will create a full-length, original dance theater work for premiere at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul during September 2020. 

The 84 funded projects will provide arts events and programs for Minnesotans of all ages to experience and enjoy arts in a variety of disciplines and at venues across the region. From theater productions to camps to classes and more, the Arts Project Support grants provide quality engagement with the arts at a variety of entry points.

The Arts Project Support grant program is made possible with funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment.

Follow this link for more information.

November 19, 2019

USArtists International supports ADT at Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced over $183,000 in grant support to 20 ensembles and solo performers who will represent the United States at 24 different festivals around the globe through the first round of USArtists International (USAI) 2020.

Grantees include Ananya Dance Theatre for its October 2020 participation at the Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival (BIPAF), Palestinian Territories.

BIPAF is one of the programs under the aegis of the Diyar Consortium, with roots in German Lutheran efforts in the 19th century to serve Palestinian Christians and people of all faiths. The Consortium was founded in 1995 as the International Center of Bethlehem.

USAI is the only national initiative in the United States solely devoted to supporting performances by American artists at important international cultural festivals and arts marketplaces abroad. USAI provides grants to ensembles and individual performers in dance, music, and theater, resulting in the promotion of international cultural exchange and the creative and professional development of U.S. artists. The program extends the reach and impact of professional artists dependent on touring for continued sustainability and career advancement. Since its inception in 2006, USAI has awarded over $7.27 million through 957 grants to 570 ensembles and solo performers.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Andrew W. Mellon FoundationThe Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Howard Gilman Foundation for support of New York City-based organizations.

Supported engagements promote the vibrant diversity of American artists, expand opportunity and exposure to international audiences, and enhance creative and professional development of U.S. artists by providing connections with presenters, curators, and artists around the world. 

USAI grantees will travel to six continents. Grantees represent nine states and include a mix of emerging and established companies and soloists that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines. Fourteen of the 20 grantees are new to the USAI program.

The USAI 2020 first round grantees are: Ananya Dance Theatre, MN: Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival, Palestinian Territories; Axis Dance Company, CA: The Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps, Switzerland; Catalyst Quartet, NY: Contemporary Music Festival of Havana, Cuba; CornMaiz, KY: Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Ireland; David Gonzalez Ensemble, NY: Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children, Egypt; Exhale Dance Tribe, OH: New Zealand Festival, New Zealand; fidget, PA: Antistatic Festival, Bulgaria; Gloria Cheng, CA: ASEAN Music Festival, China and Beijing Modern Music Festival, China; Kinetic Light, CA: Hong Kong Arts Festival: No Limits, China; Leonardo Sandoval & Gregory Richardson, NY: Tap in Rio, Brazil; Manual Cinema, IL: Santiago a Mil International Festival, Chile; MASAUKO, CA: Bassline Fest (Igoda Circuit), South Africa; Bushfire (Igoda Festival Circuit), Swaziland; and Zafiko Festival (Igoda Festival Circuit), South Africa; Meridionalis, NY: International Sacred Music Festival, Ecuador; Netta Yerushalmy, NY: Tel Aviv Dance, Israel; Roomful of Teeth, MA: Adelaide Festival, Australia and New Zealand Festival, New Zealand; So Percussion, NY: Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Pars’s Steve Reich Festival, France; Spektral Quartet, IL: Reykjavik Arts Festival, Iceland; Target Margin Theater, NY: Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Zimbabwe; The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, PA: CubaDupa, New Zealand and Performance Arcade, New Zealand; The Young Mothers, TX: Matik-Matik Festival, Colombia.

MAAF convened a panel via video conference on October 17, 2019 to review applications in dance, music, and theater. The panel consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as lay-panelists. For a complete list of panelists, please click here.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at

About the National Endowment for the ArtsThe National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

About The Andrew W. Mellon FoundationFounded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at

About the Howard Gilman FoundationHoward Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City.

About the Trust for Mutual UnderstandingThe Trust for Mutual Understanding awards grants to American nonprofit organizations to support direct exchange in the arts and the environment between professionals from the United States and TMU’s geographic region: the Baltic States; Central Asia; Central, East, Southeast Europe; Mongolia; and Russia.

October 21, 2019

What It Takes to Tour Politically-Charged Works to Places Where the Message May Not Be Welcome

In the November 2019 Dance Magazine, Rachel Caldwell reports about how “touring with a message is not for the faint of heart,” and includes reflections from Ananya Chatterjea. Read the article here. Posted with permission from dancemedia/Dance Magazine.

Ananya Chatterjea Isabel Fajardo

October 15, 2019

Cultural Community Benefits Institute convenes in Minneapolis

For three days, Oct. 11-12, 56 artists and organizers from throughout the United States gathered in Minneapolis for the Cultural Community Benefits (CCB) Institute, based on the new ArtChangeUS CCBP Toolkit, edited by Cézanne Charles, a partner of ArtChangeUS.

Pangea World Theatre and Ananya Dance Theatre served as local hosts. Workshop sessions took place at the University of Minnesota’s Barbara Barker Dance Center and at Pangea.

The weekend allowed participants to connect across their specific areas of expertise and to dive deep into the strengths and growth points of the CCBP Toolkit.

The Cultural Community Benefits Principles (CCBP) Toolkit is designed to complement the Cultural Community Benefit Principles Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) template developed by ArtChangeUS. Produced in collaboration with Detroit cultural organizers, the principles are based on ongoing efforts to increase accountability and engender equitable practices across the spheres of public/private real estate development (especially large-scale projects that receive public support) and in the planning and staging of public events, gatherings, and convenings.

ArtChangeUS would like to acknowledge the work of Rise Together Detroit, a coalition of grassroots community organizations from across Detroit that formed to ensure that Detroiters have a seat at the table when it comes to development in Detroit, and that such developments are equitable and inclusive. RTD produced and led the campaign for Community Benefits Ordinance Proposal A on Detroit’s 2016 ballot. This resident- and community-led initiative challenged the institutional practices of real estate development in the City of Detroit, inspiring the work of the principles and this toolkit.

The goal of both the original principles and the toolkit is to offer the wider cultural sector a values-driven and pragmatic approach to building equitable relationships by shifting our field’s institutional practices. This toolkit brings together interviews, case studies, reflective prompts, and group activities to unpack and operationalize the principles.

Every organization operates in its own context; the lessons, practices, and information contained in this toolkit should be used to spur reflection, conversation and creative thinking around the CCBP. The principles ask us to address systemic injustice and structural sources of bias in society by supporting organizations to center and uplift the narratives, experiences, talents, and histories of marginalized people and groups through their cultural convenings, publications, discourse, and events. 

Further, organizations are asked to confer and extend tangible economic benefits to those same communities where possible. Fundamentally, ArtChangeUS and its core partners believe that equity and anti-oppression processes are essential to creating and sustaining relevant, exciting, and influential cultural institutions that embrace difference and the nuances, complexities, and richness that this brings to society.


October 6, 2019

Chatterjea delivers closing ABRACE keynote in São Paulo, Brazil

Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director, Ananya Dance Theatre, delivered the closing keynote address at the 10th Scientific Meeting of the Brazilian Association of Performing Arts Research and Graduate Studies (ABRACE). Held at The University of Campinas (Unicamp) in São Paulo, Brazil, this 10th international conference, Oct. 1-4, focused on performing arts and human rights. Unicamp is one of Brazil’s largest and top-ranked universities.

About the event: 

Performing Arts and Human Rights 
According to the UN, human rights are rights inherent in all human beings, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion or any other condition. They include the right to life and liberty, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many others. This institutionalized set of human rights and guarantees has as its basic purpose the respect for its dignity, through its protection against the discretion of state power and the establishment of minimum living conditions and the development of the human personality.

The purpose of ABRACE’s current management will be the discussion, with its associate body, on Performing Arts and Human Rights.

Following this focus, the 10th ABRACE Scientific Meeting will have as its primary purpose the discussion and problematization of the face-to-face arts in line with human rights. We know that art emanating and produced in one epoch and of a people is an integral part of culture, and that this cultural action has meaning only from the freedom of expression that is an integral part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its Article XIX that versa:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to have opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas by any means and regardless of borders. ”

Thus, the arts, and more specifically, the presential arts, depend on respect for human rights for their own full existence. But beyond that, we believe that the performing arts can also play a key role in the realization, awareness and robustness of the practice of human rights in the world, as well as having the power to produce effects of resistance when these rights are threatened by political conjunctures. , cultural or economic.

The purpose and purpose of this scientific meeting will be to discuss human rights in relation to the arts, and more specifically to the presential arts in their positive character of effectiveness, resilience, resistance and awareness.


August 8, 2019

Exciting, dynamic Sutrajāl debuts at The O'Shaughnessy, Sept. 20-21

Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT), the leading creator of contemporary Indian dance in the global arts and social justice movement, brings a seventh, inspiring production and collaboration to The O’Shaughnessy on Friday-Saturday, September 20-21, 7:30pm, as part of the Women of Substance series. They’ll unravel time and unwritten histories in Sutrajāl: Revelations of Gossamer as a poet, one of the few surviving humans in an imagined Broken City, bears witness. 

In this compelling dance performance, the narrative centers on the life-forms that flicker in and out in the circuitous streets and despair-laden corners of the Broken City. Who were the folks who danced all night at the Global Feminist Funk Underground Club, now haunted and empty? Who were the people who lived their lives fully here before they disappeared? How did they labor? Love?

Throughout Sutrajāl, the artists of ADT connect their performance with a philosophy of social justice, creating original dance theater about the extraordinary work and dreams of women around the world, and to inspire audiences through visual and emotional engagement. 

Sutrajāl (which means “network of connections” in Bengali) is conceived and choreographed by ADT Founder Ananya Chatterjea in collaboration with the artists of ADT, Stage Director Marcus Young, and with support of guest artists Tish Jones and Douglas R. Ewart, and guest dramaturg Sharon Bridgforth. Her creative team includes Renée Copeland (sound design and score composition), Kevin A. Jones (lighting design), Annie Cady (costume design), and Chelsea M. Warren (scenic design).

A free Audience Empowerment Workshop will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7pm-8:30pm, at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, 1197 University Avenue West, Saint Paul. ADT dancers will demonstrate and discuss excerpts from Sutrajāl, with an opportunity for attendees to then join the dancers in making movement together. Reservations are requested at

Tickets for Sutrajāl are $19-$32. 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 or online at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University is located at 2004 Randolph Ave., Saint Paul.


Celebrating 15 years of linking dance and social action, Ananya Dance Theatre is a dance company composed of women artists of color who create People Powered Dances of Transformation™ at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice. Their contemporary dance technique, Yorchha, draws on Classical Odissi, Vinyasa Yoga, and the martial art Chhau. Dancers and collaborators represent many cultural communities in Minnesota: South Asian, Chinese, Hmong, 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. The company premieres one major work annually, and offers touring performances, classes, workshops, and dialogues. ADT is based at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, a women of color-centered space of embodied practice, located at 1197 University Ave. W. in Saint Paul. 


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.


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.

Sutrajāl is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ford Foundation; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; and the Imagine FundSutrajāl  was developed with support from the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation. 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.  

July 26, 2019

NEFA's National Dance Project Announces Annual Awards

(BOSTON, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has awarded $1,800,000 through the National Dance Project (NDP) to support the creation of 20 new dance works that will tour the United States. 

Now in its third decade, National Dance Project is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding and field building for dance, supporting both the creation and touring of new works. A panel of national dance artists, presenters, and arts administrators selected these projects out of 170 competitive applications. The choreographers and companies from around the country include 20 U.S. artists, 11 of which are first-time production grant recipients. Each project will receive $45,000 for the creation of the new work, as well as $10,000 in unrestricted general operating support. A total of $700,000 is allocated to support U.S. organizations to present these works.  

“As we strive to reach artists working in diverse forms from across the country, it’s notable that over half of this year’s awardees are first-time recipients,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We are excited to see communities across the U.S. engage with all of these artists and acknowledge that this would not be possible without the continued support of our funders and partners.”

NDP has invested more than $38.5 million in funding to artists and organizations to strengthen partnerships and bring dance into communities across the U.S. To date, NDP has supported the creation of over 452 new choreographic works that have toured to all 50 states and Washington, DC, reaching over three million audience members.

“We have partnered with NDP since its founding, to help our foundation ensure our funds support contemporary dance artists across the country and connect with audiences in a wide range of communities,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  “The people, projects, and places included in this group of grantees provide a glimpse of the breadth and depth of today’s contemporary dance sector and are a wonderful testament to the vitality of dance.”

“The Mellon Foundation has supported NDP nearly as long as our esteemed colleagues at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Over the past two decades NDP has consistently played a vital role in helping to amplify the national work of diverse and talented danceartists,” said Susan Feder, program officer for Arts and Cultural Heritage at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.“We are deeply grateful to the NEFA staff and panelists for their dedication in assembling this exceptional group from a highly competitive applicant pool, and look forward to their work being seen across the country.”

NEFA’s National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.

The 2019 NDP Production grant recipients are:

To learn more about the grantees and their projects, visit the directory of NDP projects with tour support available on, look for the 2019 program publication available in early September 2019, or contact program staff at


The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

July 17, 2019

ADT receives NPN 2019 Creation & Development Fund Award

Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT) is one of 20 artists/arts organizations that will receive a 2019 Creation & Development Fund Award from the National Performance Network (NPN). The award will support the creation and touring of Āgun, the company’s 2020 production.

Commissioners with NPN are the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, and the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME.

Ananya Dance Theatre congratulates the other 19 awardees, including Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance, Minneapolis, and Mary Prescott, Minneapolis.

Through The Creation & Development Fund, the NPN awards $300,000 – and leverages an additional $1.6 million – in support of the creation of 20 new artistic works. 

Creation & Development Funds are awarded to artists across disciplines, geographies and cultures that reflect NPN’s commitment to advancing racial justice and cultural equity through the arts. Sixteen of the 20 artist companies are first-time Creation Fund recipients, and they hail from 16 cities across the country from Tucson, AZ to Bighill, KY.

The Fund supports the creation, development and mobility of new artistic work resulting in live experiential exchange between artists and community. It provides a framework for relationships to develop over time among diverse artists, arts organizations, and communities.

Through the investment of commissioning funds from cultural organizations and NPN direct subsidies, each project is eligible for multilevel support. Forty-seven organizations from Homer, AK to Wilmington, NC are participating as co-commissioners, which will result in more than 60 paid artist engagements over the next three years.

The Creation and Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency) and Co-commissioners. 

July 11, 2019

Bijayini Satpathy teaches at Shawngram Institute

Bijayini Satpathy, world renowned exponent of Odissi dance, graced the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice for three days, July 9-11, as she worked with the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre. We were honored to have her with us.

Bijayini Satpathy at Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, St. Paul MN.
Bijayini Satpathy at Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, St. Paul MN. Photo by Ananya Chatterjea
Bijayini Satpathy at Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, St. Paul MN. Photo by Ananya Chatterjea

July 6, 2019

Summer classes with Kealoha Ferreira

Find rhythm, groundedness, and flow with dance classes at Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice. No pre-registration or shoes necessary. First class: Always free! Drop-in class: $13. Five-class card: $60. Ten-class card: $110.

The July and August schedule of Intro to Yorchha and Foundations in Yorchha/Buniyaad classes with Artistic Associate Kealoha Ferreira has been posted here.

June 29, 2019

Shawngram Summer Intensive performances

Friday, June 28, was busy at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice as members of the 2019 Shawngram Summer Intensive class completed 45 hours and three weeks of training and presented their finished work to audiences at two performances. Photo by Hui Wilcox.

June 28, 2019

Next generation Yorchha artists presented new work

Ananya Dance Theatre and the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice were delighted to present new solo works created by artists trained in Yorchha, the aesthetic and movement vocabulary.

The performance, under the title Notner Das: New Voices Calling, took place Friday, June 28, 2019.

The artists are works presented:

Kealoha Ferreira: Mākaukau – Preparation and readiness in Hawaiian.

Renée Copeland: Rhizome – A subterranean solo that traces the imagined pathways and emotional landscapes of embodied souls, both recent and ancient, that were held captive by natural states of contradiction right before their chosen departures.

Alexandra Eady: Arise – A solo moving through memories of ancient dreams.

Alessandra Lebea Williams: A Ritual – A reflection on black African femme embodiment, healing, story telling, and memory.

June 19, 2019

ADT performed at Americans for the Arts Convention

The 2019 Americans for the Arts Convention invited Ananya Dance Theatre to perform in advance of the June 15 keynote presentation by Chandrika Tandon at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel.

Carl Atiya Swanson, MBA, Associate Director at Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul, MN, posted remarks to his LinkedIn page:

“Over the [last] weekend, the Twin Cities had hosted the Americans for the Arts Convention (AFTACON), bringing 1,000 arts and culture leaders from around the country and Canada to the Twin Cities. I was honored to organize the local host committee along with the City of Minneapolis Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy, working with artists, arts leaders, government officials, and marketing folks from the Twin Cities.” –READ MORE–

June 17, 2019

ADT & Shawngram hosted reading & performance by Gabrielle Civil

Ananya Dance Theatre and the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice were pleased to host a reading and performance by Gabrielle Civil to activate her new performance memoir, Experiments in Joy, celebrating black feminist collaborations and solos in essays, letters, performance texts, scores, images, and more.

Civil celebrated her new performance memoir with Twin Cities writers and artists: Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe, Moe Lionel, Josina Manu Maltzman, and Miré Regulus.

The book features Civil’s solo encounters with artists and writers, ancestors, and audiences.

Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist performance artist, originally from Detroit, MI. She has premiered over 40 original solo and collaborative performance works around the world. Her performance memoir, Swallow the Fish, was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms Press in 2017, and her second book, Experiments in Joy, was released February 15, 2019.

June 16, 2019

Onurawnon/Vibration performances

Ananya Dance Theatre and the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice presented Onurawnon/Vibration, performances of choreography by Toan Thanh Doan and Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr., June 15.

May 28, 2019

Dance Magazine features Ananya Chatterjea

The June 2019 issue of Dance Magazine featured Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre and co-leader of the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice.

May 2, 2019

Dance/USA awards $1 million+ to 31 Artist Fellows

Ananya Chatterjea, Deneane Richburg & Rosy Simas, all of the Twin Cities, are among the 31.

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce that Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists (DFA) has awarded $1,000,525 in funding to 31 artists addressing social change. The 31 Dance/USA Artist Fellows were selected through a rigorous review by a peer panel. In this pilot round DFA addresses a decades-long issue in the dance field — the importance of supporting individual artists. DFA was established through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. See the list of Dance/USA Artist Fellows hereFind the review panel here.

“We are grateful for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s partnership as we evolve in addressing the needs of the national dance field by raising up the voices of artists who are tackling relevant issues in our society today,” said Dance/USA Executive Director Amy Fitterer. “The Dance/USA Artist Fellows illustrate the ways in which dance flourishes in our country, playing an active and vital role in connecting communities and sustaining cultures.” 

“The Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists program helps dancemakers create both in the manner and with the communities they choose, whether or not their projects result in work for the stage,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “This flexible funding, combined with the program’s shared learning network, will help Fellows grow their artistic practices and connect audiences to the creative process.”

About Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists
DFA provides direct support to dance artists who work through dance to address social change within one or more communities. DFA funds may be used at the artist’s discretion to support costs related to their practice; artists are not required to complete a project or perform. The panel was charged with constructing a fellowship portfolio that reflects a range of artists, practices, and communities. Many of the Dance/USA Artist Fellows utilize community facilitation and organizing to advance issues, including race, disability, and immigration; others are the bearers of cultures that were nearly lost. 

Dance/USA Artist Fellows work in an extremely wide range of dance forms and traditions, including: 

• Indigenous forms, including Alaskan Inuit drum dancing, hula, hoop dance, and Interdisciplinary Native art. 

• Traditional dances of Africa, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

• Latin and Caribbean forms, including salsa, Afro-Cuban, danzon, and capoeira. 

• Black vernacular and urban styles, including Chicago footwork, hip hop, house, social, and club. 

• Percussive forms such as tap and zapateado. 

• Contemporary and post-modern dance, drawing from improvisation, performance art, movement theater, as well as scores of dance forms, including Indian, African diasporic; physically integrated, adaptive, jazz and ice skating.  

Ananya Chatterjea Minneapolis, MN
In her contemporary practice, Chatterjea draws from Indian performance traditions, activist street theater, and community to create workshops, staged and interactive public art performances and to train emerging indigenous and artists of color. She intends to deepen her healing movement practices based on yogic and ayurvedic principles and build community relationships near her space, Shawngram Institute, in St. Paul.

Deneane Richburg Saint Paul, MN
Richburg expands the boundaries of ice skating from a Black perspective, using facilitated conversations and the wisdom of the moving body on and off ice to heal the wounds caused by racial trauma. She intends to spend time on a new work about 17th-19th century Black social dance and explore new formats for post-show discussion.

Rosy Simas Minneapolis, MN
Rosy Simas’ (Seneca) choreographic work centers Native cultural/political persistence, weaving themes of personal/familial/collective identity with matriarchy, sovereignty, equality, and healing. During the fellowship period she will foster new and strengthen existing relationships with urban and rural Native communities, work with Native writers on the contextualization and visibility of writing on Native contemporary dance, focus on documenting her work, and strengthening her tribally based leadership skills.

The DFA Program Director is Suzanne Callahan, founder of Callahan Consulting for the Arts, who has managed other re-granting programs for Dance/USA and other organizations.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz, and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them. For more information, please visit  

About Dance/USA
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive. Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations. Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation. Learn more about Dance/USA at

April 25, 2019

MRAC awards Arts Learning grant to Ananya Dance Theatre

On April 23, 2019, the Metro Regional Arts Council awarded $216,136 to 22 organizations/projects in the second round of its FY 2019 Arts Learning grant program. The awards included a $10,000 grant to Ananya Dance Theatre for the Connective Creations projects at two St. Paul high schools: Gordon Parks High School and the High School for Recording Arts. Activities will take place in late spring and fall of 2019 at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice.

The Arts Learning projects chosen by MRAC panelists will provide high-quality, age-appropriate arts education for Minnesotans to develop knowledge, skills, and understanding through the arts for children, youth, and adults by engaging people in extended arts experiences and activities with clearly articulated learning objectives. The Arts Learning grant program is a direct result of the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment.

April 3, 2019

ADT's Alessandra Williams joining Rutgers' dance faculty

Dr. Alessandra Williams, dance artist-scholar-educator, has accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

Dr. Williams is a dancer and scholar whose academic interests include dance and performance studies, Asian and African American culture, transnational feminism, queer of color theory, and comparative studies of race and ethnicity. Having joined the Minneapolis-based Ananya Dance Theatre to train in the company’s Yorchhā technique in 2006, she has performed in seven productions: Pipaashaa: Extreme Thirst (2007), Ashesh Barsha: Unending Monsoon (2009), Moreechika: Season of Mirage (2012), Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine (2015), Horidraa: Golden Healing (2016), Shyamali: Sprouting Words (2017), and Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds (2018).

Dr. Williams recently worked alongside artistic director Dr. Ananya Chatterjea and founding company member Dr. Hui Wilcox to submit their book manuscript Meditation on Dream, an anthology of poetic and scholarly essays on the relationship between choreography and race, gender, sexuality, and diaspora and indigenous frameworks. In other publications, she has theorized the choreography of David Roussève/REALITY dance company as a form of decolonizing alliances in Talking Black Dance Inside Out/Outside In, edited by Takiyah Nur Amin and Thomas DeFrantz (Conversation Across the Field of Dance Series XXXVI).

As Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow, Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Culture and Performance at UCLA. Through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, she finished her B.A. with honors in American Studies and Dance at Macalester College. From 2018-2019, she served as Inclusive Excellence Fellow in Women’s and Gender Studies and Theatre and Dance at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she choreographed two original pieces for the spring dance concert, and also served on committees supporting diversity and inclusion efforts. From 2016-7, she taught as Visiting Assistant Professor in the dance program of Carleton College.

March 23, 2019

Complex-Standing-There: Ananya Chatterjea's Transnational Dance

Urban Bush Women Choreographic Fellowship Candidate Ananya Chatterjea (Ananya Dance Theatre) speaks with E. Gaynell Sherrod resulting in a “no-holds-barred portrayal of Chatterjea – a transnational feminist, choreographer, performing artist and scholar with exceptional acumen for creating transformational dance-theatre that challenges systemic injustice.”

In this post, the second in a five-part series of articles offering insight into the UBW 2018-2019 co-hort of choreographers redefining the world of dance today; Chatterjea talks with E. Gaynell Sherrod about her origins as choreographer and organizer and her desire to be authentically seen.

Click here for full article.