Chitra Vairavan

Rehearsal Director, founding member. Since 2004.

I am a contemporary Indian dancer. I am a Tamil (South Indian)-American, immersed in both Tamil culture and progressive brown politics here in the U.S. I dance to heal and teach dance to help heal others. I dance because my family and friends have always encouraged my expression as a dancer from childhood. I dance to tell my story. I dance because it is my responsibility. Dance is love and expression to me.

My journey with Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT) began because I was in search of both a political and artistic outlet in college, and dance was my artistic training. Shortly after I began with ADT, I realized the politics, form, values, aesthetic and discipline is worth making my life practice. ADT is part of my family.

A transformational moment in my dance experience is during the first production, Bandh: A Meditation on Dream (2005). Accomplishing the poetry of the “long back women” movement, on my own dedication and will, earned me both respect and confidence in myself as a dancer early on. Ananya (or A-di as she is known in the company) has kept me by her side ever since. Looking back at the video of that production, that time, takes me back to the passion and fire we created through the training process of ADT in that first year we formed as a collective of women of color -sweating, laboring, and dreaming together.

One of the most poetic, meaningful pieces that I have performed with ADT is a solo called Bird, during the production of Moreechika: Season of Mirage (2012). The solo, began as a dream of A-di’s of me perched on another dancer’s back as a bird stuck in oil. And it took flight from there through text, research and my own poetry and interpretation – which A-di sculpted. The process of creating and performing Bird, brought me to a new level of nuance in my artistry.