August 8, 2020

ADT's Shawngram classes continue online

Ananya Dance Theatre’s Kealoha Ferreira & Alexandra Eady

Hello Community!

It was powerful linking arm-in-arm with you during the Uprising. As we grow in our practice of resistance and resilience we feel the time has come to offer Virtual Yorchhā Classes again!

Tues: Yorchhā Strong, 9-9:30am, Central
Wed: Intro to Yorchhā, 6:30-7:30pm, Central
Fri: Intro to Yorchhā, 6:30-7:30pm, Central
Sun: Advanced Yorchhā, 3-4pm, Central

To participate, email for the class link. Suggested donation of $10-20 per class.

Class Descriptions:

Yorchhā Strong- Join Ananya Dance Theatre artist, Alexandra Eady for a 30 minute movement practice of building and releasing heat through cardio, strength and mobility movements. This class is for all levels. Modifications and progressions will be offered so that all feel comfortable and safe participating.

Intro to Yorchhā- Envision justice through rhythmic footwork, flowing torso, and sustained breath in Intro to Yorchhā with Ananya Dance Theatre Artistic Associate, Kealoha Ferreira. Each class begins with a warm-up followed by foundational Yorchhā exercises and a fun choreographed phrase.

Advanced Yorchhā- Dive into the nuance and complexity of Yorchhā with Ananya Dance Theatre Artist, Alexandra Eady. Advanced Yorchhā, is designed to challenge and hone experienced movers through strength training, technique refinement, and intricate choreography. Previous Yorchhā experience is encouraged.

Yorchhā, is Ananya Dance Theatre’s trade marked contemporary Indian technique that intersects principles of Vinyasa Yoga, classical Indian dance form Odishi (from the eastern Indian state of Odisha) and martial art form Chhau (also from Odisha).

Liability Disclaimer:
By participating in these virtual classes, you agree that Ananya Dance Theatre is not responsible for, and you hereby waive all claims for, loss, injury, or illness to person or property relating to your participation in dance classes and other activities sponsored by Ananya Dance Theatre.

May 29, 2020

Thank you, dear friends...

Thank you, dear friends, for your vigilance and unyielding support.

Ananya Dance Theatre is in no danger of closing. Not from COVID-19, and not from vandalism. However, we must prepare for what the weekend may bring, and we must contend with many of the uncertainties and challenges that all of the performing arts face in the year ahead.

Stay with us as our information and path forward evolve.

May 19, 2020

ADT at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography

When Ananya Dance Theatre’s artistic director, Ananya Chatterjea, received an Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative Fellowship, it carried with it residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) at Florida State University, Sept. 23-28, 2019, and Feb. 15-22, 2020.

This film by Rheannah Wynter and Chris Cameron captures the essence of those residencies, work with FSU Dance students, and research for “Fires of Lost Homes,” with dancers Kealoha Ferreira, Alexandra Eady, and Lizzette Chapa, and Sharon Bridgforth, writer, Spirit McIntyre, composer, the Florida People’s Advocacy Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Our thanks to MANCC, Florida State University, and Urban Bush Women!

Ananya Chatterjea “Fires of Lost Homes” Research in 2020 from MANCC on Vimeo.

March 31, 2020

Performance videos and classes available online

Full-length videos from Ananya Dance Theatre‘s repertoire will be available online for the duration of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s “stay-at-home” order.

Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine, 2015, will be available for viewing on Vimeo from 12pm CDT, April 3, through 8pm CDT, April 10: Running time: 01:48:34.

Program notes & production credits:

Duurbaar: Journeys into Horizon, 2006, will be available for viewing on Vimeo from 12pm CDT, April 10, through 8pm CDT, April 17: Running time: 01:17:56.

Program notes & production credits:

Moreechika: Season of Mirage, 2012, will be available for viewing on Vimeo from 12pm CDT, April 17, through 8pm CDT, May 8: Running time: 01:25:55.

Program notes & production credits:

Sutrajāl: Revelations of Gossamer, 2019, will be available for viewing on Vimeo from 12pm CDT, April 24, through 8pm CDT, May 8: Running time: 01:30:27.

Program notes & production credits:

All production videos are provided free of charge, but if you would like to donate to Ananya Dance Theatre, please visit

Ananya Dance Theatre and the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice are re-framing classes for the remainder of Minnesota’s “Stay-at-Home Order” using two online platforms. Click here for details:


March 29, 2020

Virtual dance classes with Ananya Dance Theatre

We are re-framing classes for the remainder of Minnesota’s “Stay-at-Home Order” using two online platforms.

On Zoom, we offer Intro to Yorchha dance classes with Kealoha Ferreira:

Friday, 3/27, 4/3 & 4/10, 6:30pm-7:30pm CDT
Saturday, 3/28 & 4/4, 10am-11am CDT
Tuesday, 3/31 & 4/7, 9:30am-10:30am CDT

To participate, send an email to by 30 minutes before class time to receive an invitation link to join the online class.

On Facebook Live (, we offer Yorchha Burst – shorter, midday movement for the whole family. Sometimes stretching, sometimes strength-building, sometimes a burst of new grooves. 

Monday, 3/30 & 4/6, 12pm-12:30pm CDT
Wednesday, 4/1 & 4/8, 12pm-12:30pm CDT

By participating in these virtual classes, you agree that Ananya Dance Theatre is not responsible for loss, injury, or illness to person or property relating to your participation in these classes. 

All of our virtual classes are free, but if you would like to donate for participating or simply make a gift to Ananya Dance Theatre, please visit

March 15, 2020


All classes at Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice have been cancelled for March 16-31. The March 28 dialogue, “Tracing Hmong Aesthetics,” has been postponed to a date TBD.

February 27, 2020

Registration opens for Shawngram Summer Intensive

Application link: | Scholarships available, based on need.

Dates: Monday-Friday, June 15-26, 2020, 9am-1pm (We recognize and continue to monitor the uncertainty of our times, and we will respond to changes in the environment if needed.)

There will be an informal showing on Friday, June 26 at 12pm and 6pm.

Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngram Summer Intensive is a 2-week training program in St. Paul, Minnesota (4 hours/day, 5 days/week). It will introduce Yorchha™, our unique movement aesthetic, in technique classes that build in complexity over 2 weeks, and our particular choreographic process of creating dance from the stories of our lives.

This program is part of Ananya Dance Theatre’s ongoing commitment to train next generations artists of color for professional engagement in dance.

This summer intensive embodies and enunciates our core principles: that moving and negotiating space with strangers, and connecting ourselves to our bodies and life stories through metaphoric movement, allows us to access experiences and power that have yet to be articulated.

Yorchha™ brings together movement principles from Odissi, the classical Indian dance technique, Chhau, the East Indian martial art, and Vinyasa Yoga.

For questions, please write to

January 15, 2020

NEA support for Ananya Dance Theatre & The O'Shaughnessy

Washington, DC—Chairman Mary Anne Carter announced today that organizations in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will receive federal funding for arts projects from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in this round of fiscal year 2020 funding. Overall, 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million will provide Americans opportunities for arts participation, and this year include projects that celebrate the Women’s Suffrage Centennial.

The NEA recommended grants totaling $951,000 for 45 Minnesota organizations, including $10,000 for Ananya Dance Theatre and $15,000 for The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support grants throughout the entire country that connect people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “These projects provide access to the arts for people of all abilities and backgrounds in both urban centers and rural communities.”

A complete list of NEA grantees is here.

December 31, 2019

A manifesto for contemporary dance-making in a new decade

10-Cornered Stakes of Contemporary Dance-Making at Times of High Imperatives |  by Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director

• The world in 2020 is a very different place from what it was when Ananya Dance Theatre was birthed 15 years ago.

• I enter 2020 with clarity about the stakes of my Contemporary Dance-Making. 

• My imperative: To make dance move with relevance through the polarized devastation of the current world.

Sutrajāl: Revelations of Gossamer (2019) Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

1. Practice: The body is home. Practice movement with 100% integrity, allowing different intelligences to emerge in consciousness, grounding the kinesthetic, physical, and visceral as modes of making meaning. The physical practices of shared rhythm, non-verbal interaction, moving together in spaces, and asserting presence constitute a core methodology of dance.

2. Low-flying Relevancies: Connect with urgent, age-old currents within communities that emerge in new forms and grassroots movements. As cultural fault lines often precede policy shifts, think dance-making as manifesting the cultural codes within resistance movements on the ground. Dance for life and for justice. #occupydance.

3. Marma/Nerve-root: Old-fashioned as it may sound, dancing is meaningful, activated by and activating sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Hold stories as fragmented, abstract, inter-connected mosaics in the body, in ways that strike the nervous core of our shared humanity as acts of presencing, energetic, sense-drawings of a more just universe.

4. Parābāstab/Hyper-reality: Surrender to the surreal, absurd, and illogical connections, and the uncanny juxtapositions in choreographic structure that were core to Bengali folklore. Simultaneously, divorce daily logic as an organizing principle. This is our roadmap to an ecosystem undergirded by visions of equity.

5. Magic: Claim Maya, the dramatic and passionately magical charge of the universe, ever-shifting, refusing stabilization, forever spirit, forever multiple. And claim Emotion, not as a flat state of being, but as a portal to knowing self-in-community. It might not be entertaining; entertainment is not our goal, shared pleasure is.

6. Ākasmik/Metalogic: Reject conventional meanings and narrative arcs. Invite audiences to reflect on the world when emotions, events, and rhythms can turn on a dime, and indicate the striking possibilities that lie folded within the surface of the stage.

7. Time-Space Juxtapositions: As the dance of the universe is choreographed on multiple planes, reflect simultaneity, resonance and connectivity with winding, looping, and defiant time-space bendings. This is key to illuminating the intersectional, global, feminist space that shapes our contemporary understanding of the world.

8. Indrajāl/Extraordinary Networks: Reiterate the power and flow of feminine, not female, divine energy. Flex the infinitely extensible and tensile Love, Connectivity, and Intimacy. This is the culmination of lessons learned from women across the world who have taken on care-work, caring for entire communities, as modes of resistance.

9. Inquilab Zinabad/Long live the revolution: Riffing off of Freirean ideals, embrace performance, not just as rehearsal for revolution, but as offering vital clues to embody protest via ensemble work that still celebrates different phrase work. Make space for active, choice-filled witnessing, not accidental bystanding, so we can hold stories that do not find their way to the surface. #shawngramchoreographicmethodology

10. Refuse invulnerability: The closing of artistic vulnerability is the success of racism, and the success of the strong-woman-of-color-safety-device. Refuse the inevitable big finish, play with anti-beauty, make space for rage and fury, clear rhythm for grieving. Trace the work that is necessary in the room, in the community, in the world right now.

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.