In “Kshoy!/Decay!” (“kshoy” is the Bengali word for “decay”), the company uses a potent metaphor — mud, as in dirt that sticks to skin — to explore the afterlives of African, Asian and other women of color forced to relocate or evacuate from their homelands. The piece investigates how women have worked through multiple and repeated histories of dislocation, relocation, evacuation and violence in the name of tradition. “Kshoy!/Decay!” is the first work in a new four-part investigation into violence, trauma, resistance and empowerment experienced by communities of color, using the elements of mud, gold, oil and water as metaphor.


World Premiere: September 9, 2010, The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Concept & Choreography: Ananya Chatterjea

Co-Created: Laurie Carlos

Music Composition, Arrangement and Sound Design: Greg Schutte, Laurie Carlos, Mankwe Ndosi, Pooja Goswami Pavan

Scenographer: Annie Katsura Rollins

Costume Design: Annie Katsura Rollins

Lighting Design: Mike Wangen

Dancers: Sherie Apungu, Sarah Beck-Esmay, Ananya Chatterjea, Renée Copeland, Kenna-Camara Cottman, Yan Huss, Gina Kundan, Lela Pierce, Stefania Strowder, Chitra Vairavan, Hui Niu Wilcox

Production & Stage Manager: Michela Cornell

Assistant Stage Managers: Jessica Elhert & Jen Aubrecht

Video Documentation & Production: Darren Johnson & Northern Dawn Media

Technical Consultant: John Marks

Lobby Exhibit Constructed by: Juxtaposition Arts

Artistic Director’s Note: by Ananya Chatterjea

In 2009, Ananya Dance Theatre celebrated the culmination of a trilogy of works on environmental justice issues. Building on lessons learned from that intensive engagement with issues that haunt our communities, this year we are launching a quartet of works exploring the multiple ways in which women in global communities of color experience and resist violence. However, we do not want to “domesticate” violence – see it as individual occurrences for which an individual, somebody else, can be blamed. Rather, we wanted to dance about the systemic recurrence of violence that rent our shared histories.

The four evening-length pieces that will be created in this series will explore violence through the paradigms of mud, gold, oil, and water, naturally occurring elements and resources, which have all been mined and harnessed in ways that have directly or indirectly led to horrific histories of violence.

Kshoy!/Decay! explores stories of mud, the land that sticks to skin: stories of our attachment to and wrenching away from land, of dislocation, relocation, evacuation, exile, and “home.” Current events, local histories, cultural memories have intersected in the creative process where our footwork and breath patterns have intersected with Laurie Carlos’ “jazz aesthetic.” Stories of lost homes in Haiti have mixed with memories of Sri Lankan Tamil women in refugee camps, of unrest in Liberia and in India. In the end, we always returned to remember the spirit and memories women have mined so they can rebuild, and the labor they have put into building home, reconstructing relationships and community, surviving, and committing  to life processes.

I want to thank the dancers in this project for their powerful work and tremendous generosity: their work, memories, thoughts, commitment have provided me invaluable support in this complex creative journey. To them, and to my brilliant collaborators, in particular to Laurie Carlos, I owe deep gratitude.


Director’s Note: by Laurie Carlos

A work for dance / A multivocality / This design on violence is covered in mud and dusted with sharp gesture to hold memory. Everyone moves on the diagonal cross dialogues of multilingual diasporas. Everyone on the lines knows some part of these disasters, these exiles, this dying, these gulps. Set to release/ reset to capture/ breath to hold /reset /move to kick /flex/ foot /struggle/ release everything twice.


Seed — Tears – Mud Story
Exile – Tiger — Hands, wretched hands
In The Back of Her Life – Blessing — Ghost – Empty House –
Catching Spirit, Catching Memory – Swallowing the Night
Verdad – Two Crows — Trials –
Fish Stories — Mud Story