“Shyamali” explores how proactive dissent fuels life force and growth, recognizes the courage of women who speak up, talk back, and embody dissent to sustain communities against injustice, and celebrates women who refuse to be broken.
The word “shyamali” means dark green in Bengali, inspired by the springy resilience of grass and ground cover plants.
In this work, we stretch the practice of rasa (emotional expression) from Indian classical dance theater, to invoke the aesthetic of the Dakini, a wrathful female spirit in Tantric Hinduism, dancing with frenzy and ferocity. While the Dakini traditionally embodies destruction, chaos, and transformation, her force ultimately captures the union of emptiness and wisdom. This duality is seen in our generation of Aanch (heat) when fast, furious dancing echoes histories of devastation and depletion, followed by images of rebirth, sustained breath, and fluid movements.
“Shyamali” is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Imagine Fund, and The O’Shaughnessy. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
“Shyamali: Sprouting Words” is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA, in partnership with the Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI, the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). The Forth Fund is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information: www.npnweb.org.