September 25, 2022

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks operations manager

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks to hire a full-time Operations Manager.

The Operations Manager reports to and works closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director to manage the operations of the company.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a professional dance company of BIPOC women and femme artists working at the intersection of excellence, contemporary dance theater, social justice, and transnational feminisms. Our physical facility, the Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice is located at 1197 University Ave West, St Paul, MN, and is equipped with ADA-compliant access ramp and rest rooms. Typically, the company presents at least one new, devised performance annually, and is engaged in touring, offering community-based experiences, workshops, classes, and site-specific public art works. The company prides itself on developing deep roots in our local community along with wide-spreading branches in our transnational relationships. 

Who We’re Looking For

We are looking for a Twin-Cities based professional who will work closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director, and in keeping with the community-embedded professional culture the company has carefully nurtured since its inception. The person who is right for this position is a resourceful, proactive thought leader and problem solver, committed to a mission of BIPOC women and femme-centered social justice choreography, collaborative, energetic, people-oriented, and nurturing of the community connections that enliven our work. 

This is a person who also works relatively independently to manage projects and makes decisions in close cooperation with other ADT colleagues, in keeping with the company’s culture.

This position does not have fixed hours per day every week, and the ideal candidate understands that their schedule will need to flexibly prioritize company activities. Much of the work of this position can be accomplished remotely.

Key Competencies

●      Bottom-line reliability;

●      A generalist who tends to details in many areas in pursuit of meaning and accomplishment;

●      A positive, can-do attitude reflected in forward-thinking that focuses on executing the details of short- and long-term tactics, strategies, and objectives;

●      Understanding of and shared interest in social justice art-making and alternative, BIPOC-led aesthetics and artistic processes;

●      Ability to articulate coherent stories orally and in writing;

●      Strong written and verbal communication and marketing skills;

●      Computer literacy and proficiency with Google Documents, Microsoft Office, Airtable, and online QuickBooks;

●      Strategic and tactical insight into the uses of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online platforms;

●      General facility to maintain technical equipment, e.g. alarm system, printer, etc.;

●      Experience managing information in spreadsheets and other office software;

●      Basic budgeting and accounting skills to maintain the baseline documentation for the organization’s bookkeeper, accountants, and auditor;

●      Ability to organize, plan, facilitate, and manage activities to meet deadlines;

●      Personal ability to troubleshoot, problem solve, and navigate the nuances that balance the resources and dreams of a growing, mighty dance company.  

Job responsibilities

  1. Facility Maintenance: Manage building needs, such as contemporaneous security issues, monitor security cameras, manage key access for personnel, arrange for internal repairs, maintain supplies, communicate with landlord and neighbors about concerns, needs, activities;
  2. Institute Schedule: Maintain schedule of Institute activities, particularly events that involve external parties, such as showings, rentals, etc.;
  3. Communications / Social Media: Manage incoming administrative email, assist in updating website, and monitor Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts; assist the Managing Director with other external communications; develop and maintain constituent snail and email lists for students, audiences, and donors; update and maintain Airtable database;
  4. Bookkeeping / Accounting: Manage internal accounting for deposits and accounts payable, posting receipts and expenditures to QuickBooks software; maintain paper and electronic backup of transactions; primary contact for outside bookkeeper and tax accountant;
  5. Payroll: Manage bi-weekly and monthly employee payroll with outside bookkeeper, and payments to contractors;
  6. Data Entry: Postings to QuickBooks software and maintain Airtable database;
  7. Retrieve mail from post office box;
  8. General Office Administration: As assigned and assumed;
  9. Activities Files: Maintain electronic and paper files for all activity as repositories for correspondence, contracts, photos, and other items throughout the year;
  10. Event Management: Manage online/streaming activities, assisting with ADA compliance, set up, tear down, and technical aspects of these events; 
  11. Track and compile participant activity statistics for all activities: classes, workshops, performances, online streams, tour residencies;
  12. Development: Assist Managing Director in communicating and managing fundraising initiatives.

Compensation

The Operations Manager is budgeted to be a 1.00 FTE employee compensated at $48,000 annually. Ananya Dance Theatre will provide a MacIntosh laptop for virtual and in-person employment service.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a mission-based, nonprofit performing arts organization. Working in this sector can be personally rewarding, with intrinsic benefits and distinct opportunities for growth. We recognize that our compensation does not match that of the private sector nor of more highly resourced arts organizations. We are committed to working to increase compensation and benefits for all of our people. Candidates for employment should consider carefully their decision to work in this field before seeking or accepting a position at Ananya Dance Theatre. 

More Information

Please visit our website for more information: www.ananyadancetheatre.org 

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume to Irna.Landrum@ananyadancetheatre.org.

Please include “Operations Manager” in the email’s subject line. Please include the following information: your interest in the position and the organization, evidence of the required experience, and contact information. Applicants will be screened on a rolling basis until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified of decisions in a timely fashion.

September 13, 2022

Ananya Dance Theatre and Shawngrām Institute announce guest curators for Chawrchā, NextGen ChoreoLab.

Prominent members of the Twin Cities arts communities, Sarah Bellamy and Anh-Thu Pham, will join Ananya Chatterjea in curating the artists who will constitute the first two cohorts of this ChoreoLab. Together, they will curate six artists from BIPOC communities into a year-long program over two years (two cohorts), where they will be supported through their process of creating and rehearsing a piece, receiving feedback from three national mentors.

In keeping with the company’s mission, Chawrchā prioritizes social justice-directed dance-making and artistry that emerges from non-western aesthetic bases.

The Bengali word Chawrchā means research and practice.

Anh Thu T. Pham, Managing Director of Theater Mu

Anh Thu T. Pham is the Managing Director at Theater Mu where she is the first Asian American managing director. A 1.5-generation refugee from Viet Nam, she has served on the boards of Pangea World Theater, Ananya Dance Theater, and the New Arab American Theater Works. She has worked as a cultural consultant for the Guthrie Theater in their production of Vietgone and the Stages Theatre’s adaptation of A Different Pond. She currently serves on the advisory committee of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota and the board of Northern Lights MN. Anh Thu is a  community activist and organizer at heart, she was a member of Rad Azns (Asians for Black Lives Matter) prior to starting her position at Theater Mu. 

Sarah Bellamy, Stage Director and President of Penumbra Theatre

Sarah Bellamy is a nationally renowned racial equity facilitator and practitioner of racial healing. Her methods are holistic, profound, and foster powerful intimacy and authenticity for clients. She brings a wealth of scholarship, strategic acuity, and deep compassion to consultative and coaching relationships. Her writing focuses on memoir, personal essays, plays, and short stories. She is a stage director and the president of Penumbra, a center for racial healing that houses one of the nation’s oldest and largest African American theatre companies. Sarah has been awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, and served on the Board of Directors for Theatre Communications Group. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Jerome Foundation. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and two small children. More at www.sbellamy.com

August 30, 2022

Ananya Dance Theatre & the Shawngrām Institute launch Chawrchā, a next-generation choreographic lab

Ananya Dance Theatre & the Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice is launching Chawrchā, a next-generation choreographic lab, with the support of the Jerome Foundation.

Six artists from BIPOC communities will be curated into a year-long program over two years (two cohorts), where they will be supported through their process of creating and rehearsing a piece, receiving feedback from three national mentors. In keeping with the company’s mission, Chawrchā prioritizes social justice-directed dance-making and artistry that emerges from non-western aesthetic bases.

The Bengali word Chawrchā means research and practice.

We will post a fuller announcement with more details soon. In the meantime, please write to ananya.chatterjea@ananyadancetheatre.org with questions.

 

August 4, 2022

Ananya Dance Theatre premieres Nün Gherāo in Saint Paul, 9/30-10/1

 Ananya Dance Theatre explores betrayal, dispossession and exile, and the desperate global resistance against great odds that fuels hope and survival in a new piece that premieres at The O’Shaughnessy Friday-Saturday, September 30-October 1 at 7:30pm. Using the 1978-79 massacre of 10,000 refugees on the Marichjhapi Island in West Bengal, India, as its point of departure, Nün Gherāo: Surrounded by Salt tags and stimulates different sites of memory through meditations on dancing in salt water, where one’s tears meet the rising and warming oceans of our world. 

ASL interpreted on Friday, September 30.

Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea and performed by the artists of Ananya Dance Theatre, Nün Gherāo (“noon ghey-raow”) becomes activated through shared breath and rhythms, practices of mourning, overlapping time cycles, ritualized movement, dances of liberation and personal connection. The choreographic language of Yorchhā employs movement principles of Odissi, Mayurbhanj Chhau and Vinyasa Yoga to articulate a contemporary feminist consciousness and aesthetic. 

Chatterjea said, “The overarching inspiration for the work comes from poet Agha Shahid Ali’s line ‘Your history stands in the way of my memory’ (Farewell, 1997), and it plays with different dimensions of time – history, memory and futurity. I grew up in Kolkata – only 40 miles from Marichjhapi Island – and yet I knew little about the massacre. Current world events sparked my longing to find out more. Yet it wasn’t until a recent visit back to India that I became motivated to look more intensely at the horrific slaughter and connect it to eco-disasters and social justice.” 

The world premiere features the work of an exceptional team of collaborators, including sound artist Spirit McIntyre (performing live), stage director Marcus Young, lighting designer Kevin A. Jones, costume designer Annie Cady, scenery designer Chelsea Warren, properties designer Kezia Florence, writer Mimi Mondal and film designer Darren Johnson

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University is located at 2004 Randolph Ave. in Saint Paul. Ananya Dance Theatre and The O’Shaughnessy are implementing Pay What You Can for these performances. The suggested ticket price is $30. For more information and tickets, contact The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office at 651-690-6700 or online at https://oshag.stkate.edu/.

Nün Gherāo:  Surrounded by Salt (World premiere)

Choreography:  Ananya Chatterjea (Minneapolis) 

Sound score:  Spirit Paris McIntyre; performing live (New Orleans) 

Stage director: Marcus Young (St. Paul)

Lighting design: Kevin A. Jones (Minneapolis)

Costume design: Annie Cady (St. Paul)

Scenic design: Chelsea Warren (Minneapolis)

Properties design:  Kezia Florence (Minneapolis)

Writer:  Mimi Mondal (New York)

Film design:  Darren Johnson (Minneapolis)

ABOUT ANANYA DANCE THEATRE (ADT)

Ananya Dance Theatre is a company of cultural activists and BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists who believe in the transformative power of dance. In dancing stories where lives and dreams of the global majority occupy the center, ADT shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds understanding about arts and social justice, and empowers artistic voices.

Nün Gherāo was commissioned by the Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Nün Gherāo was created in part during a residency at the Pillow Lab at Jacob’s Pillow. Nün Gherāo is supported by the City of Saint Paul Cultural Sales Tax Rehabilitation Program and by the Marbrook Foundation. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. This project is also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. Ananya Dance Theatre is supported by the Regional Cultural Treasures Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Ford Foundation and McKnight Foundation. 

ABOUT THE O’SHAUGHNESSY St. Catherine University and The O’Shaughnessy staff carefully curate a selection of artistic offerings that highlight women’s voices and center themes of social justice, reflecting the University’s mission to educate women to lead and influence. Programming includes live dance, music, and theater performances as well as a Speaker Series designed by St. Catherine University faculty to foster learning and dialogue. In addition, many local arts organizations call The O’Shaughnessy home. The venue provides a high quality, 1,800-seat performance space, smaller spaces that can accommodate more intimate performances, technical staff who are experts in their field, and professional, patron-focused ticketing services and front of house support. With a legacy in Saint Paul of over 50 years and more than 30,000 patrons who attend annually, the O’Shaughnessy is one of the largest performing arts venues in the Twin Cities. oshag.stkate.edu 

August 2, 2022

Freedom celebration censors Ananya Dance Theatre's social justice choreography

Ananya Dance Theatre rehearsal excerpts celebrate democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of excellence. Music score by Spirit McIntyre. Bols and choreography by Ananya Chatterjea. Performed by Kealoha Ferreira, Alexandra Eady, Parisha Rajbhandari, Ananya Chatterjea, Laichee Yang, Lizzette Marie Chapa, Noelle Awadallah, and Alexis Araminta Reneé.

by Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director

On August 15, 2022, India will mark its 75th year as an independent, democratic nation! 

I was delighted when the curators of the Indo-American Arts Council, sponsors of an important cultural festival in New York, invited Ananya Dance Theatre to be part of their celebrations marking this important milestone. In reply to the curators’ invitation, I detailed the thematic focus of the work I proposed to perform on August 6. The work takes its point of departure from the 1979 Morichjhnapi massacre of large numbers of Dalit communities in West Bengal, and explores stories of loss and displacement. The piece is a tribute to freedom seekers everywhere, something that seemed in line with a nation celebrating 75 years of freedom from British colonial rule. I shared detailed program notes that were posted to the festival’s website early in July. 

In my mind, our dance, though entirely different from other pieces on the program in its explicit political orientation, was offering the best of what I have learned from my Indian, specifically Bengali, upbringing – aesthetic clarity and power, spiritual fervor, an unquenchable thirst for freedom – as embodied in the dancework.

In my artistic life, I have chiseled my dance-making as social justice choreography, nurtured by my growing years in Kolkata, India, and matured through my work with exceptional professionals, primarily Black and brown artists, who comprise the company, Ananya Dance Theatre. My artistic work is not literal story-telling; it is metaphoric contemporary dance. I believe that the curators understood all of this. 

A contract was agreed to, flights from Minnesota to New York were booked, and hotel rooms reserved. Intense rehearsals in Saint Paul ensued. This Friday, we would have been en route to New York, celebrating democracy, artistic freedom, and artistic excellence.

Then, a month ago, the IAAC’s board of directors canceled our participation, calling it an “ABSOLUTE NO” for their “birthday party” because it did not fit the mood of the festival. In conversation, I shared that, while the dance was not an overt, “joyous celebration” of the nation as they encouraged, it certainly moved through loss and pain toward a reclamation of freedom. 

I invited the directors to watch a rehearsal over Zoom, specifically to witness how my choreography of a resistance movement ends in an energetic circle dance that celebrates liberation everywhere. They demurred, and instead proceeded to censor my work by removing us from their website and erasing my artistic voice from their celebration. 

Multivocality and dissent are traditional in a democracy, and the legacy of India, a nation that had once been hailed as the largest democracy in the world is, in fact, protest. However, it is pertinent to note that, in the 2022 ratings on the Human Freedom Index, India has slipped to 119th place. (https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/freedom-index-by-country)

As I look out at the broad field of dance and, in particular, Indian dance, I notice how tropes such as “spiritual,” “sacred,” “mythological,” and “holy,” are being deployed to assimilate “Indian dance” to a particular and narrow notion of Hinduism, which belies the rich syncretism and multiple voices that are inherent in our cultural fabric. Censorship is a stealthy, slippery slope that slides across borders, aggressively snuffing out spaces for dissent globally.

Ananya Dance Theatre and its work that draws from traditional Indian forms of Odissi dance, the martial art Chhau, and Vinyasa Yoga, will not be performing with other artists of the Indian diaspora in New York this weekend. 

Instead, I share the accompanying brief excerpts from our rehearsals as my contribution to this celebration of democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of excellence. My choreography chooses to remember and uplift histories we are asked to forget, such that democracy and independence can be protected in years to come.

June 9, 2022

Dancing Transnational Feminisms: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice

Join us Monday, June 20, at 6pm CDT, for a free, 90-minute event live-streamed from the Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice. Hear from the anthology’s contributors, editors, and others. https://youtu.be/OXMMzkNLREM

An anthology, Dancing Transnational Feminisms: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice, is available to the public following its January publication by the University of Washington Press. The volume, which elevates the voices of 22 contributors, was edited by present and past members of Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT): Ananya Chatterjea, Hui Niu Wilcox, and Alessandra Lebea Williams.

Through empowered movement that centers the lives, stories, and dreams of marginalized women, ADT has revealed how the practice of and commitment to artistic excellence can catalyze social justice. With each performance, this professional dance company of Black, Brown, and Indigenous gender non-conforming women and femmes of color challenges heteronormative patriarchies, white supremacist paradigms, and predatory global capitalism. Its creative artistic processes and vital interventions have transformed the spaces of contemporary concert dance into sites of empowerment, resistance, and knowledge production. 

Drawing from more than 15 years of collaborative dance-making and sustained dialogues based on deep alliances across communities of color, Dancing Transnational Feminisms offers a multigenre exploration of how dance can be intersectionally reimagined as practice, methodology, and metaphor for feminist solidarity.

Blending essays with stories, interviews, and poems, this collection explores timely questions surrounding race and performance, gender and sexuality, art and politics, global and local inequities, and the responsibilities of artists toward their communities.

Ananya Chatterjea is professor of dance at the University of Minnesota. Hui Niu Wilcox is professor of sociology, critical studies of race and ethnicity, and women’s studies at St. Catherine University. Alessandra Lebea Williams is assistant professor of dance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“Honest, true, and poignant, ADT demonstrates throughout the pages of this book that the affect of being with, in relationship alongside, and in creative alliance for a purposeful act is a labor of love and a beautiful thing to behold.”

– from the foreword by D. Soyini Madison

Dancing Transnational Feminisms is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary political and artistic labor of Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT). Theorizing deeply embodied epistemologies anchored in the histories, experiences, and agency of marginalized communities of Black, brown, and indigenous women and femmes, contributors offer an entirely new and original grammar of transnational feminist solidarity. The work of ADT engaged here offers a beautiful, evocative tapestry of dreaming, dancing, theorizing, and organizing such that body and movement become the site for weaving new collective memories and stories of hope, survival, and resistance. An extraordinary collection that belongs on the shelves of artists, scholars and organizers alike.”

-Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity

University of Washington Press:

April 7, 2022

Virtual celebration recording of "Dancing Transnational Feminisms," hosted by Rutgers University

A celebration of Dancing Transnational Feminisms, hosted by Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Department of Dance, with keynote addresses provided by Brenda Dixon-Gottschild and Thomas F. DeFrantz, and panel discussion lead by Alessandra Williams, Ananya Chatterjea, and Hui Niu Wilcox

Recorded April 6, 2022. Watch here (01:23:30):

https://rutgers.zoom.us/rec/share/KSrCbUOnyTDV9tB_r-VScXMKd2bcxLWhbCAtxKPr6ihk1Ch8rCJo5tgVQ-HE1oB5.ElsNDd_LAWeJ24cV

About the Book

Published January 2022 by University of Washington Press and drawing from more than 15 years of collaborative dance-making and sustained dialogues based on deep alliances across communities of color, Dancing Transnational Feminisms offers a multigenre exploration of how dance can be intersectionally reimagined as practice, methodology, and metaphor for feminist solidarity. Blending essays with stories, interviews, and poems, this collection explores timely questions surrounding race and performance, gender and sexuality, art and politics, global and local inequities, and the responsibilities of artists toward their communities.

Panel Guests

Ananya Chatterjea is artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre, Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, and author of her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance.

Hui Niu Wilcox, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Critical Studies of Race/Ethnicity at St. Catherine University, and was a dance artist with Ananya Dance Theatre from 2004 to 2020. Her research has been focused on sociology of dance especially in connection to immigrant identities, race/ethnicity, multiculturalism, and transnational feminisms.

Alessandra Williams is an assistant professor of dance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick who researches dance, transnational feminism and queer performance, and African American and Asian American culture. Her fellowships include the Inclusive Excellence Fellowship (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 2018–19), Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship (University of California, Los Angeles 2010–14), and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (Macalester College 2005–07). She has performed with the Ananya Dance Theatre company. Her current book project explores queer sexuality, gender, and race through dances and films by David Roussève/REALITY dance company.

March 24, 2022

Ananya Dance Theatre at Jacob's Pillow, work-in-progress live-streaming March 26

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre and two of their artistic collaborators take up a nine-day residency this week at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts. ADT was selected as one of eight artist residencies this winter and spring at the Pillow Lab, a year-round incubator of new work.

Spirit McIntyre | Photo by Isabel Fajardo

The company will use its time in Becket to begin development of Nūn Gherāo, a full-length work of dance theater responding to the 1978-79 massacre of 10,000 refugees from Bangladesh on Marichjhapi Island in West Bengal, India, and adjacent stories of genocide and eco-displaced communities. It will premiere in St. Paul, Minnesota in September.

Two collaborators joining the ADT dancers are composer, vocalist, and cellist Spirit McIntyre and writer and author Mimi Mondal.

McIntyre (they/them), from New Orleans, created the sound score for ADT’s 2021 production “Dastak: I Wish You Me” and is performing the work on the company’s U.S. tours during 2022. They use their voice and cello to blend Blues, Soul, Folk, Classical, Reggae, and Middle Eastern sounds into unique musical landscapes. McIntyre created SpiritWerks, a multi-disciplinary arts practice, and is the Compassionate Community Architect for Trans*Visible, a network that challenges Binarism and Cis-Sexism in social justice movements.

Mimi Mondal | Photo courtesy of Mimi Mondal

Mondal was born in Kolkata, India, and currently lives in New York City. She is the author of “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light,” which was a finalist for the Nebula Award in 2020. She has also co-edited the Locus Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated nonfiction anthology “Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler,” and written a column titled “Extraordinary Alien” on Hindustan Times. Her shorter stories may be found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, Nightmare Magazine, Fireside Magazine, and The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction.

An informal showing of Nūn Gherāo will be live-streamed from the Pillow’s Perles Family Studio, Saturday, March 26, 2pm ET / 1pm CT: https://site-21495820.bcvp0rtal.com/  Password: pillowlab326

Lead support for the Pillow Lab is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home of America’s longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision 22. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

January 28, 2022

Jan 30: My life in dance: A talk by Dr. Elgie Gaynell Sherrod

Dr. Elgie Gaynell Sherrod

Ananya Dance Theatre will present Dr. Elgie Gaynell Sherrod in an online talk, Sunday, January 30, 4:30pm-6pm. Dr. Sherrod will share insights from her rich experiences in concert dance, with specific reference to Black legacies in American dance.

Join the conversation on two platforms: (1) Zoom • Meeting ID: 491 001 6901 • https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4910016901 or (2) Instagram • Live-stream on Ananya Dance Theatre’s page: @ananyadancetheatre

Dr. Sherrod began her formal dance training in high school with Dr. Kariamu Welsh and (the late) Pearl Reynolds, studying African-derived dance forms Umfundalai and the Katherine Dunham technique.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Psychology, she joined the dance faculty at the Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, a public arts academy in Buffalo, New York.

She subsequently pursued a career in dance performance and joined the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco!), where she refined her craft under the direction of Joan Meyers Brown and other acclaimed teachers and choreographers.

After 15 years of performing, touring, and teaching with PHILADANCO! and Urban Bush Women, she earned a master’s degree in dance education and a Doctorate in the pedagogy of performance from Temple University in Philadelphia.

In 2003 she completed coursework at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and earned a New York State Department of Education Certification in School Administration and Supervision (SAS).

Dr. Sherrod is a Fulbright-Hayes scholar in dance research. Her artistic and theoretical works are steeped in the dance and music of the African American vernacular and the African Diaspora – mentored by acclaimed scholars Drs. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Kariamu Welsh, and (the late) Katie G. Cannon.

From 2001-2003, she was the Director of Dance Education for New York City public schools, where she designed and implemented professional training initiatives for dance educators, teaching artists, and classroom teachers. Most notably she co-founded and directed the New York City Department of Education Dance Institute, based on the Katherine Dunham model, and for which she was awarded a DANA Foundation Grant.

Dr. Sherrod began her academic teaching career at New Jersey City University and New York University (NYU). From 2004-2014, she taught at Florida A&M University (FAMU), earning tenure (Associate Professor) and becoming the Interim Chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER).

In 2014, Dr. Sherrod joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and served as Chair of the Department of Dance and Choreography for three years. Currently, she is an associate professor in Dance at VCU, after serving as the Interim Executive Director of PHILDANCO! from 2019-2020.

She is the author of Katherine Dunham and The Dance Griots: Reading the Invisible Script(Mellen Press – August 2021).Dr. Sherrod proudly serves on the boards of CultureWorks (Richmond, Virginia), the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), and Ananya Dance Theatre (St. Paul, Minnesota)

January 11, 2022

National Endowment for the Arts awards grants to 39 Minnesota organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a $15,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to Ananya Dance Theatre. The grant will support the creation and production of Nūn Gherāo, the company’s work of contemporary dance theater that will premiere in September 2022.

Nūn Gherāo is among 1,248 projects across America, totaling $28,840,000, that were selected to receive this first round of 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. The national awards include $979,000 to 39 Minnesota organizations. A complete list of grantees is here

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Ananya Dance Theatre that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Ananya Dance Theatre in St. Paul-Minneapolis is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”

“We are grateful for the vote of confidence in our work that this grant represents,” said Gary Peterson, managing director of Ananya Dance Theatre. “We are very proud to be counted among the Minnesota arts organizations that carry the imprimatur of our national arts agency on behalf of the American people.”

December 17, 2021

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation awards Performance Forward Fund grant to Ananya Dance Theatre

We are honored to announce that the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) has awarded a grant to Ananya Dance Theatre from the Performance Forward Fund. The grant makes us ready to propel our organization, artists, and communities into a brighter, post-pandemic future.

“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is grateful to provide this responsive, flexible funding to Ananya Dance Theatre and other performing arts nonprofits with trust in their leadership to address their most critical opportunities as they navigate this moment and build toward the future,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the DDCF. “Despite the unprecedented disruption, these organizations have continued to prioritize supporting artists and have come up with innovative ways to bring artistic work to audiences and the communities they serve.”

DDCF is awarding up to $250,000 each to contemporary dance, jazz, and theater organizations nationwide to accelerate their ability to pivot from business as usual to executing new and promising ideas. Recipients have been identified for evidence of a track record of equity-focused values and practices, visible connections and relevance within their communities, strong leadership, and innovative digital experimentation.

“We are grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its confidence and support of our work,” said Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre. “The foundation’s grantmaking lifts up and recognizes the role of the performing arts in pursuing social justice and serving as an engine for economic opportunity and equity.” 

The mission of the DDCF 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 foundation focuses its support to the performing arts on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them.

The foundation has been awarded the National Medal of Arts in special recognition of its support of creative expression across the United States and “bold commitment” to artistic risk, which has helped performing artists share their talents and enriched the cultural life of the nation. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org. 

@DorisDukeFdn #PerformanceForward

December 10, 2021

Jacob's Pillow selects Ananya Dance Theatre for Winter/Spring 2022 artist residency

Dec. 9, 2021 (BECKET, Mass.) —Jacob’s Pillow is pleased to announce eight artist residencies this winter and spring at the Pillow Lab, its year-round incubator of new work. The annual season of customizable residencies supports U.S.-based and international dance artists during crucial development, research, and technical stages of choreography-driven projects. The recipients for Winter/Spring 2022 include Deborah Goffe, Kayla Hamilton, Ladies of Hip-Hop, Gesel Mason, Taylor Stanley, Ananya Chatterjea, Emma Cianchi, and Irene Rodríguez.

“Our Associate Curators, Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas, and I are excited to announce the artists developing new work at the Pillow Lab. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it’s essential that the Pillow provide space, time, and funding to assist in the recovery of our field,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge. “We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for providing leadership support for the Lab.”

Artists and their collaborators receive unrestricted use of the Pillow’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the 7,000 square-foot Perles Family Studio. Artists also receive free housing, a stipend, professionally filmed video documentation, access to the Pillow’s extensive Archives, and the presence of an “outside eye,” an editor or dramaturg to provide important feedback. Artists benefit from the retreat-like atmosphere and generative landscape that the Pillow’s remote location provides.

This the fifth year of the Pillow Lab, reimagined as an anchor of Vision ‘22, the organization’s five-year strategic plan to be complete by 2022. In its years of serving artists, the Pillow Lab improved upon a residency program that has existed in various forms since the Pillow’s inception in the early 1930s. Built from a field-wide scan which included interviews with a diverse group of 36 U.S.-based choreographers and examined existing choreographic residency programs at peer institutions, the Pillow Lab fits into the overall national and international dance ecology with a distinctive mission, vision, set of values, and approach.

Choreographers selected for a residency through the Pillow Lab are chosen by Tatge and Jacob’s Pillow Associate Curators Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas. Most residencies culminate with an informal, in-person, work-in-progress showing as part of the In Process Series. Showings are limited to an intimate, invited audience of Jacob’s Pillow Members as well as faculty and students from the College Partnership Program, and provide valuable feedback through a structured feedback session.

NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS | NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK

Fall 2021 Pillow Lab residency recipients included jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham, Indigenous Enterprise, Taylor Stanley and Shamel Pitts, and Yve Laris Cohen. A number of works developed at the Pillow Lab were performed at the 2021 Festival by artists including Dorrance Dance, Brian Brooks/Moving Company, Emily Johnson Catalyst, and jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham.

Lead support for the Pillow Lab is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has funded the Pillow Lab since its inception.

Winter/Spring 2022 Pillow Lab Residency Season

Artist information and descriptions follow. The work created during each residency is at varying stages of development and may or may not be performed at the Festival.

Deborah Goffe (Jan. 12-22)
Deborah Goffe is a dance maker, performer, educator, and curator whose commitments to locality, scalable intimacy, interdisciplinary, and the handmade compels her to cultivate environments and experiences through choreographic, design, and social processes. Through Scapegoat Garden (a Connecticut-based creative engine) and other platforms, Goffe strives to forge relationships between artists and communities by helping people see, create and contribute to more expansive visions of ourselves, each other, and the places we call home.

Goffe will be developing Liturgy|Order|Bridge in the Pillow Lab, a work inspired by communal embodiment in the Black church and the absurdity of Fellini’s ecclesiastical fashion show. These serve as points of reference to correlate religious ritual with theatrical devices that can make the membrane between performance and audience more porous. Centering dance as the organizing principle in a ritualized public ceremony, the work asks: What might it mean to engage dance practice as faith practice, performance as communal ceremony, performance space as consecrated site, and the fellowship of shared witness, place, and inheritance?

Liturgy|Order|Bridge activates our intersecting identities, senses of place, and commitments to support one another. Goffe will be joined in this endeavor by her core collaborators Lauren Horn, Arien Wilkerson (dance artists), and Abena Koomson-Davis (musician).

Kayla Hamilton (Jan. 24-30)
Kayla Hamilton, a Black Disabled choreographer, will be using the Pillow Lab to engage in the beginning stages of a creative work and dialogue around Black Disabled artistry alongside several collaborators. Hamilton is an artist, producer, and educator originally from Texarkana, Tex., who now resides in Bronx, N.Y. She is a member of the 2017 Bessie Award-winning collective of skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In addition to skeleton architecture, Kayla has danced with Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances and Maria Bauman-Morales/MBDance. Kayla’s work has been presented at Gibney, Performance Space New York and New Live Arts. Kayla is not dancing, she’s a special education teacher at the Highbridge Green School who loves to watch Law and Order while sipping on peppermint tea.

In the Pillow Lab, Hamilton will have a rare opportunity to bring collaborators together who reside in different quadrants of the country, including collaborators on this project, and will give them time and space to be generative. Hamilton’s collaborators for this residency include: Nicole McClam, Joselia Hughes, Jerron Hermon, Christopher Unpezverde Núñez, and Brandon Kazen-Maddox.

Ladies of Hip-Hop (Feb. 16-27)
Ladies of Hip-Hop Dance Collective, LDC, is an all female intergenerational dance collective that creates dance works illuminating the strength, power, and diversity of women in hip-hop. Ever present in the work is the freestyle, ciphering, family dances, and call and response that serve as the essence of street and club dance culture, while exploring cultural forms for proscenium performance. Founded by director and choreographer Michele Byrd-McPhee, LDC creates collaborative works that celebrate and center feminist narratives examining the intersections of gender, race, and resistance.

Building on their formative January 2021 convening in a Works & Process at the Guggenheim bubble residency at Bethany Arts Community, culminating in a rare-for-the-time video performance filmed at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and subsequently, their summer 2021 On The Road engagement with Jacob’s Pillow, which took free performances to towns across Berkshire County, the hip-hop collective will be using the Lab to further develop their Black Dancing Bodies project. The project was created to capture the beauty and power of Black female street dancers in movement by Black female photographers. Through a series of movement sessions, the project aims to tell their stories through interviews and photographs, documenting the importance, power, and presence of Black women in hip-hop.

Gesel Mason (March 3-14)
Gesel Mason is artistic director for Gesel Mason Performance Projects and associate professor of dance and choreography at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance Projects. Her company, Gesel Mason Performance Projects (GMPP), serves as a medium for her creative work. GMPP is a project-based dance company that seeks to create meaningful, relevant, and compelling art events as a way to encourage compassion and inquiry. In her work, Mason utilizes dance, theater, humor, and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo.

Mason will be using her time in the Pillow Lab to work on Yes, And, a collection of performance events that center an expansive vision of Black womanhood as the operating force in the creative process. An iterative approach informed by the expertise and lived experiences of self-identified Black women and femmes, Yes, And asks: “Who would you be and what would you do if, as a Black woman, you had nothing to worry about? What would you create and how might you be in community with others?” The questions frame a methodology of undoing and re-imagining that offers participants and witnesses the freedom “to find” and to “be found” from this recalibrated place. The project is supported by National Performance Network and New England Foundation for the Arts.

Taylor Stanley (March 15-20)
Already a celebrated principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Taylor Stanley continues on his own journey, pursuing new movement frontiers. Building on Stanley’s two 2021 Pillow Labs, during which he worked on a Pillow-commissioned ensemble work by postmodern choreographer Jodi Melnick and a solo by choreographer Shamel Pitts, Stanley returns in 2022 with collaborators on two other works that will premiere at the Pillow during Festival 2022. Although William Forsythe will not be in attendance for the Pillow Lab, Forsythe will also be creating a new solo for Stanley’s Festival 2022 program.

Related Content on Jacob’s Pillow YouTube Channel: Inside the Pillow Lab with Taylor Stanley:

Ananya Chatterjea (March 22-28)
Ananya Dance Theatre is a company of cultural activists and BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists who believe in the transformative power of dance. In dancing stories where the lives and dreams of typically marginalized communities occupy the center, they shift the landscape of mainstream culture, build understanding about arts and social justice, and empower artistic voices. Their artistic work unfolds through YorchhāTM, a unique movement aesthetic of contemporary dance that draws on traditional Odissi, the martial art Chhau, and Vinyāsa Yoga, and a social justice choreographic methodology, to celebrate a transnational feminist practice. Their work invites audiences to participate in their strategy of #occupydance, the movement of dancing as civic action.

Ananya Chatterjea is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota. Her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies, re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from global south locations, was published in November 2020.

Fresh off of a tour of their newest work Dastak: I Wish You Me, Ananya Dance Theatre will begin the creative process for a new evening-length work during this Pillow Lab residency. Ananya will be developing Nūn Gherā(surrounded by salt), an evening-length devised dance theatre piece, responding to the 1978-79 massacre of 10,000 refugees from Bangladesh on Marichjhnapi island in West Bengal, India, and adjacent stories of genocide and eco-displaced communities.

Emma Cianchi (March 30-Apr. 10)
In collaboration with American Dance Abroad, the Pillow welcomes Naples-based choreographer Emma Cianchi as a part of Woman Made, an initiative focused on international women choreographers, which is a winning project of Boarding Pass Plus ’21/’22 of the Italian Ministry of Culture. Woman Made is a project of the Italian Ministry of Culture and is intended to promote the courage of international female choreographic voices. Organized by ArtGarage, the creative work will originate in seven countries with a view to sharing intentions and achieving common goals including the positioning of women in powerful roles in dance through international cultural exchange.

Cianchi is the leading force of ArtGarage, and artistic curator of dance at the Teatro Bellini in Naples. As a choreographer her work embraces the use of new technologies in an eclectic and original manner. In 2017, she received the Coreografo Elettronico Award. As a part of this exchange, Cianchi will develop a new work with U.S.-based dancers in the Pillow Lab, and acclaimed New York-based choreographer Kimberly Bartosik will travel to Italy to develop a new work with dancers from across Italy.

Irene Rodríguez (June)
Irene Rodríguez will be in residence leading up to the Jacob’s Pillow Gala, developing a new work that has been commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and the Vivienne Jones Endowment Fund at Jacob’s PillowThe work will premiere at the Season Opening Gala on June 18, 2022.

Born in Cuba, and settled recently in the US, Irene Rodríguez is a leading international figure of Spanish dance and Choreography; the King of Spain granted her the Order “Isabella the Catholic,” Spain’s highest civilian honor. Principal Dancer, Choreographer and educator, she has worked as dancer and style and Choreography consultant of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. She earned a Theater Arts Degree and a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Studies of Dance given conferences internationally and master classes to

the Juilliard School, San Jose Ballet, etc. In 2019 she was the director of the Spanish and Flamenco Dance Program of the School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Rodriguez founded her own dance company: Compañía Irene Rodríguezwhich has performed in the most prestigious theaters and festivals around the world and in the U.S., including the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She founded and directed Havana’s most prestigious Spanish dance academy and she has also been the artistic director of the International Festival “La Huella de España” founded by Alicia Alonso. Among her awards are: First Prize in the VIII Iberoamerican Choreography Competition, the Audience and UNEAC Award at the Choreography contest “Vladimir Malakhov,” the Iberoamerican Medal Honoris Causa (México University); among others.

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:
Irene Rodríguez, Amaranto (2019) https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/irene-rodriguez/amaranto/

ABOUT JACOB’S PILLOW:

Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision ‘22. Jacob’s Pillow rests on the traditional lands of the Agawam, the Nipmuc, the Pocumtuc, and the Mohican and we honor their elders past, present, and future. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the field’s most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program. The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. The Pillow’s Executive and Artistic Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.

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December 8, 2021

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks assistant manager

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks to hire a part-time Assistant Manager to start immediately. 

The Assistant Manager reports to and works closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director to manage the operations of the company.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a professional dance company of BIPOC women and femme artists working at the intersection of contemporary dance theater, social justice, and transnational feminisms. Our physical facility, the Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice is located at 1197 University Ave West, St Paul, MN, and is equipped with ADA-compliant access ramp and rest rooms. Typically, the company presents at least one new, devised performance annually, and is engaged in touring, offering community-based experiences, workshops, classes, and site-specific public art works. The company prides itself on developing deep roots in our local community along with wide-spreading branches in our transnational relationships. 

Who We’re Looking For

We are looking for a Twin-Cities based professional who will work closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director, and in keeping with the community-embedded professional culture the company has carefully nurtured since its inception. The person who is right for this position is a resourceful, proactive thought leader and problem solver, committed to a mission of BIPOC women and femme-centered social justice choreography, collaborative, energetic, people-oriented, and nurturing of the community connections that enliven our work. 

This is a person who also works relatively independently to manage projects and makes decisions in close cooperation with other ADT colleagues, in keeping with the company’s culture.

This position does not have fixed hours per day every week, and the ideal candidate understands that their schedule will need to flexibly prioritize company activities.

Key Competencies

●      Bottom-line reliability;

●      A generalist who tends to details in many areas in pursuit of meaning and accomplishment;

●      A positive, can-do attitude reflected in forward-thinking that focuses on executing the details of short- and long-term tactics, strategies, and objectives;

●      Understanding of and shared interest in social justice art-making and alternative, BIPOC-led aesthetics and artistic processes;

●      Ability to articulate coherent stories orally and in writing;

●      Strong written and verbal communication and marketing skills;

●      Computer literacy and proficiency with Google Documents, Microsoft Office, and online QuickBooks;

●      Strategic and tactical insight into the uses of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online platforms;

●      General facility to maintain technical equipment, e.g. alarm system, printer, etc.;

●      Experience managing information in spreadsheets and other office software;

●      Basic budgeting and accounting skills to maintain the baseline documentation for the organization’s bookkeeper, accountants, and auditor;

●      Ability to organize, plan, facilitate, and manage activities to meet deadlines;

●      Personal ability to troubleshoot, problem solve, and navigate the nuances that balance the resources and dreams of a growing, mighty dance company.  

Job responsibilities

  1. Facility Maintenance: Manage urgent building needs, such as contemporaneous security issues, monitor security cameras, manage key access for personnel, arrange for internal repairs, communicate with landlord and neighbors about concerns, needs, activities;
  2. Institute Schedule: Maintain schedule of Institute activities, particularly events that involve external parties, such as showings, rentals etc;
  3. Communications / Social Media: Assist the Managing Director with external communications, manage incoming administrative email, generate regular e-newsletter, assist in updating website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and monitor interactions on social media; coordinate mailings for publicity; develop and maintain constituent snail and email lists for students, audiences, and donors;
  4. Bookkeeping / Accounting: Manage internal accounting such as compiling receipts and complete documentation for bookkeeper, primary contact for book-keeper and tax accountant, managing deposits and accounts payable;
  5. Retrieve mail from post office box;
  6. General Office Administration: As assigned and assumed;
  7. Activities Files: Maintain electronic (on laptop desktop) and paper files for every annual activity as repositories for correspondence, contracts, photos, and other items throughout the year;
  8. Event Management: Manage online/streaming activities: These might include the Documents of our Times series, any performances, or workshops. Assisting with ADA compliance, set up, tear down, and technical aspects of these events; 
  9. Track and compile accurate and defensible participant activity statistics for all activities: classes, workshops, performances, online streams, tour residencies;
  10. Development: Assist Managing Director in communicating and managing fundraising initiatives.

Compensation

The Assistant Manager is budgeted to be a 0.50 FTE employee compensated at $25,000 annually. Ananya Dance Theatre will provide a MacIntosh laptop for virtual and in-person employment service.

More Information

Please visit our website for more information: www.ananyadancetheatre.org 

To Apply

Please send letter of interest and resume to divya.karan@ananyadancetheatre.org.

Applicants will be screened on a rolling basis until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified of decisions in a timely fashion.

October 25, 2021

Ananya Dance Theatre films find domestic & international audiences, awards

Among other activities during the pandemic, Ananya Dance Theatre and collaborating filmmaker Darren Johnson flexed their distribution muscles with four films and gained awards in the process.

While Ananya Dance Theatre takes The O’Shaughnessy stage on Oct. 30 to perform Dastak: I Wish You Me, its short film, Dastak: Fire will be presented at the Greensboro Dance Film Festival in North Carolina, and Ananya Chatterjea’s solo film the blues of my unravelling are laced with the salt of your memory will have its European premiere at the Florence Dance on Screen Festival in Italy.

This is the second time this fall that multiple festival screenings have coincided on the same date. On Sept. 24, Dastak: Fire was presented at both The London International Screen Dance Festival and the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema in Colorado. The Sans Souci Festival also presented the solo short Listening Tree, featuring Chatterjea.

To date, a version of Dastak has been curated into eight film festivals on three continents. It was awarded Best Social Justice Film at the Silk Road Film Awards Cannes in France, and won three awards at the Tagore International Film Festival in Bolpur, India: Outstanding Achievement in a Short Film, Outstanding Achievement in Direction, and Best Editing.

A film adaptation of Ananya Dance Theatre and Tony the Scribe’s 2017 performance Just Breathe has screened at two festivals, was referenced with a photograph in the leading UK financial magazine The Economist, and will screen at the Soho London Independent Film Festival in November.  

Two solo films, Listening Tree and the blues of my unraveling are laced with the salt of your memory, choreographed and performed by Chatterjea, will be screened by five prominent dance film festivals. the blues, featuring incantations by Sharon Bridgforth, score by Renée Copeland, and lighting by Mike Grogan, was commissioned by The National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron.

Here is a list of the screenings and awards:

DASTAK: The Film (complete film)

CHAKSU Dance Film Festival, Delhi, India, May 8, 2021

Northrop Auditorium 2021-22 Dance, Music + Film Series, Minneapolis MN, Oct. 8-15, 2021

Tagore International Film Festival, Bolpur, India, Aug. 27. 2021

• Outstanding Achievement in a Short Film

• Outstanding Achievement in Direction

• Best Editing

DASTAK: Fire (3rd Movement)

In/Motion – Chicago’s International Dance Film Festival, Chicago IL, Jan. 23, 2021

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, Boulder CO, Sept. 24, 2021

London International Screen Dance Festival, London UK, Sept. 24, 2021

Silk Road Film Awards Cannes, Cannes, France, Aug. 20, 2021

• Best Social Justice Film

Greensboro Dance Film Festival, Greensboro NC, Oct. 30, 2021

the blues of my unraveling are laced with the salt of your memory

National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron, Akron OH, June 19, 2021

Florence Dance on Screen Festival, Firenze, Italy, Oct. 30, 2021

IMMAGI]NA FILM FESTIVAL, Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy, Nov. 19-21, 2021

Just Breathe

The Breath Project, Palo Alto CA, Oct. 24, 2020

Harlem International Film Festival, New York NY, May 14, 2021

The Soho London Independent Film Festival, London UK, Nov. 19, 2021

Listening Tree

Dance on Camera 48, New York NY, July 18, 2020

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX, Aug. 7, 2021

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, Boulder CO, Sept. 24, 2021

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX / Seoul, Korea, Dec. 1-20, 2021

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX, Spring 2022, traveling to venues in Mexico and elsewhere TBD

The four films remain under consideration by 50 additional film festivals.

September 9, 2021

We're back onstage at The O'Shaughnessy, October 29-30 with Dastak: I Wish You Me!

General Admission Tickets on Sale Now: theoshaughnessy.com

Suggested Price $30 – PAY WHAT YOU CAN – $5 – $40

Photo by Isabel Fajardo

 

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University will present Ananya Dance Theatre and its new production, Dastak: I Wish You Me, Friday-Saturday, October 29-30 at 7:30pm. ASL interpretation will be provided on October 29.

Dastak is a meditation on borders, loss, belonging, home, and liberation, and is structured around four elemental journeys – Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

The evocative work traces the “knockings” (dastakin Farsi) of global injustices and echoes the subtitle created by Sharon Bridgforth – I Wish You Me – amplifying the cross-generational love that has carried communities through difficult migrations. The production invites audiences to imagine what freedom is possible as it expands the realms of intention and trans-dimensional connection through spells that invoke rest, forgiveness, love, and freedom

Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea and performed by the artists of Ananya Dance Theatre, Dastak features a powerful team of collaborators, including writer and dramaturg Sharon Bridgforth, sound artist Spirit McIntyre (performing live), stage director Marcus Young, lighting designer Kevin A. Jones, costume designer Annie Cady, scenic designer Chelsea Warren, and film maker Darren Johnson

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University is located at 2004 Randolph Ave. in Saint Paul. Tickets for Dastak are on sale at theoshaughnessy.com.

Ananya Dance Theatre and The O’Shaughnessy are excited to implement PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing for these performances. Our suggested ticket price is $30. 
 
PAY WHAT YOU CAN asks those who routinely pay $30 for Ananya Dance Theatre tickets to pay that amount; it is the fair market value of the ticket. If you need to pay less, you can choose to pay less, as little as $5 a ticket. Those who can pay more than the market price are welcome to do so, and your generosity will help cover the cost of someone else’s ticket.
 
For more information and tickets, contact The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office at 651-690-6700 or online at theoshaughnessy.com.
 

DASTAK:  I WISH YOU ME

Choreography: Ananya Chatterjea (Minneapolis) 

Sound score: Spirit Paris McIntyre (New Orleans) 

Spoken word: Sharon Bridgforth (Los Angeles) 

Stage director: Marcus Young (St. Paul)

Costume design: Annie Cady (St. Paul)

Scenic design: Chelsea Warren (Minneapolis)

Lighting design: Kevin A. Jones (Minneapolis)

The O’Shaughnessy’s Covid-19 guidelines can be reviewed here.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a company of cultural activists and BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists who believe in the transformative power of dance. In dancing stories where lives and dreams occupy the center, ADT shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds understanding about arts and social justice, and empowers artistic voices. Meet the People of Ananya Dance Theatre here. 

Dastak is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, in partnership with the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, Maine; UtahPresents, Salt Lake City; and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org 

Dastak was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is being developed with support from the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Production residency funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is supported by Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The development of Dastak was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University.

Dastak is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Dastak is supported by a grant from the Marbrook 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.

August 23, 2021

Northrop Film Series presents Ananya Dance Theatre: Dastak – The Film

Premieres Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 7:30pm CT | Available on-demand through Oct 15, 2021

This event will go on sale Sep 7 at noon. Select your own price when purchasing ($0-$50). Tickets

This dance film of Ananya Dance Theatre’s work, Dastak, the Farsi word for “knockings,” traces the knockings of global injustices on our hearts in four short sections: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Each section is a meditation on stories of borders, boundaries, loss, belonging, home, and liberation, and echoes the subtitle created by writer Sharon Bridgforth – I Wish You Me – indicating the cross-generational love that has carried communities through difficult migrations.

Filmmaker Darren Johnson captures these elemental journeys against the varied landscape of MniSota Make, ranging from post-Uprising scorched ruins in Minneapolis to tall prairie grasslands of Battle Creek Park, as the dancers pay tribute to the layered history of this land. Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea and performed by the artists of Ananya Dance Theatre, this dance film also features the work of a powerful team of collaborators, notably writer and dramaturg Sharon Bridgforth and sound artists Spirit McIntyre and Dameun Strange.

This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.

 

 

May 20, 2021

We congratulate the 2021 McKnight Artist Fellows in Dance & Choreography

Ananya Chatterjea, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Darrius Strong, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Alexandra Eady, McKnight Dancer Fellow

Hassan Ingraham, McKnight Dancer Fellow

David Stalter, McKnight Dancer Fellow

May 18, 2021

$12.6 million initiative offers new funding for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations

Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-LedArts Organizations

May 18, 2020 – A $12.6 million regional initiative of America’s Cultural Treasures will provide new funding for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations. The funding, to be distributed in two phases, is made possible by a collaboration of the McKnight, Ford, Bush and Jerome Foundations.

Phase 1: Regional Cultural Treasures

$7 million, provided by Ford & McKnight Foundations

In phase one, ten arts organizations in Minnesota — designated Regional Cultural Treasures — each will receive unrestricted grants of at least $500,000, to be distributed over the next five years or more. The Regional Cultural Treasures program honors organizations that have made a significant impact on our cultural landscape over decades. The 10 organizations are:

“We use the term ‘Cultural Treasures’ with intention, to honor the diversity of expression and artistic excellence that these organizations contribute to the cultural vitality of our state, despite having historically experienced under-investment,” said Tonya Allen, president of the McKnight Foundation. “As our arts institutions prepare to safely re-open after the pandemic, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on these remarkable organizations.” 

The following criteria informed the selection of the 10 Regional Cultural Treasures:

The Minneapolis Foundation will administer the Regional Cultural Treasures grants.

Phase 2: Seeding Cultural Treasures

$5.6 million provided by Ford, McKnight, Bush and Jerome Foundations

In the second phase, the Seeding Cultural Treasures program will award grants to grow the future of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American artists and cultural organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native Nations that share the same geography. 

“We believe that supporting established Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led organizations with impressive track records, as well as individual artists and younger organizations, will make our communities better places to live,” said DeAnna Cummings, McKnight Arts program director. “We also hope this funding catalyzes greater recognition and increased investment in these vital arts organizations and their leaders who are meeting this moment with imagination, persistence, and creativity.”

Propel Nonprofits and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council will administer the program, engaging artists and community stakeholders to co-create it. These partners will share more information later in 2021 about how to apply for funding.

Funders Unite to Support the Arts

The Ford Foundation launched America’s Cultural Treasures in fall 2020, seeking regional funding partners throughout the country to match its contribution. In Minnesota, the McKnight Foundation answered that call to serve as the lead regional partner and matched an initial contribution of $5 million from the Ford Foundation. The Bush and Jerome Foundations contributed an additional $2.6 million to bring the fund to $12.6 million. Both programs invite additional funding partners to increase the resources for the arts and culture rooted in communities of color in our region.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the McKnight, Bush, and Jerome Foundations to celebrate arts organizations that are adding to the richness and diversity of the American cultural fabric,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “These treasures are a symbol of the excellence present in Black, Indigenous, LatinX, and Asian American-led arts organizations and we hope to inspire continued investment in communities of color in the years to come.”

ABOUT REGIONAL CULTURAL TREASURES

American Indian Community Housing Organization Arts Program (AICHO) honors the resiliency of Indigenous people by strengthening communities and centering Indigenous values. Since 2012, AICHO has provided a year-round space within Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizim for Indigenous artists to showcase and sell their work. Galleries are used by artists, authors, and musicians for art shows, book releases, and performances, which are free and open to the community. AICHO’s arts and cultural programming also includes community art classes and workshops, youth art activities, Indigenous artists pop-up events and book readings, and an Indigenous First art and gift shop.

Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT) creates original dance theater drawing on social justice themes inspired by the lives and dreams of BIPOC women, womxn, and femmes from around the globe. In dancing stories where the struggles, triumphs, and transformations of global Black and Brown communities occupy the center, ADT empowers artistic voices, shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds relationships, and energizes communities toward equity and beauty. ADT’s Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice is located in St. Paul.

Indigenous Roots is an arts plus organization and coalition of artists, cultural groups, and community partners dedicated to building, supporting, and cultivating space, opportunities, and resources with and for Native, Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples. In 2017, Indigenous Roots opened a space around Imniza Ska (East Saint Paul) that is centered and grounded in multidisciplinary, multigenerational, and multicultural arts and activism.

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), founded in 1995, is a youth employment center and community development social enterprise rooted in North Minneapolis. JXTA’s programs offer college-level training to teens through a core program known as JXTALabs, which annually employs 70 youth ages 14 to 21 in five revenue-earning art and design micro-businesses. The JXTALabs offer a wide array of high-quality art and design services to local and regional clients while developing the talents of young creatives.

Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, film, art, and cultural production centering the work of Arab and Southwest Asian and North African artists. For more than 20 years, Mizna has been creating a decolonized cultural space to reflect the expansiveness of our community and to foster exchange, examine ideas, and engage audiences in meaningful art. Mizna publishes the only Southwest Asian and North African literary and art journal in the country; produces the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival; and offers classes, readings, performances, public art, and community events, which have featured more than 400 local and global writers, filmmakers, and artists.

Pangea World Theater illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theater. Founded in 1995, Pangea’s innovative theater performances and arts-based community engagement transcends borders and brings audiences together at the intersection of politics, arts, and human rights to explore the relevant and often divisive themes of our times – racism, exile, immigration, freedom, and cross-cultural expression. 

The Somali Museum of Minnesota is the only museum in North America devoted to preserving traditional Somali culture and art. The museum’s mission is to educate young Somalis and to build bridges through culture to non-Somali Minnesotans. The museum offers an unrivaled collection of traditional artworks and serves as a unique meeting space for Somali artists. After civil war left almost all of Somalia’s museums destroyed and cultural artifacts spread across the world, the Somali community in Minneapolis rallied to make Minneapolis the home of Somalia’s precious cultural inheritance.

Theater Mu was founded in 1992 to bring Asian American voices to Minnesota stages and has grown to become one of the largest Asian American performing arts organizations in the nation. By producing great performances, community outreach efforts, and virtual programming born of arts, equity, and social justice from the heart of the Asian American experience, Theater Mu provides an unparalleled home for local and national Asian American artists and audiences of all backgrounds.

TruArtSpeaks is an arts and culture organization founded in 2006 and based in Saint Paul. Its mission is to cultivate literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. The organization believes that art and culture – especially Hip Hop – inspires connection, growth, and social transformation. TruArtSpeaks provides development opportunities for youth, emerging artists and arts leaders through public events, direct mentorship, workshops, residencies, conferences, statewide initiatives, and more.

Walker|West was founded more than 30 years ago by African American musicians Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West to provide a space rooted in the cultural traditions they were raised with – where everyone can gather, grow, and explore through music. Walker|West provides music instruction and community programming for students of all ages – from infants to elders – and is committed to a future where everyone has access to the healing power of music.

ABOUT THE FUNDERS

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. The Foundation has approximately $2.4 billion in assets and granted $105 million in 2020.

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation supports organizations and people to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. We work to inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make our region better for everyone.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The Jerome Foundation was founded in 1964 by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972). In honoring his legacy, it awards multi-year grants to vocational artists in all disciplines in Minnesota and New York City at early stages in their careers and to those nonprofit arts organizations that serve, develop and/or present such artists (whether through publication, exhibition, performance or screening). The Foundation centers its grantmaking practice in three core values of humility, innovation/risk, and diversity.

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s mission is to improve arts access for communities in the seven-county metropolitan area through support to artists and organizations. We’re committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility in all aspects of our work.

The Minneapolis Foundation drives collective action to realize strong, vibrant communities. The Foundation cultivates generosity by taking action on the greatest civic, social, and economic needs – partnering with nonprofits, facilitating grantmaking, driving research and advocacy, and providing services to donors seeking to make a difference in their communities.

Propel Nonprofits fuels the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital. This mission is in service to a vision of a diverse network of mission-driven nonprofits building a healthy, vibrant, and more just community. Propel is a federally certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and provides capacity-building services that include accounting and finance, board governance, fiscal sponsorship, lending, skills and knowledge sharing, strategic consulting, and training. Propel Nonprofits serves nonprofit organizations in Minnesota and the adjacent states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

March 24, 2021

Composer Dameun Strange talks about life, music & Senegal on Documents of Our Times

Ananya Dance Theatre presents Sound Designer and Composer Dameun Strange in the second installment of its series, Documents of Our Times: Artists Talking Craft, Vision, Values, Inspiration, hosted by its Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice. In it, Strange discusses the impact of a recent trip to Senegal and performs Senegal Rises.

The series, sometimes live, sometimes pre-recorded, and sometimes both, will be available on the company’s website and social media accounts: Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recorded March 13, 2021 at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 47:01. Closed captioning available. © 2021 Ananya Dance Theatre.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Dameun Strange, is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of a Cultural Community Partnership grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

March 9, 2021

University names Chatterjea as McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, March 9, 2021–UtahPresents and the Office of Undergraduate Studies are pleased to announce that Dr. Ananya Chatterjea has been named the University of Utah’s Sterling M. McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professor. 

Dr. Chatterjea is the founding artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre and a Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique.

The McMurrin Professorship

The McMurrin Professorship brings to the University a scholar of recognized eminence in his or her field. The purpose of this endowed chair is to raise the level of campus discourse and enrich undergraduate education in cooperation with a selected college or department each year. McMurrin Professors are expected to offer one or two public events and to be available to meet with undergraduate students and faculty.

The Residency 

Residency events with Dr. Chatterjea at the University of Utah include the Women’s Week Health & Wellness Workshop on March 12, 2021, at 10am MT. Dr. Chatterjea will also participate in the Gender-Based Violence Consortium’s Symposium (GBVC) on April 16, 2021, at 10am MT. Additionally, she is guiding Utah-based dance artists in a series of workshops to reconsider their creative practice. 

These events are an exciting precursor to Ananya Dance Theatre’s presentation of Dastak at Kingsbury Hall in February 2022. Historic journeys laden with hope, heart-break, and pain spark Dastak: stories of families torn apart, women assaulted and abandoned, and children tortured and lost during the partition of India in 1947, and again, with the recent escalation of violence along the India-Pakistan border, the current crisis around immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the 150-mile forced march of Dakota people in 1862. Ultimately, Dastak becomes a meditation on footwork, migrations, and home through the contact of dancers’ feet with the floor and our ability to share rhythm and movement.

In addition to the performance at Kingsbury Hall, Dr. Chatterjea and the artists-activists of Ananya Dance Theatre will lead further residency activities at the University of Utah. 

Dr. Chatterjea’s Biography

Ananya Chatterjea is a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow, a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellow, a 2016 Joyce Award recipient, a 2018 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow, and a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. Ananya is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique. She just published her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies, re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from global south locations.