February 9, 2012
The location of Ananya Dance Theatre within the hearts of our community is a source of strength and celebration for us. A steady source of support and guidance for us–that grand lady of purple, a dancer at heart, a facilitator of the life-choreographies of many people, an ardent lover and enthusiast for the arts—is Jean Ann Durades. Jean Ann’s birthday is September 10, and since that date almost inevitably coincides with Ananya Dance Theatre’s season, we have always had the opportunity to celebrate partially with her.
This year, however, we were able to honor this patron the arts in the Twin Cities in a much more grand way. On Friday September 9, 2011 Ananya Dance Theatre performers and audience members had the great privilege of organizing and hosting a surprise birthday celebration for Jean Ann Durades, whose steady presence at numerous arts events throughout the Twin Cities is unwavering.
We delighted in the opportunity to honor this enduring company advocate and benefactor, by dedicating our performance in celebration of her 80th Birthday. For as long as we have known her, her tremendous enthusiasm for the arts and for artists, and her unparalleled encouragement combined with her thoughts, her energy, and her devotion, continues to help sustain and inspire us. We were very excited to have this chance to demonstrate our gratitude.
For us, opportunities such as this one are precious. Dance is a phenomenon of the present: its life is fleeting. Yet, the power and poetry of dance lives on in the hearts and memories of those who support our work and become advocates for it. The joy in our hearts as we danced for one of our beloved community members, and the look of total surprise on Jean Ann’s face when we called her up to stage will be cherished by so many of us for a long time to come.
We thank Jean Ann for her guidance and friendship and we look forward to many more chances to celebrate her! We also want to thank the many friends who came forward to organize this event and join us! We especially thank Yvonne Cheek for spearheading this effort, and other friends who worked hard to get a proclamation from the Mayor honoring the brilliant Ms. Durades, and for making this event a huge success.