The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to Ananya Dance Theatre. The grant will support the creation and production of Michhil, the company’s work of contemporary dance theater that will premiere in September 2023.
Ananya Dance Theatreis among 1,251 grantees across America, totaling $28.8 million, selected to receive this first round of 2023 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. The national awards include $1+ million to 44 Minnesota organizations. A complete list of grantees is here.
Michhil is contemplated as a full-length dance theater work that draws on the disruptive energies and experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic to reimagine the pristine, untouchable notion of staged concert dance and to reshape the artist-audience relationship. Structurally, Michhil juxtaposes interruption – not a globally-shared experience – and the insistent, concurrent, embodied resistance movements in BIPOC communities to lift up multiple pandemics of intersectional violence.
Michhil builds on the hallmark of Ananya Chatterjea’s choreographic style – non-uniform ensemble dancing – and is repeatedly interrupted by invited audience members whose improvised processions take over the stage and house. Artists regroup, and the choreography restarts from a new place, proceeding through different group formations. The work concludes with an exploration of liberation as the worlds of stage performance, and audience processionals merge and emerge in different, non-oppositional adjacencies.
Ananya Dance Theatre is excited to announce the first cohort of artists who will participate in ADT and Shawngrām Institutes’ first Next Gen Choreo Lab. Curated by Ananya Chatterjea, Sarah Bellamy, and Anh-Thu Pham. These artists, with the support of national mentors, will develop a choreographic project over the next 7 months.
Alexandra Eady is a contemporary dancer specifically trained in the dance technique of Yorchhā created by Ananya Chatterjea, the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre. In 2011, she became a company member with Ananya Dance Theatre and continues to train, perform, teach and tour with the company. Eady enjoys movement that is physically challenging and emotionally complex. She is interested in creating and dancing choreographies that require a sustainable intensity, maintain a connection to story and do not leave behind ancestral guidance. She works to bring her communities with her and performs in honor of those that have come before, the ones that are witnessing, and future generations.
Kealoha Ferreira, is a Kanaka Maoli, Filipino, Chinese dance artist from Nuʻuanu, Oʻahu. She began her performing and teaching career with Ananya Dance Theatre in 2013, becoming the Artistic Associate and a Co-Leader of the Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice in 2018. A practitioner of Yorchhā, and an emerging student of Oli and Hula, Kealoha works at the intersection of these transnational feminist and aloha ʻāina embodied practices to create space, classes, and performance that dig into the tensious and expansive nature of relationality while remaining rooted in cultural and kinesthetic specificity. Sheʻs privileged to have shown work at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, the Shawngram Institute, Pangea World Theater, Heart of the Beast, Walker Arts Center, and virtually with Theater Mu and Red Eye Theater as a Works in Progress cohort artist. Kealoha is grateful to deepen her learning through opportunities like BIPOC Leadership Circle curated by art Equity and Hālau ʻŌhiʻa, a land and water stewardship program organized by Lonoa Honua. She mahalos the people, lands, and waters (chosen and ancestral) that teach her daily to dance and live in aloha and complex solidarity.
Photo credit: Laichee Yang
Victoria is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Santee affiliated, and was born and raised on her ancestral homelands in Mnisota (Minneapolis, MN). She is the owner of Indigenous Lotus which launched in 2017 with the intention to support indigenous relatives in healing through movement practices. As a mother and dedicated student and practitioner, Victoria is a 500-hour certified Yoga Instructor, Yoga of 12-Step Recovery Leader, Primal Flow certified Instructor, and holds a degree in business. Prior to Indigenous Lotus, Victoria’s background includes over a decade of direct youth work within the community for Native American/ Indigenous non-profit organizations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Her work has led her to teach and speak around the nation and in Canada. Currently, Victoria is enrolled in a second 300-hour yoga certification program with Susanna Barkataki, enrolled in an accredited Ayurvedic Health Counseling program, and a part of an Abortion Doula cohort through the Postpartum Healing Lodge.
We invite artists who are ready for professional engagement to join our ensemble. Ideal company members demonstrate a commitment to training in a non-mainstream movement aesthetic and the rigor of a justice-informed creative approach, show up with maturity and consistency in their working process, and embody an ensemble-based working methodology.
Our work is process-intensive and ensemble-based and we invite artists to bring the fullness of their voice to the work.
Ananya Dance Theatre is a professional dance company of BIPOC women and femme artists working at the intersection of artistic 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. 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.
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 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 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
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.