February 5, 2015

Chatterjea will study Chhau with Kri Foundation fellowship

Ananya Chatterjea Photo V. Paul Virtucio

Ananya Chatterjea
Photo V. Paul Virtucio

The Kri Foundation has granted a fellowship to Ananya Chatterjea, ADT’s artistic director, to take part in an Intensive Artistic Residency in the Mayurbhanj style of Chhau, the martial art form that is part of Ananya Dance Theatre’s Yorchha technique.

Chatterjea will study for 10 days with Guru Sadashiv Pradhan, senior guru and lecturer at Utkal University in Bhubaneshwar.

January 20, 2015

How the local arts community engages in conversations about race: Chatterjea on Minnesota Public Radio's Daily Circuit

On Minnesota Public Radio’s The Daily Circuit, Jan. 20, 2015, participants talked about how the Twin Cities arts community has engaged with the dialogue around race in recent months.

Sarah Bellamy & Ananya Chatterjea on MPR

Sarah Bellamy & Ananya Chatterjea on MPR

Ananya Chatterjea, founder and artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre, Sarah Bellamy, co-artistic director of Penumbra Theater, and Shá Cage, Twin Cities interdisciplinary artist,

joined the discussion and brought up what they’re seeing in the most recent reactions to national stories like Ferguson. Bellamy said you can look at protests as a form of artistic performance.

Listen to the 40-minute conversation.

January 17, 2015

ADT's Kickstarter campaign successfully funded

One answer to the question, “What happens when the river flows into the ocean?” was expressed when 86 people, cheered by a cast of hundreds, donated $5,210 over 35 days to ADT’s Kickstarter campaign. The campaign began December 11, 2014, and ended January 15, 2015, after reaching 104% of its $5,000 goal.

The raised funds will support creation of ADT’s new work, “Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine,” about women’s work with land, seed, food, and nurture. Funds also secure the final matching dollars for a grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding ideas that engage and enrich Saint Paul through the arts.

Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, visual artist Seitu Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young will partner with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force to produce an evening-length story reflecting and honoring the age-old work of women who cultivate, nurture, and protect land and agriculture with emotional and blood labor to create a just and sustainable food system for our shared future.

ADT will present “Roktim” with multiple performances by 11 dancers at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, in September 2015.

December 18, 2014

Ananya Dance Theatre at 2015 APAP Conference

New York, NY – Ananya Dance Theatre will perform excerpts of work at an open rehearsal and at the Sheffield Global Arts Management 2015 Associated Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Dance Showcase. The open rehearsal will take place at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, Studio 5, Sat., Jan. 10, at 1pm; the showcase will take place at The Ailey Studios, The Joan Weill Center for Dance – Studio 1B, Sun., Jan. 11, at 9:15pm.

Ananya Dance Theatre: People Powered Dances of Transformation will showcase as a roster artist with Sheffield Global Arts Management for its inaugural APAP Dance Showcase. ADT will perform Mohona/estuary: Poisoned Waters, excerpts of three water stories told through contemporary Indian dance: I didn’t mean to drown, reflecting women’s desperation and suicide by drowning; Chalchiuhlicue’s Rage, the story of the Aztec goddess of water; and Chemical Lawns, on the subject of chemical and industrial pollution.

Both events are free of charge. Reservations are highly recommended.

RSVP by phone or email: (917) 409-6851 or sheffieldfrancine@gmail.com

Open Rehearsal Location: Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Studio 5, 248 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023. Transit: 1, A, C, B, D trains to 59th St./Columbus Circle, M57 bus cross-town to West End Avenue.

Showcase Location: The Ailey Studios, The Joan Weill Center for Dance, Studio 1B, 405 West 55th Street @ 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019. Transit: 1, A, C, B, D trains to 59th St./Columbus Circle, N, R, Q, to 57th St. (at 7th Avenue), C, E trains to 50th St. (at 8th Avenue), M57 bus cross-town to 9th Ave., M11 bus to 55th St. & 9th Ave.

Ananya Dance Theatre, a contemporary Indian dance company comprised of women artists of color, describes its artists as cultural activists, working through dance and artistic processes to engage audiences, build community, and move toward justice and beauty. www.ananyadancetheatre.org

Sheffield Global Arts Management represents emerging dance artists and dance companies with a focus on women and people of color.  SGAM is committed to having dance accessible to all communities and have diverse cultures represented on the stage as well as in the audience.

December 11, 2014

ADT's $5,000 Kickstarter campaign underway!

Ananya Dance Theatre is creating its new work, “Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine,” about women’s work with land, seed, food, and nurture. And we need your help to raise $5,000 to realize our vision!

Click here to donate.

We will present “Roktim” with multiple performances by 11 dancers at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, in September 2015.

Women’s loving labor produces the elements of our sustenance. Women from global societies have also defended the land and eco-systems with their lives and their continued work, from the onslaught of aggressive industrialization. But the food system in which we exist often obscures these stories.

Ananya Dance Theatre • Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Ananya Dance Theatre Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, visual artist Seitu Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young will partner with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force to produce an evening-length story reflecting and honoring the age-old work of women who cultivate, nurture, and protect land and agriculture with emotional and blood labor to create a just and sustainable food system for our shared future.

“Roktim” is created to an epic vision and your support will allow us to fulfill these elements of our project: (a) Artist Seitu Jones will create a unique, interactive set that changes as dancers work with it to demonstrate our mutually shaping relationship with the eco-system we inhabit ($2,250); and (b) Our 11 dancers will participate in research at local farms, learning how women farmers work and sharing their stories. This time, in addition to regular rehearsals, will be essential for the project’s authenticity ($2,750).

“Roktim” is funded in part by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding ideas that engage and enrich Saint Paul through the arts.

We must match Knight Foundation’s $50,000 grant dollar-for-dollar. To-date, we have secured matching funds of $45,000. We invite your financial gift in any amount to help put us over the top and meet the match. Any amount raised over $5,000 will be used for dancers’ compensation.

Please help us meet the match and make this project happen!

Click here to donate.

October 6, 2014

ADT's "Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine" will be funded by Knight Foundation

Ananya Dance Theatre announces the second installment of a multi-year series of full-length dances exploring the kinds of work that women around the world do to sustain their communities. This second piece is funded in part by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding ideas that engage and enrich Saint Paul through the arts. Titled ROKTIM, it will premiere at The O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine University in Saint Paul in September 2015.

Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation Vice President / Arts, presenting Ananya Chatterjea a St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge Award • Sept. 29, 2014

 

To tell the story of women’s roles in the global food system, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, visual artist Seitu Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young will partner with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco, and the Indigenous Peoples Task Force to reflect and honor the age-old work of women who cultivate, nurture and protect land and agriculture. The work will employ contemporary Indian dance to weave together artistic process and social justice in telling the stories of those whose often-unacknowledged labor sustains communities.

Roktim will include an original sound-and-music score by Greg Schutte, Chatterjea’s longtime collaborator.

Young helped direct Ananya Dance Theatre’s two most recent productions, Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming (2014) and Mohona: Estuaries of Desire (2013). Chatterjea recently collaborated with Jones on Create: The Community Meal, a multi-media public artwork that included an outdoor civic dinner served to 2,000 people on a half-mile long table. Earlier, Jones designed the sets for Duurbaar: Journeys Into Horizon in 2006.

“The arts are an important way to examine the stories and histories that shape our society. We expect that Ananya’s production, which involves some of the city’s leading artists, will provide an important lens for exploring this issue,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation.

About The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

September 12, 2014

Ordway Center commissions new work for Concert Hall opening

Ananya Dance Theatre is honored to receive a commission from The Ordway Center for an original, evening-length work as part of Rock The Ordway, a 22-day celebration of the Center’s new Concert Hall in downtown St. Paul.

The performance, “Aahvan: Invoking the Cities,” will be a presentation of the Arts Partnership: The Ordway, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, and The Schubert Club, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 7:30pm.

Backed by layers of live and recorded music, this epic, full-length dance theater piece exudes extraordinary images that weave together our rich legacy of water, the relationship of our people to the land, the diversity of local communities, and our artistic innovation.

September 6, 2014

Create: The Community Meal

We are excited to perform at the upcoming (and sold out) Create: The Community Meal on September 14. The Star Tribune recently interviewed artist Seitu Jones who conceived and created the event.

July 21, 2014

Our 10th anniversary season at The Cowles Center for Dance, 9/18-20

To kick off its 10th anniversary season, Ananya Dance Theatre will present Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming, a multi-disciplinary immersion in the work and world of women’s dreams. The world premiere launches a multi-year series of full-length dances exploring the kinds of work that women around the world do to sustain their communities. Neel will be on stage at The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Avenue, in downtown Minneapolis. Performances take place at 8pm on Thursday, September 18; Friday, September 19; and Saturday, September 20. There will be a post-show discussion on Friday, September 19.

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April 30, 2014

We received MNCASA's 2014 AWARE Award

The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault held its 8th annual AWARE celebration, Tue., April 29, at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul. The event is an opportunity to educate the community about sexual violence, acknowledge individuals and organizations that have played a key role in working to end sexual violence, and to focus our attention on the growing call for an investment in prevention.

continued →

February 12, 2014

A three-week summer dance intensive with ADT at the University of Minnesota • June 23 - July 11

Ananya Chatterjea and company members from Ananya Dance Theatre will teach daily technique class in the style of Yorchha, the company’s signature movement vocabulary combining elements from yoga, the classical Indian dance form Odishi, and the martial art form Chhau, and set exciting repertory on intensive participants. A public showing will conclude the intensive on Friday, July 11, at 2pm.

continued →

August 28, 2013

"Mohona: Estuaries of Desire" • Sept. 20-21

mohonaPostcardFinalPress-page-001A multi-disciplinary, total theater experience, “Mohona” relates stories and layers images of women’s work and lives in relation to water. The performance space is imagined as an estuary – located at the confluence of multiple marine flows, rich in possibilities – where dancers layer breath, movement, and voice to explore the themes.

Created by Ananya Chatterjea in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi and the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre. Score by Gregg Schutte in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi and Pooja Goswami Pavan. Set and costume design by Annie Kastura Rollins.

Tickets: $27, $22, $17; $2 off for seniors and children, and alumni, faculty, and staff of St. Catherine University and University of Minnesota; $10 day of event rush for college and high school students.

651.690.6700 • www.theoshaughnessy.com

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105.

Video previews of rehearsal segments: “Dream”“Losing and Remembering”“Flowing In Each Others’ Memories”“Chemical Lawns”

On the blog: Artistic director and choreographer’s note about “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire”

July 10, 2013

"Instructions for Peace," July 11 at

Ananya Dance Theatre will perform around Lourdes Cue’s “Flotilla for Peace” that includes hundreds of origami boats in different sizes, made from old maps and Atlases. Hear the sounds from the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans mingling with the flowing waters of the Mississippi River. Performance is July 11th at Katherine E. Nash gallery on the University of Minnesota campus. Full details here.

April 30, 2013

Ananya Dance Theatre and The O'Shaughnessy present "Mohona: Estuaries of Desire"

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Ananya Dance Theatre (“ADT”) and The O’Shaughnessy will present “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” as part of Women of Substance at St. Catherine University, Sept. 20-21, 2013.

"Mohona: Estuaries of Desire" The O'Shaughnessy • Sept. 20-21 Photo V. Paul Virtucio

“Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” • Sept. 20-21
A multi-disciplinary, total theater experience
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Created as a multi-disciplinary, total theater experience that invites audience participation, “Mohona” relates stories and layers images of women’s work and lives in relation to water to reflect and pose questions about access to this natural resource and the systemic violence against people that results when it is subject to private control.

The stories in “Mohona” recall and celebrate historic struggles, pain, determination, and courage. Here, water is both material, quenching thirst, and metaphor, signifying flow, femininity, and resistance. The performance space is imagined as an estuary – located at the confluence of multiple marine flows, rich in possibilities – where dancers layer breath, movement, and voice to explore the themes.

Four chapters: Source, Eddy, Mouth, and Procession
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

The structure of “Mohona” has four chapters: Source, Eddy, Mouth, and Procession. The voice and movement of collaborator Mankwe Ndosi provides a unifying presence in her role as Goddess of the South Seas.

Four other goddesses appear throughout the dance: Oshun, the West African Goddess of Love and the Sweet Waters; Ganga, the Goddess of the Holy Ganges River; Chalchiuhtlicue, the Aztec goddess of water, rivers, seas, streams, storms, and baptism; and Mazu, the South China goddess of the sea who protects fishermen and sailors.

Audience members will be invited to participate in the performance by contributing a wish, a memory, a thought, or a prayer to the metaphoric river, and to join the dancers in the final Procession movement – led by the four goddess lanterns – on stage and throughout the theater in a metaphoric call to action.

Photo: V. Paul Virtucio

Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Choreographed by Minnesota’s Ananya Chatterjea with an original score by composer Greg Schutte, “Mohona” will feature collaborative elements by vocalists Ndosi and Pooja Goswami Pavan, lighting designer Mike Wangen, and costume and set designer Annie Katsura Rollins.

“Mohona” is the concluding work in ADT’s epic, four-year investigation into systemic violence, trauma, resistance, and empowerment experienced by communities of color, using the thematic elements of mud (“Kshoy!/Decay!” 2010), gold (“Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass” 2011), oil (“Moreechika: Season of Mirage” 2012), and water (“Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” 2013).

In addition to its Minnesota performances, “Moreechika” was presented in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in July 2012; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in October 2012; and Harare, Zimbabwe, in April 2013.

Schedule and Tickets

Two performances of “Mohona” will be offered at 8pm, Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21. The run-time is approximately 90 minutes without intermission.

Tickets: $27, $22, and $17 for adults; $2 off for seniors and children, and alumni, faculty, and staff of St. Catherine University and University of Minnesota. $10 day of event rush for college and high school students.

new_OSHAG_Logo_rgbTickets will go on sale May 6, 2013. Call The O’Shaughnessy at 651.690.6700 or visit www.theoshaughnessy.com.

The O’Shaughnessy is located on the campus of St. Catherine University at 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55105

Ananya Dance Theater

ADT, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization based in Minneapolis, is comprised of 11 women dancers of U.S. citizenship, some native born and some naturalized. Two are of Indian origin, four are of Asian origin, and the rest are of African, Latino, African-American, Native, and European-American origin.

A trademark emotional intensity and physical prowess Photo V. Paul Virtucio

Dance theater that tells the stories of women’s lives
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Inspired by the commitment and passion that infuse women’s movements worldwide, ADT’s artists create dance theater that tells the stories of women’s lives with a trademark emotional intensity and physical prowess that draws upon the company’s contemporary choreographic aesthetic and technique. This aesthetic explores and celebrates feminine energy at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice.

ADT’s work offers Indian performance traditions deconstructed and reimagined in the manner of an American “vernacular.” Chatterjea seamlessly integrates the sculptural sensuality, powerful footwork, and emotional articulation of the classical Indian dance form Odissi, the pure lines and breath release of yoga, and a bodily awareness of energy in the martial arts tradition of Chhau.

Audiences are invited to learn more about the dancers’ research and creative process for “Mohona” by visiting ADT’s website and blog: www.ananyadancetheatre.org/blog.

Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director and choreographer

Ananya Chatterjea Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Ananya Chatterjea
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, a recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography and a 2012 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography, serves as a professor and Director of Dance in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Trained initially in Indian classical and folk dance traditions, she became known at a young age as a practitioner of the Odissi classical style under the tutelage of her internationally acclaimed guru, Sanjukta Panigrahi. She performed and toured widely, dancing with diverse community-based companies and government initiatives.

Chatterjea’s choreography has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Asian Arts Initiative, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight, Jerome, and Bush foundations. Recent engagements include an artist residency at the New Waves Institute in Trinidad (2011), plenary performance at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in Denver (2010), performances at the World Dance Event at New York City’s Dance Theater Workshop (2010), keynote address and performance at the International Conference of Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (2009), teaching and performing at Bates Dance Festival (2008), performances and panel presentations at Erasing Borders Festival (NY, 2008), teaching at the American Dance Festival (2008), and performances, workshops, and master classes with The O’Shaughnessy Women of Substance Series (2008) in St. Paul.

Greg Schutte, composer

Greg Schutte Photo by Kate Gustafson

Greg Schutte
Photo by Kate Gustafson

Greg Schutte is a Minneapolis-based composer, drummer, and producer. His current affiliations include the April Sellers Dance Collective and the music groups Jelloslave and the Bill Mike Co-op. In 2010, he toured Iraq and Kuwait with the singer-songwriter Keri Noble to perform for the United States troops and coalition forces. Schutte has shared stages with many artists over the years, including Lorie Line, Anthony Cox, Shane Henry (B.B. King Blues Festival, 2005), The Rule (Cyndi Lauper Summer Tour, 2007), Alicia Wiley, Sue Foley, Bernard Allison, Mary Cutrufello, Ted Nash, Yawo, and Christian Howes.

Mankwe Ndosi, vocalist/composer/cultural worker

Mankwe Ndosi Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Mankwe Ndosi
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

Mankwe Ndosi has worked in the Twin Cities and Chicago for more than 15 years as a music maker, performer, educator and culture weaver focused on sound, story, and expanding the vocabulary of singing. She seeks to infuse creative practice back into the worlds of healing, sustainable economic development, education, and new village community building. She contributed to soundtracks for ADT’s “Moreechika,” “Tushanaal,” and “Kshoy!” Ndosi holds a BS degree from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, with a focus on Political and Social Theory, Economics and Women’s Studies, and Music and Performance Highlights. Her creative work has been supported by the Jerome and McKnight foundations, Minnesota State Arts Board, and American Composers Forum.

Pooja Goswami Pavan, vocalist

Pooja Goswami Pavan

Pooja Goswami Pavan

Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan is a Minneapolis based performer, composer, teacher, and scholar of Hindustani (North Indian classical) music. She received a Ph.D. in Music from the University of New Delhi, and also is trained in semi-classical music by Vidushi Shanti Hiranand. Pavan has performed on stages in India and Vietnam in addition to the Guthrie Theater, the Ordway Center, and The O’Shaughnessy in the Twin Cities. She serves as adjunct faculty in the School of Music at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College.

Mike Wangen, lighting designer

Mike Wangen

Mike Wangen

Mike Wangen has worked with ADT for several years, and recently was named a 2012-13 McKnight Theater Artist Fellow. He has designed lighting for more than 30 years, during which his work has been seen at almost every theater in the Twin Cities. He serves as the lighting director at the Fitzgerald Theater, where he lights “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Annie Katsura Rollins, costume and set designer

ADT Mohona PostcardAnnie Katsura Rollins has designed for several ADT productions, in addition to those for Black Label Movement, Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Theater NoviMost, Teatro Del Pueblo, the University of Minnesota, and Zenon Dance Company. She holds a BA degree in Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, an MFA degree in Theater Design from the University of Minnesota, and is pursuing a doctorate in Chinese Shadow Puppetry.

Josina Manu, production and stage manager

Josina Manu began working in production 10 years ago for artists in Philadelphia. Her subsequent venue credits range from the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to the Bedlam Theater in Minneapolis. This is her first season with ADT.

Funding Credits

Ananya Dance Theatre is supported by ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest.

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Women of Substance • The O'Shaughnessy Photo V. Paul Virtucio

“Mohona”: The concluding work
in a four-year investigation into systemic violence
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

This activity is funded, in part, by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Mankwe Ndosi, is a fiscal year 2013 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.

Related Video Content:

Dancing For Justice…An UpTake Leadership Profile: Ananya Chatterjea • (08:22) • March 27, 2013

MNoriginal: Ananya Dance Theatre • (04:34) • May 3, 2010

April 16, 2013

Ananya Dance Theatre will perform in Zimbabwe: Harare International Festival of the Arts

Minneapolis airport, Apr. 26, 2013, en route to HIFA • Minneapolis/Amsterdam: 5,082 mi. Amsterdam/Harare: 5,082 mi. L-to-R: Josina Manu, production manager; Ananya Chatterjea; Alexandra Eady; Brittany Radke; Chitra Vairavan; Orlando Hunter; Rose Huey; Renée Copeland; Hui Wilcox.

Minneapolis airport, Apr. 26, 2013, en route to HIFA • Minneapolis/Amsterdam: 4,165 mi. Amsterdam/Harare: 5,082 mi. L-to-R: Josina Manu, production manager; Ananya Chatterjea; Alexandra Eady; Brittany Radke; Chitra Vairavan; Orlando Hunter; Rose Huey; Renée Copeland; Hui Wilcox.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Ananya Dance Theatre (“ADT”) will present “Moreechika: Season of Mirage” at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in Zimbabwe, April 30.

HIFA showcases Zimbabwean and international artists in a comprehensive program of theater, dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word, craft, and visual arts over six days each April and May. The 2013 festival runs from April 30 to May 5.

778910_291540827638812_1160590060_oThe festival is known internationally as one of the best festivals in Africa.

The theme of “Moreechika,” an evening-length work, is oil and the environmental, cultural, and human costs of its extraction, particularly on women in global communities of color.

Choreographed by Minnesota’s Ananya Chatterjea to an original score by composer Greg Schutte, “Moreechika” received its world premiere in July 2012 at the New Waves Festival in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The company presented subsequent performances in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, in September and October, respectively.

“Moreechika” is the third work in a four-part investigation into systemic violence, trauma, resistance, and empowerment experienced by communities of color, using the thematic elements of mud (“Kshoy!/Decay!” 2010), gold (“Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass” 2011), oil (“Moreechika: Season of Mirage” 2012), and water (“Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” 2013).

As Chatterjea explains, the inspiration for ”Moreechika” has come from many sources, including “the struggles of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who addressed the injustices done by Shell Oil to the Ogoni people and the destruction of their land and ecosystem, for which he was tried and hanged by a military tribunal.”

"Moreechika: Season of Mirage" Photo V. Paul Virtucio

“Moreechika: Season of Mirage”
Photo V. Paul Virtucio

The struggles of the U’wa community of Colombia also informed the work.

“This community is stunned by the excessive consumption of oil by our world,”

Chatterjea says. “They think of oil as ruiria, blood of the earth, which must be respected as part of the natural world.”

Chatterjea also drew inspiration from the responses of the indigenous Kichwa women of Ecuador to Chevron oil, and the current struggle in North America against the Keystone XL Pipeline through Native American land.

ADT creates original dance theater that tells the metaphoric stories of women’s lives with a trademark emotional intensity and physical prowess that draw upon the company’s contemporary choreographic aesthetic and technique. This aesthetic explores and celebrates feminine energy at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice.

Inspired by the commitment and passion that infuse women’s movements worldwide, the artists create original works that tell stories of ordinary lives, foster strong communities, raise social justice issues, and engender power and beauty.

Chatterjea seamlessly integrates the sculptural sensuality, powerful footwork, and emotional articulation of the classical Indian dance form Odissi, the pure lines and breath release of yoga, and a bodily awareness of energy in the martial arts tradition of Chhau.

Americans Participating at HIFAThis engagement is supported by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Ananya Dance Theatre is supported by ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest.

The creation of “Moreechika” was funded, in part, by appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. Additional funding provided by The McKnight Foundation, Institute for Advanced Studies, Image Fund, and underwritten by the American Composers Forum’s “Live Music for Dance Minnesota” program in partnership with New Music USA, with matching funds provided by the McKnight Foundation.MAAF_new_logo_color

April 16, 2013

Governance and management change at Ananya Dance Theatre

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—The directors of Ananya Dance Theatre (“ADT”), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have elected Gina Kundan as chair of the board of directors. She succeeds Anne Jin Soo Preston, who held the post for two years.

Gina Kundan Photo V. Paul Virtucio

Gina Kundan
Photo V. Paul Virtucio

Kundan joined ADT as a founding dancer in 2004, and also served in the volunteer role of organizational director for seven years. She directs the Center for Health Interprofessional Programs at the University of Minnesota. Kundan holds a BFA degree in dance from Wright State University, a MA degree in social theory from Hamline University, and is pursuing an MPA degree at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

New ADT directors include Anitra Cottledge, Marlina Gonzalez, Prachee Mukherjee, and David Mura. Continuing directors include Robert Lynn, CPA, and Gary Peterson.

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre • Photo V. Paul Virtucio

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre
Photo V. Paul Virtucio

In addition to Preston, departing, long-time directors include Ayanna Muata, Kimberly Simon, and Lori Young-Williams. Muata served as board chair for six years.

ADT also has named Peterson to the new post of managing director. He succeeds Jessica Briggs who served as program manager for nearly five years. Peterson served previously as chief administrator of Zenon Dance Company, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, and the Southern Theater.

“I shall be ever grateful to all of these dedicated colleagues who are moving on to other good things in their lives,” said Ananya Chatterjea, ADT’s founder and artistic director.

“All have contributed immeasurably to our organizational progress,” she said. “Muata and Briggs, because of their dedication and longevity were instrumental in creating ADT’s infrastructure and processes.”

Chatterjea added, “I welcome the newcomers to our ranks and thank them and the continuing directors. It is both humbling and an honor to walk and work with those who share a passion for artistic excellence and social justice.”

L-to-R: Jessica Briggs, Ananya Chatterjea

L-to-R: Jessica Briggs, Ananya Chatterjea

ADT creates dance theater works that tell the metaphoric stories of women’s lives with a trademark emotional intensity and physical prowess that draw upon the company’s contemporary choreographic aesthetic and technique. This aesthetic explores and celebrates feminine energy at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice.

Ananya Dance Theatre is supported by ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest. The program provides a two-year immersion for selected non-profit arts organizations with training on leadership, adaptation, management, and technology.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This activity is funded, in part, by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Mankwe Ndosi, is a fiscal year 2013 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.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Mankwe Ndosi, is a fiscal year 2013 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.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This activity is funded, in part, by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State's general fund.

Ananya Dance Theatre is supported by ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest.

April 1, 2013

"Dance of A Thousand Water Dreams" at Northern Spark, June 8-9

“Dance of A Thousand Water Dreams” is presented by Ananya Dance Theatre as part of Northern Spark 2013, produced by Northern Lights.mn. 

Photo: V. Paul Virtucio

Photo: V. Paul Virtucio

“Dance of A Thousand Water Dreams,” a three-part processional performance inspired by the imagination of water in indigenous cosmologies, will begin with a water purification ritual at Lambert’s Landing conducted by women leaders from the Native communities. It then moves into a processional dance in which all are invited to participate. The dancing procession, accompanied by musicians from the Cherry Spoon Collective and poetry by Mankwe Ndosi, and led by lanterns designed by Annie Katsura Rollins, will travel up Sibley Street and complete the water ceremony on the Union Depot Plaza. A version of this processional dance will recur at midnight, this time with candles. It also will recur before dawn, with dancers and audience traveling back to the Lambert’s Landing where we mark a new beginning in our relationship with the Mississippi River.

Photo: V. Paul Virtucio

Photo: V. Paul Virtucio

The Schedule:

7pm: Alfresco processional performance begins at Lambert’s Landing, on the Mississippi River near Warner Road & Jackson Street. The public is welcome to participate.

7:15pm: Water is raised from the River in meditative silence. The voices of Cherry Spoon Collective musicians and poet Mankwe Ndosi soar across the sky to end the meditation and begin the first dance, “Awakening.”

7:30pm: Water ritual, conducted by Native activist Sharon Day.

7:40pm: Lanterns lead “River Ancestries,” a processional dance, from Lambert’s Landing up Sibley Street to Union Depot plaza.

8:20pm: Procession dance ends with flame lighting.

11:40pm: Dancers, musicians, and audience gather at the  plaza water sculpture to light lanterns and candles for “Water Bodies,” a danced struggle between the Zuni god, Swallower of Clouds, and the water goddesses Oshun, Ganga, Chalchiuhtlicue, and Mazu. A midnight procession through Union Depot’s waiting room concludes at 12:45am.

Throughout the night, the public may place written memories and wishes for water at the plaza sculpture.

4:20am-5:20am: Sound artists summon all to rise and dance on the plaza in “Shifting Course” as Swallower of Clouds is vanquished by the goddesses who then lead a triumphant dance down Sibley Street to Lambert’s Landing and closing ceremony led by Sharon Day.

Union Depot plaza

Union Depot plaza

We invite you to participate with us in the four movement segments: “Awakening,” “River Ancestries,” “Water Bodies,” and “Shifting Course.” To help you do that, we have posted a 7-1/2 minute instructional video online that you can practice in the privacy of your home. Or – join us at the Union Depot from 6pm to 8pm on either Wednesday, June 5, or Friday, June 7, and we will help you learn the moves in person.

Of Related Interest: 

St. Paul’s Union Depot has been rebult and remodeled many times • by John Diers • MinnPost.com • April 2, 2013

March 27, 2013

Dancing For Justice...An UpTake Leadership Profile: Ananya Chatterjea

http://www.theuptake.org/2013/03/27/dancing-for-social-justice%E2%80%A6an-uptake-leadership-profile-ananya-chatterjea/

July 15, 2011

ADT's “Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass” Debut at Southern Theater

ADT Opens the Southern Theater Season
September 8-11 with “Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass”

The second piece in a four-year, anti-violence project exploring
the experiences of women of color across the globe.

April 8, 2011

HOT off the Press...Ananya Chatterjea awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography

Minneapolis, Minnesota-Ananya Chatterjea, founder of Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT), has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. According to the foundation’s website,  “The Fellowships are awarded to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Chatterjea will celebrate the Fellowship during an ADT Fundraiser on Monday, April 11, at the Southern Theater, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (For additional information, contact admin@ananyadancetheatre.org). During the fundraiser, the company will perform an excerpt from the new work “Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass,” the second piece in a four-year anti-violence project exploring the experiences of women of color across the globe. The piece premieres at the Southern Theater in September. The fundraising event also includes a performance by Laurie Carlos, an excerpt from last year’s “Kshoy/Decay,” and a discussion of the singular choreographic technique Chatterjea’s developed to kinetically communicate with audiences.