Aahvaan: Invoking the Cities

Commissioned for the grand opening of the Ordway Center Concert Hall, Aahvaan: Invoking the Cities is structured uniquely in two major acts. Supported by layers of recorded and live music, this epic, full-length dance theater piece weaves together images inspired by the rich history of indigenous communities on this land, the diversity of communities who now call the Twin Cities home, our rich legacy of water, the vicissitudes of urban life, and artistic innovation.


“Life is not always neat and comfortable. Sometimes it’s painful and tragic. Sometimes it’s hard to watch. But it’s important that we do watch; it’s important that we recognize the illness in the world and attempt to cure it.…Some dances celebrated life, community, togetherness. Some mimicked water (the lifeblood of our cities). The bright colors and gorgeous movements left a kind of lingering hope.” – The Color of the Twin Cities – Rock the Ordway, March 12, 2015, by Kate Liebfried

“The evening was both celebratory and subversive, with performances taking place inside the theater and around the lobby.…it was a way to shake up the idea of performance, allowing audiences to experience dance by participating in it.” – ‘Aahvaan’ helps open Ordway dance hall, March 12, 2015, by Sheila Regan, Star Tribune

World Premiere: March 11, 2015, The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall, Saint Paul MN

Running Time: 2 hours, in two acts

Aahvaan is conceived and created by choreographer Ananya Chatterjea with collaborating director, behavioral and social practice artist Marcus Young, and the dancers of the company. Recorded scores are composed and arranged by Greg Schutte in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi, Laurie Carlos, Pooja Goswami Pavan, Dorene Waubanewquay Day, and Michelle Kinney.

Scenography: Anne Henly with Annie Katsura Rollins; Lela Pierce

Costume Design: Annie Katsura Rollins with Annie Cady

Lighting Design: Kevin A. Jones

Video Design: Darren Johnson

Photographic Images: Wing Young Huie

Ananya Dance Theatre Dancers: Ananya Chatterjea, Chitra Vairavan, Renée Copeland, Lela Pierce, Hui Niu Wilcox, Brittany Radke, Alexandra Eady, Katie Haynes, Kealoha Ferreira, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Leila Awadallah, Prakshi Malik, James Galtney.

Production Management: Josina Manu Maltzman; assistance: Emma Marlar

ACT 1:

Act 1 begins when audience members walk into the Ordway and are invited to participate in five simultaneous performance installations inspired by histories, stories, and energies of communities in the Twin Cities and Minnesota.

Aahvaan Map Side 1


Hui Niu Wilcox

SCORE: Greg Schutte

Empress Ananya_Aahvaan_Signage18x24-page-0


Camille Horstmann, Lydia Jones, Nakita Kirchner, Suzette Gilreath, Aemoni Dancy, Fiona Steen, Totianna Howard (young dancers from Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists) with Brittany Radke

SCORE: Greg Schutte

Life Ananya_Aahvaan_Signage18x24-page-3


Timothy Herian with Lynn Wilcox

SCORE: Douglas Ewart

Wishing Ananya_Aahvaan_Signage18x24-page-4


Renée Copeland, Katie Haynes, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Prakshi Malik, Lela Pierce

SCORE: Mankwe Ndosi and Greg Schutte

Longest Ananya_Aahvaan_Signage18x24-page-1


Chitra Vairavan, Alexandra Eady, Kealoha Ferreira, Leila Awadallah, James Galtney

SCORE: Michelle Kinney and Andrea Reynolds

Veins Ananya_Aahvaan_Signage18x24-page-2


Led by Mankwe Ndosi and Tiyo Siyolo

ACT 2:


Company with Dorene Waubanewquay Day


This heart of fire: Company

Who was here? Renée Copeland with Lela Pierce, Alexandra Eady, Katie Haynes, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, and Prakshi Malik

Those who journeyed: Ananya Chatterjea, Chitra Vairavan, Hui Wilcox, Kealoha Ferreira, and Leila Awadallah


Urbanity: Company

Alienation: Chitra Vairavan

Rising tide: Company


Intersections: Ananya Chatterjea with Mankwe Ndosi, Pooja Goswami Pavan, Greg Schutte, and Douglas Ewart

Spring rain: Chitra Vairavan and Renée Copeland

This gift of flow: Company