Daak: Call to Action

"Daak: Call to Action" is an artistic response to historic and continuing land rights violations happening across the world – from the Native communities here in Minnesota to "special economic zones" in West Bengal, India, to the maquiladoras of Tijuana, Mexico. Second in our trilogy on environmental justice, "Daak" works through vivid dance images to share stories of trauma in global communities of color and the resistance and conjuring of hope that rises from desperation and devastation. "Daak" ends with a metaphoric "call to action" for audiences to lend their energy to the struggles of many women of color around the world about land and environmental and socio-cultural breakdown.

World Premiere: June 12, 2008, The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN

Running Time: 80 minutes, without intermission


Concept & Choreography: Ananya Chatterjea

Direction: Dora Arreola

Composition & Musical Arrangement: Shubha Mudgal & Aneesh Pradhan

Costume Design: Rex Rajavairin

Lighting Design: Pearl Rea

Scenography: T’acoumba Aiken

Poetry: Omise´eke Natasha Tinsley & Marcie Rendon

Environmental Justice Organizers: Cecilia Martinez & Shalini Gupta

Visual Design: Darren Johnson & Northern Dawn Media

Dancers: Ananya Chatterjea, Chitra Vairavan, Hui Niu Wilcox, Stefania Strowder, Gina Kundan, Lela Pierce, Srija Chatterjea Sen, Sachiko Nishiuchi, Sherie Apungu, Omise´eke Natasha Tinsley, Takawi Peters, Jasmine Kar Tang, Simran Kundan, Arunima Shiney Ajay

Music Credits:

Composition & Sound Design: Shubha Mudgal & Aneesh Pradhan

Musicians: Shubha Mudgal (first voice), Pratap Rath (percussion), Aneesh Pradhan (percussion), Minal Gajjar (second voice), Son Gajjar (child’s spoken word).

Extracts of folk songs from Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India

Recorded, mixed & mastered by Tanay Gajjar at Ava Studios, Mumbai, assisted by Pranam Pansare

Production & Stage Manager: Kari Mosel

Stage Managers: Laura Selle & Michala Cornell

Video Documentation & Production: Darren Johnson & Northern Dawn Media

Technical Consultant: Collin Sherraden

Lobby Exhibit Construction: Jessica Briggs


Choreographer’s Note: by Ananya Chatterjea

“Daak” emerges from struggles around particular land rights violations and hinges on explorations of the intimate relationships of hands and feet to ideas of grounding and connectedness. Efforts by leaders in Minnesota’s Native communities to seek restorative justice that acknowledges and addresses the wrongful and forced acquisition of Native land since statehood opened our eyes to the long histories of injustice about the ground on which we dance. We also saw, through workshops conducted by our collaborator, theater activist Dora Arreola, how this history of colonization and land appropriation has been continued in the establishment of “Free Trade Zones” in Mexico and of maquiladoras in border towns such as Tijuana and Juarez. These histories resonated deeply with contemporary struggles in West Bengal, India, where government initiatives to establish global industrial sites as “Special Economic Zones” has rendered countless villagers destitute in the name of development.


We have everything—Work and interruption—Journey and submission—Responses—Hope—Voices—Assault—Organizing—I just need to sleep—Factory/withering earth—Land—Ghost—Precarious/Equilibrium—Call to Action—Finding our feet