Michhil Amra | We Are the Procession.

“How can we build a different, more just world?” We may chafe at interruptions of normal routine; but when structures of “normality” are built on systemic violence and oppression, epic disruptions can generate vibrant possibilities. During the Uprising provoked by the murder of George Floyd, people from different communities, experiences, and identities gathered, embodied together in public space, disrupting “normal routine” to demand a more just system. These events inspired people from many different walks of life to join together in marches and occupation of public spaces. Since April, Ananya Dance Theatre has held a series of public processions to resonate with and activate the spirit of Uprisings, marking days, lives, and locations that live at the heart of our community.  Artifacts from each ADT procession this year will appear in the performed work. 

September 22-23, 2023
7:30 pm

The O’Shaughnessy at Saint Catherine University

Artistic Director/Choreographer Chatterjea says: “Growing up in Kolkata in the 70’s, I regularly experienced michhil (“protest/processions” in Bangla) spilling out into urban spaces and demanding public awareness of injustices. As in my youth, I understand my experiences in the Twin Cities – the urgency of protest processions, the occupation of public pathways, and the refusal to comply with curfews – through the intersection of justice and necessary, if inconvenient, reorganization. Working through disrupted flows to imagine spaces held with care by communities has been the cherished learning in this creative process.”

 

May 25, 2023, Tribute to George Floyd; Ananya Dance Theatre at Say Their Names Cemetary. Photo: Ethan Yang

ABOUT THE SHOW

ADT’s company of BIPOC women and femme dancers, in creative alliance with behavioral artist Marcus Young, composer/sound designer Greg Schutte, costume designer Annie Cady, scenic designer Laichee Yang, video designer Darren Johnson, and lighting designer Kevin Jones, offers an invigorating dance work, vibrating with hard-won connection and soulful beauty. Micchil also features spectacular collaborators, with live performances by celebrated music artists Douglas Ewart, Michelle Kinney, and Tarek Abdelquader, and acclaimed poet Douglas Kearney.

Audiences will experience a unique blend of visual spectacle and auditory meditative experiences ranging from dance, poetry, music, processions, meditations, and a celebration of life. Michhil breaks all the barriers of oppression, redefining what audiences expect from dance, theater, storytelling, and community; the piece captures intimate, fervent moments of BIPOC Women’s rebellion against the oppressive West, Climate Change, and Global Patriarchy. 

ABOUT THE PROCESSIONS

Adjunct to the creation process for Michhil, ADT artists devised a series of intentional, thematically structured processions, designed to reveal the potential of movement as an organizing methodology. These events are imagined as vital gathering points for our Twin Cities BIPOC, Queer, Dalit, and other marginalized communities.

 

Ambedkar Jyanti
April 13, 2023

Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice/Midway Peace Park
This procession celebrated the tremendous work of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, an Indian jurist, economist, social reformer, political leader, and a stalwart of the Dalit Liberation Movement. Drishadwati Bargi, (Doctoral Candidate, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota), whose research focuses on anti caste literature and cinema, provided participants with a brief overview of the key teachings of BabaSaheb Ambedkar and the Dalit Movement generally.

 

 

 

Tribute to George Floyd
May 25, 2023

Say Their Names Cemetery
This procession memorialized and mourned Black lives lost to police violence. We gathered at the Say Their Names Cemetery, speaking the names aloud, and then processed together to the George Floyd Memorial Square, where Maestro Douglas R. Ewart led us in a brief offering with his George Floyd Bunt Staffs, as a prelude to the annual Rise and Remember event.

 

 

Water Walk with Sharon Day
June 30th, 2023

Stone Arch Bridge
We uphold the long-term work of Indigenous leader Sharon Day, who has led many communities in Nibi walks, where we promise to honor our life-affirming relationship with the waters that flow through these lands, and to care for the water every day.

 

 

ABOUT OUR WORK 

In a moment when “contemporary dance” is dominated by Western (most often Euro-American) movement practices, we seek a paradigm shift. Our artistry unfolds through Yorchhā, our devised contemporary dance language that carefully deconstructs and reassembles techniques of traditional Odissi, the martial art Chhau, and Vinyasa Yoga, in choreographic conversations that evoke feminine power and celebrate a feminist aesthetic. The alchemy created when Yorchhā meets our creative methodology of Shawngrām (“resistance” in Bangla) generates social justice choreography. With granular attention, we uphold layered, intersecting stories of our communities and those we hold sacred, evoked through abstract and metaphoric story arcs. We highlight liberation struggles, inspired by the lives and dreams of BIPOC women and femmes around the globe.