January 11, 2022

National Endowment for the Arts awards grants to 39 Minnesota organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a $15,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to Ananya Dance Theatre. The grant will support the creation and production of Nūn Gherāo, the company’s work of contemporary dance theater that will premiere in September 2022.

Nūn Gherāo is among 1,248 projects across America, totaling $28,840,000, that were selected to receive this first round of 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. The national awards include $979,000 to 39 Minnesota organizations. A complete list of grantees is here

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Ananya Dance Theatre that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Ananya Dance Theatre in St. Paul-Minneapolis is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”

“We are grateful for the vote of confidence in our work that this grant represents,” said Gary Peterson, managing director of Ananya Dance Theatre. “We are very proud to be counted among the Minnesota arts organizations that carry the imprimatur of our national arts agency on behalf of the American people.”

December 17, 2021

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation awards Performance Forward Fund grant to Ananya Dance Theatre

We are honored to announce that the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) has awarded a grant to Ananya Dance Theatre from the Performance Forward Fund. The grant makes us ready to propel our organization, artists, and communities into a brighter, post-pandemic future.

“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is grateful to provide this responsive, flexible funding to Ananya Dance Theatre and other performing arts nonprofits with trust in their leadership to address their most critical opportunities as they navigate this moment and build toward the future,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the DDCF. “Despite the unprecedented disruption, these organizations have continued to prioritize supporting artists and have come up with innovative ways to bring artistic work to audiences and the communities they serve.”

DDCF is awarding up to $250,000 each to contemporary dance, jazz, and theater organizations nationwide to accelerate their ability to pivot from business as usual to executing new and promising ideas. Recipients have been identified for evidence of a track record of equity-focused values and practices, visible connections and relevance within their communities, strong leadership, and innovative digital experimentation.

“We are grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its confidence and support of our work,” said Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre. “The foundation’s grantmaking lifts up and recognizes the role of the performing arts in pursuing social justice and serving as an engine for economic opportunity and equity.” 

The mission of the DDCF is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The foundation focuses its support to the performing arts on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them.

The foundation has been awarded the National Medal of Arts in special recognition of its support of creative expression across the United States and “bold commitment” to artistic risk, which has helped performing artists share their talents and enriched the cultural life of the nation. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org. 

@DorisDukeFdn #PerformanceForward

December 10, 2021

Jacob's Pillow selects Ananya Dance Theatre for Winter/Spring 2022 artist residency

Dec. 9, 2021 (BECKET, Mass.) —Jacob’s Pillow is pleased to announce eight artist residencies this winter and spring at the Pillow Lab, its year-round incubator of new work. The annual season of customizable residencies supports U.S.-based and international dance artists during crucial development, research, and technical stages of choreography-driven projects. The recipients for Winter/Spring 2022 include Deborah Goffe, Kayla Hamilton, Ladies of Hip-Hop, Gesel Mason, Taylor Stanley, Ananya Chatterjea, Emma Cianchi, and Irene Rodríguez.

“Our Associate Curators, Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas, and I are excited to announce the artists developing new work at the Pillow Lab. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it’s essential that the Pillow provide space, time, and funding to assist in the recovery of our field,” said Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge. “We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for providing leadership support for the Lab.”

Artists and their collaborators receive unrestricted use of the Pillow’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the 7,000 square-foot Perles Family Studio. Artists also receive free housing, a stipend, professionally filmed video documentation, access to the Pillow’s extensive Archives, and the presence of an “outside eye,” an editor or dramaturg to provide important feedback. Artists benefit from the retreat-like atmosphere and generative landscape that the Pillow’s remote location provides.

This the fifth year of the Pillow Lab, reimagined as an anchor of Vision ‘22, the organization’s five-year strategic plan to be complete by 2022. In its years of serving artists, the Pillow Lab improved upon a residency program that has existed in various forms since the Pillow’s inception in the early 1930s. Built from a field-wide scan which included interviews with a diverse group of 36 U.S.-based choreographers and examined existing choreographic residency programs at peer institutions, the Pillow Lab fits into the overall national and international dance ecology with a distinctive mission, vision, set of values, and approach.

Choreographers selected for a residency through the Pillow Lab are chosen by Tatge and Jacob’s Pillow Associate Curators Melanie George and Ali Rosa-Salas. Most residencies culminate with an informal, in-person, work-in-progress showing as part of the In Process Series. Showings are limited to an intimate, invited audience of Jacob’s Pillow Members as well as faculty and students from the College Partnership Program, and provide valuable feedback through a structured feedback session.


Fall 2021 Pillow Lab residency recipients included jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham, Indigenous Enterprise, Taylor Stanley and Shamel Pitts, and Yve Laris Cohen. A number of works developed at the Pillow Lab were performed at the 2021 Festival by artists including Dorrance Dance, Brian Brooks/Moving Company, Emily Johnson Catalyst, and jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham.

Lead support for the Pillow Lab is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has funded the Pillow Lab since its inception.

Winter/Spring 2022 Pillow Lab Residency Season

Artist information and descriptions follow. The work created during each residency is at varying stages of development and may or may not be performed at the Festival.

Deborah Goffe (Jan. 12-22)
Deborah Goffe is a dance maker, performer, educator, and curator whose commitments to locality, scalable intimacy, interdisciplinary, and the handmade compels her to cultivate environments and experiences through choreographic, design, and social processes. Through Scapegoat Garden (a Connecticut-based creative engine) and other platforms, Goffe strives to forge relationships between artists and communities by helping people see, create and contribute to more expansive visions of ourselves, each other, and the places we call home.

Goffe will be developing Liturgy|Order|Bridge in the Pillow Lab, a work inspired by communal embodiment in the Black church and the absurdity of Fellini’s ecclesiastical fashion show. These serve as points of reference to correlate religious ritual with theatrical devices that can make the membrane between performance and audience more porous. Centering dance as the organizing principle in a ritualized public ceremony, the work asks: What might it mean to engage dance practice as faith practice, performance as communal ceremony, performance space as consecrated site, and the fellowship of shared witness, place, and inheritance?

Liturgy|Order|Bridge activates our intersecting identities, senses of place, and commitments to support one another. Goffe will be joined in this endeavor by her core collaborators Lauren Horn, Arien Wilkerson (dance artists), and Abena Koomson-Davis (musician).

Kayla Hamilton (Jan. 24-30)
Kayla Hamilton, a Black Disabled choreographer, will be using the Pillow Lab to engage in the beginning stages of a creative work and dialogue around Black Disabled artistry alongside several collaborators. Hamilton is an artist, producer, and educator originally from Texarkana, Tex., who now resides in Bronx, N.Y. She is a member of the 2017 Bessie Award-winning collective of skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In addition to skeleton architecture, Kayla has danced with Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances and Maria Bauman-Morales/MBDance. Kayla’s work has been presented at Gibney, Performance Space New York and New Live Arts. Kayla is not dancing, she’s a special education teacher at the Highbridge Green School who loves to watch Law and Order while sipping on peppermint tea.

In the Pillow Lab, Hamilton will have a rare opportunity to bring collaborators together who reside in different quadrants of the country, including collaborators on this project, and will give them time and space to be generative. Hamilton’s collaborators for this residency include: Nicole McClam, Joselia Hughes, Jerron Hermon, Christopher Unpezverde Núñez, and Brandon Kazen-Maddox.

Ladies of Hip-Hop (Feb. 16-27)
Ladies of Hip-Hop Dance Collective, LDC, is an all female intergenerational dance collective that creates dance works illuminating the strength, power, and diversity of women in hip-hop. Ever present in the work is the freestyle, ciphering, family dances, and call and response that serve as the essence of street and club dance culture, while exploring cultural forms for proscenium performance. Founded by director and choreographer Michele Byrd-McPhee, LDC creates collaborative works that celebrate and center feminist narratives examining the intersections of gender, race, and resistance.

Building on their formative January 2021 convening in a Works & Process at the Guggenheim bubble residency at Bethany Arts Community, culminating in a rare-for-the-time video performance filmed at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and subsequently, their summer 2021 On The Road engagement with Jacob’s Pillow, which took free performances to towns across Berkshire County, the hip-hop collective will be using the Lab to further develop their Black Dancing Bodies project. The project was created to capture the beauty and power of Black female street dancers in movement by Black female photographers. Through a series of movement sessions, the project aims to tell their stories through interviews and photographs, documenting the importance, power, and presence of Black women in hip-hop.

Gesel Mason (March 3-14)
Gesel Mason is artistic director for Gesel Mason Performance Projects and associate professor of dance and choreography at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance Projects. Her company, Gesel Mason Performance Projects (GMPP), serves as a medium for her creative work. GMPP is a project-based dance company that seeks to create meaningful, relevant, and compelling art events as a way to encourage compassion and inquiry. In her work, Mason utilizes dance, theater, humor, and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo.

Mason will be using her time in the Pillow Lab to work on Yes, And, a collection of performance events that center an expansive vision of Black womanhood as the operating force in the creative process. An iterative approach informed by the expertise and lived experiences of self-identified Black women and femmes, Yes, And asks: “Who would you be and what would you do if, as a Black woman, you had nothing to worry about? What would you create and how might you be in community with others?” The questions frame a methodology of undoing and re-imagining that offers participants and witnesses the freedom “to find” and to “be found” from this recalibrated place. The project is supported by National Performance Network and New England Foundation for the Arts.

Taylor Stanley (March 15-20)
Already a celebrated principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Taylor Stanley continues on his own journey, pursuing new movement frontiers. Building on Stanley’s two 2021 Pillow Labs, during which he worked on a Pillow-commissioned ensemble work by postmodern choreographer Jodi Melnick and a solo by choreographer Shamel Pitts, Stanley returns in 2022 with collaborators on two other works that will premiere at the Pillow during Festival 2022. Although William Forsythe will not be in attendance for the Pillow Lab, Forsythe will also be creating a new solo for Stanley’s Festival 2022 program.

Related Content on Jacob’s Pillow YouTube Channel: Inside the Pillow Lab with Taylor Stanley:

Ananya Chatterjea (March 22-28)
Ananya Dance Theatre is a company of cultural activists and BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists who believe in the transformative power of dance. In dancing stories where the lives and dreams of typically marginalized communities occupy the center, they shift the landscape of mainstream culture, build understanding about arts and social justice, and empower artistic voices. Their artistic work unfolds through YorchhāTM, a unique movement aesthetic of contemporary dance that draws on traditional Odissi, the martial art Chhau, and Vinyāsa Yoga, and a social justice choreographic methodology, to celebrate a transnational feminist practice. Their work invites audiences to participate in their strategy of #occupydance, the movement of dancing as civic action.

Ananya Chatterjea is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota. Her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies, re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from global south locations, was published in November 2020.

Fresh off of a tour of their newest work Dastak: I Wish You Me, Ananya Dance Theatre will begin the creative process for a new evening-length work during this Pillow Lab residency. Ananya will be developing Nūn Gherā(surrounded by salt), an evening-length devised dance theatre piece, responding to the 1978-79 massacre of 10,000 refugees from Bangladesh on Marichjhnapi island in West Bengal, India, and adjacent stories of genocide and eco-displaced communities.

Emma Cianchi (March 30-Apr. 10)
In collaboration with American Dance Abroad, the Pillow welcomes Naples-based choreographer Emma Cianchi as a part of Woman Made, an initiative focused on international women choreographers, which is a winning project of Boarding Pass Plus ’21/’22 of the Italian Ministry of Culture. Woman Made is a project of the Italian Ministry of Culture and is intended to promote the courage of international female choreographic voices. Organized by ArtGarage, the creative work will originate in seven countries with a view to sharing intentions and achieving common goals including the positioning of women in powerful roles in dance through international cultural exchange.

Cianchi is the leading force of ArtGarage, and artistic curator of dance at the Teatro Bellini in Naples. As a choreographer her work embraces the use of new technologies in an eclectic and original manner. In 2017, she received the Coreografo Elettronico Award. As a part of this exchange, Cianchi will develop a new work with U.S.-based dancers in the Pillow Lab, and acclaimed New York-based choreographer Kimberly Bartosik will travel to Italy to develop a new work with dancers from across Italy.

Irene Rodríguez (June)
Irene Rodríguez will be in residence leading up to the Jacob’s Pillow Gala, developing a new work that has been commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and the Vivienne Jones Endowment Fund at Jacob’s PillowThe work will premiere at the Season Opening Gala on June 18, 2022.

Born in Cuba, and settled recently in the US, Irene Rodríguez is a leading international figure of Spanish dance and Choreography; the King of Spain granted her the Order “Isabella the Catholic,” Spain’s highest civilian honor. Principal Dancer, Choreographer and educator, she has worked as dancer and style and Choreography consultant of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. She earned a Theater Arts Degree and a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Studies of Dance given conferences internationally and master classes to

the Juilliard School, San Jose Ballet, etc. In 2019 she was the director of the Spanish and Flamenco Dance Program of the School at Jacob’s Pillow.

Rodriguez founded her own dance company: Compañía Irene Rodríguezwhich has performed in the most prestigious theaters and festivals around the world and in the U.S., including the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She founded and directed Havana’s most prestigious Spanish dance academy and she has also been the artistic director of the International Festival “La Huella de España” founded by Alicia Alonso. Among her awards are: First Prize in the VIII Iberoamerican Choreography Competition, the Audience and UNEAC Award at the Choreography contest “Vladimir Malakhov,” the Iberoamerican Medal Honoris Causa (México University); among others.

Related content on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:
Irene Rodríguez, Amaranto (2019) https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/irene-rodriguez/amaranto/


Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America’s longest-running international dance festival, currently in the midst of its transition to becoming a year-round center for dance through a five-year strategic plan titled Vision ‘22. Jacob’s Pillow rests on the traditional lands of the Agawam, the Nipmuc, the Pocumtuc, and the Mohican and we honor their elders past, present, and future. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and over 500 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, events, and community programs. The School at Jacob’s Pillow, one of the field’s most prestigious professional dance training centers, encompasses the diverse disciplines of Contemporary Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Photography, Choreography, and an annual rotating program. The Pillow also provides professional advancement opportunities across disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production through seasonal internships and a year-round Administrative Fellows program. With growing community engagement programs, the Pillow serves as a partner and active citizen in its local community. The Pillow’s extensive Archives, open year-round to the public and online at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin McKenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen de Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob’s Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. The Pillow’s Executive and Artistic Director since 2016 is Pamela Tatge. For more information, visit www.jacobspillow.org.


December 8, 2021

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks assistant manager

Ananya Dance Theatre seeks to hire a part-time Assistant Manager to start immediately. 

The Assistant Manager reports to and works closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director to manage the operations of the company.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a professional dance company of BIPOC women and femme artists working at the intersection of 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, and is equipped with ADA-compliant access ramp and rest rooms. 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. 

Who We’re Looking For

We are looking for a Twin-Cities based professional who will work closely with the Managing Director and Artistic Director, and in keeping with the community-embedded professional culture the company has carefully nurtured since its inception. The person who is right for this position is a resourceful, proactive thought leader and problem solver, committed to a mission of BIPOC women and femme-centered social justice choreography, collaborative, energetic, people-oriented, and nurturing of the community connections that enliven our work. 

This is a person who also works relatively independently to manage projects and makes decisions in close cooperation with other ADT colleagues, in keeping with the company’s culture.

This position does not have fixed hours per day every week, and the ideal candidate understands that their schedule will need to flexibly prioritize company activities.

Key Competencies

●      Bottom-line reliability;

●      A generalist who tends to details in many areas in pursuit of meaning and accomplishment;

●      A positive, can-do attitude reflected in forward-thinking that focuses on executing the details of short- and long-term tactics, strategies, and objectives;

●      Understanding of and shared interest in social justice art-making and alternative, BIPOC-led aesthetics and artistic processes;

●      Ability to articulate coherent stories orally and in writing;

●      Strong written and verbal communication and marketing skills;

●      Computer literacy and proficiency with Google Documents, Microsoft Office, and online QuickBooks;

●      Strategic and tactical insight into the uses of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online platforms;

●      General facility to maintain technical equipment, e.g. alarm system, printer, etc.;

●      Experience managing information in spreadsheets and other office software;

●      Basic budgeting and accounting skills to maintain the baseline documentation for the organization’s bookkeeper, accountants, and auditor;

●      Ability to organize, plan, facilitate, and manage activities to meet deadlines;

●      Personal ability to troubleshoot, problem solve, and navigate the nuances that balance the resources and dreams of a growing, mighty dance company.  

Job responsibilities

  1. Facility Maintenance: Manage urgent building needs, such as contemporaneous security issues, monitor security cameras, manage key access for personnel, arrange for internal repairs, communicate with landlord and neighbors about concerns, needs, activities;
  2. Institute Schedule: Maintain schedule of Institute activities, particularly events that involve external parties, such as showings, rentals etc;
  3. Communications / Social Media: Assist the Managing Director with external communications, manage incoming administrative email, generate regular e-newsletter, assist in updating website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and monitor interactions on social media; coordinate mailings for publicity; develop and maintain constituent snail and email lists for students, audiences, and donors;
  4. Bookkeeping / Accounting: Manage internal accounting such as compiling receipts and complete documentation for bookkeeper, primary contact for book-keeper and tax accountant, managing deposits and accounts payable;
  5. Retrieve mail from post office box;
  6. General Office Administration: As assigned and assumed;
  7. Activities Files: Maintain electronic (on laptop desktop) and paper files for every annual activity as repositories for correspondence, contracts, photos, and other items throughout the year;
  8. Event Management: Manage online/streaming activities: These might include the Documents of our Times series, any performances, or workshops. Assisting with ADA compliance, set up, tear down, and technical aspects of these events; 
  9. Track and compile accurate and defensible participant activity statistics for all activities: classes, workshops, performances, online streams, tour residencies;
  10. Development: Assist Managing Director in communicating and managing fundraising initiatives.


The Assistant Manager is budgeted to be a 0.50 FTE employee compensated at $25,000 annually. Ananya Dance Theatre will provide a MacIntosh laptop for virtual and in-person employment service.

More Information

Please visit our website for more information: www.ananyadancetheatre.org 

To Apply

Please send letter of interest and resume to divya.karan@ananyadancetheatre.org.

Applicants will be screened on a rolling basis until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified of decisions in a timely fashion.

October 25, 2021

Ananya Dance Theatre films find domestic & international audiences, awards

Among other activities during the pandemic, Ananya Dance Theatre and collaborating filmmaker Darren Johnson flexed their distribution muscles with four films and gained awards in the process.

While Ananya Dance Theatre takes The O’Shaughnessy stage on Oct. 30 to perform Dastak: I Wish You Me, its short film, Dastak: Fire will be presented at the Greensboro Dance Film Festival in North Carolina, and Ananya Chatterjea’s solo film the blues of my unravelling are laced with the salt of your memory will have its European premiere at the Florence Dance on Screen Festival in Italy.

This is the second time this fall that multiple festival screenings have coincided on the same date. On Sept. 24, Dastak: Fire was presented at both The London International Screen Dance Festival and the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema in Colorado. The Sans Souci Festival also presented the solo short Listening Tree, featuring Chatterjea.

To date, a version of Dastak has been curated into eight film festivals on three continents. It was awarded Best Social Justice Film at the Silk Road Film Awards Cannes in France, and won three awards at the Tagore International Film Festival in Bolpur, India: Outstanding Achievement in a Short Film, Outstanding Achievement in Direction, and Best Editing.

A film adaptation of Ananya Dance Theatre and Tony the Scribe’s 2017 performance Just Breathe has screened at two festivals, was referenced with a photograph in the leading UK financial magazine The Economist, and will screen at the Soho London Independent Film Festival in November.  

Two solo films, Listening Tree and the blues of my unraveling are laced with the salt of your memory, choreographed and performed by Chatterjea, will be screened by five prominent dance film festivals. the blues, featuring incantations by Sharon Bridgforth, score by Renée Copeland, and lighting by Mike Grogan, was commissioned by The National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron.

Here is a list of the screenings and awards:

DASTAK: The Film (complete film)

CHAKSU Dance Film Festival, Delhi, India, May 8, 2021

Northrop Auditorium 2021-22 Dance, Music + Film Series, Minneapolis MN, Oct. 8-15, 2021

Tagore International Film Festival, Bolpur, India, Aug. 27. 2021

• Outstanding Achievement in a Short Film

• Outstanding Achievement in Direction

• Best Editing

DASTAK: Fire (3rd Movement)

In/Motion – Chicago’s International Dance Film Festival, Chicago IL, Jan. 23, 2021

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, Boulder CO, Sept. 24, 2021

London International Screen Dance Festival, London UK, Sept. 24, 2021

Silk Road Film Awards Cannes, Cannes, France, Aug. 20, 2021

• Best Social Justice Film

Greensboro Dance Film Festival, Greensboro NC, Oct. 30, 2021

the blues of my unraveling are laced with the salt of your memory

National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron, Akron OH, June 19, 2021

Florence Dance on Screen Festival, Firenze, Italy, Oct. 30, 2021

IMMAGI]NA FILM FESTIVAL, Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy, Nov. 19-21, 2021

Just Breathe

The Breath Project, Palo Alto CA, Oct. 24, 2020

Harlem International Film Festival, New York NY, May 14, 2021

The Soho London Independent Film Festival, London UK, Nov. 19, 2021

Listening Tree

Dance on Camera 48, New York NY, July 18, 2020

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX, Aug. 7, 2021

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, Boulder CO, Sept. 24, 2021

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX / Seoul, Korea, Dec. 1-20, 2021

kNOwBOX Dance Film Festival, Dallas TX, Spring 2022, traveling to venues in Mexico and elsewhere TBD

The four films remain under consideration by 50 additional film festivals.

September 9, 2021

We're back onstage at The O'Shaughnessy, October 29-30 with Dastak: I Wish You Me!

General Admission Tickets on Sale Now: theoshaughnessy.com

Suggested Price $30 – PAY WHAT YOU CAN – $5 – $40

Photo by Isabel Fajardo


The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University will present Ananya Dance Theatre and its new production, Dastak: I Wish You Me, Friday-Saturday, October 29-30 at 7:30pm. ASL interpretation will be provided on October 29.

Dastak is a meditation on borders, loss, belonging, home, and liberation, and is structured around four elemental journeys – Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

The evocative work traces the “knockings” (dastakin Farsi) of global injustices and echoes the subtitle created by Sharon Bridgforth – I Wish You Me – amplifying the cross-generational love that has carried communities through difficult migrations. The production invites audiences to imagine what freedom is possible as it expands the realms of intention and trans-dimensional connection through spells that invoke rest, forgiveness, love, and freedom

Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea and performed by the artists of Ananya Dance Theatre, Dastak features a powerful team of collaborators, including writer and dramaturg Sharon Bridgforth, sound artist Spirit McIntyre (performing live), stage director Marcus Young, lighting designer Kevin A. Jones, costume designer Annie Cady, scenic designer Chelsea Warren, and film maker Darren Johnson

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University is located at 2004 Randolph Ave. in Saint Paul. Tickets for Dastak are on sale at theoshaughnessy.com.

Ananya Dance Theatre and The O’Shaughnessy are excited to implement PAY WHAT YOU CAN pricing for these performances. Our suggested ticket price is $30. 
PAY WHAT YOU CAN asks those who routinely pay $30 for Ananya Dance Theatre tickets to pay that amount; it is the fair market value of the ticket. If you need to pay less, you can choose to pay less, as little as $5 a ticket. Those who can pay more than the market price are welcome to do so, and your generosity will help cover the cost of someone else’s ticket.
For more information and tickets, contact The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office at 651-690-6700 or online at theoshaughnessy.com.


Choreography: Ananya Chatterjea (Minneapolis) 

Sound score: Spirit Paris McIntyre (New Orleans) 

Spoken word: Sharon Bridgforth (Los Angeles) 

Stage director: Marcus Young (St. Paul)

Costume design: Annie Cady (St. Paul)

Scenic design: Chelsea Warren (Minneapolis)

Lighting design: Kevin A. Jones (Minneapolis)

The O’Shaughnessy’s Covid-19 guidelines can be reviewed here.

Ananya Dance Theatre is a company of cultural activists and BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists who believe in the transformative power of dance. In dancing stories where lives and dreams occupy the center, ADT shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds understanding about arts and social justice, and empowers artistic voices. Meet the People of Ananya Dance Theatre here. 

Dastak is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, in partnership with the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, Maine; UtahPresents, Salt Lake City; and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org 

Dastak was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is being developed with support from the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Production residency funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is supported by Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The development of Dastak was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University.

Dastak is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Dastak is supported by a grant from the Marbrook Foundation.

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

August 23, 2021

Northrop Film Series presents Ananya Dance Theatre: Dastak – The Film

Premieres Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 7:30pm CT | Available on-demand through Oct 15, 2021

This event will go on sale Sep 7 at noon. Select your own price when purchasing ($0-$50). Tickets

This dance film of Ananya Dance Theatre’s work, Dastak, the Farsi word for “knockings,” traces the knockings of global injustices on our hearts in four short sections: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Each section is a meditation on stories of borders, boundaries, loss, belonging, home, and liberation, and echoes the subtitle created by writer Sharon Bridgforth – I Wish You Me – indicating the cross-generational love that has carried communities through difficult migrations.

Filmmaker Darren Johnson captures these elemental journeys against the varied landscape of MniSota Make, ranging from post-Uprising scorched ruins in Minneapolis to tall prairie grasslands of Battle Creek Park, as the dancers pay tribute to the layered history of this land. Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea and performed by the artists of Ananya Dance Theatre, this dance film also features the work of a powerful team of collaborators, notably writer and dramaturg Sharon Bridgforth and sound artists Spirit McIntyre and Dameun Strange.

This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.



May 20, 2021

We congratulate the 2021 McKnight Artist Fellows in Dance & Choreography

Ananya Chatterjea, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Darrius Strong, McKnight Choreographer Fellow

Alexandra Eady, McKnight Dancer Fellow

Hassan Ingraham, McKnight Dancer Fellow

David Stalter, McKnight Dancer Fellow

May 18, 2021

$12.6 million initiative offers new funding for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations

Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-LedArts Organizations

May 18, 2020 – A $12.6 million regional initiative of America’s Cultural Treasures will provide new funding for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations. The funding, to be distributed in two phases, is made possible by a collaboration of the McKnight, Ford, Bush and Jerome Foundations.

Phase 1: Regional Cultural Treasures

$7 million, provided by Ford & McKnight Foundations

In phase one, ten arts organizations in Minnesota — designated Regional Cultural Treasures — each will receive unrestricted grants of at least $500,000, to be distributed over the next five years or more. The Regional Cultural Treasures program honors organizations that have made a significant impact on our cultural landscape over decades. The 10 organizations are:

“We use the term ‘Cultural Treasures’ with intention, to honor the diversity of expression and artistic excellence that these organizations contribute to the cultural vitality of our state, despite having historically experienced under-investment,” said Tonya Allen, president of the McKnight Foundation. “As our arts institutions prepare to safely re-open after the pandemic, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on these remarkable organizations.” 

The following criteria informed the selection of the 10 Regional Cultural Treasures:

The Minneapolis Foundation will administer the Regional Cultural Treasures grants.

Phase 2: Seeding Cultural Treasures

$5.6 million provided by Ford, McKnight, Bush and Jerome Foundations

In the second phase, the Seeding Cultural Treasures program will award grants to grow the future of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American artists and cultural organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native Nations that share the same geography. 

“We believe that supporting established Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led organizations with impressive track records, as well as individual artists and younger organizations, will make our communities better places to live,” said DeAnna Cummings, McKnight Arts program director. “We also hope this funding catalyzes greater recognition and increased investment in these vital arts organizations and their leaders who are meeting this moment with imagination, persistence, and creativity.”

Propel Nonprofits and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council will administer the program, engaging artists and community stakeholders to co-create it. These partners will share more information later in 2021 about how to apply for funding.

Funders Unite to Support the Arts

The Ford Foundation launched America’s Cultural Treasures in fall 2020, seeking regional funding partners throughout the country to match its contribution. In Minnesota, the McKnight Foundation answered that call to serve as the lead regional partner and matched an initial contribution of $5 million from the Ford Foundation. The Bush and Jerome Foundations contributed an additional $2.6 million to bring the fund to $12.6 million. Both programs invite additional funding partners to increase the resources for the arts and culture rooted in communities of color in our region.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the McKnight, Bush, and Jerome Foundations to celebrate arts organizations that are adding to the richness and diversity of the American cultural fabric,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “These treasures are a symbol of the excellence present in Black, Indigenous, LatinX, and Asian American-led arts organizations and we hope to inspire continued investment in communities of color in the years to come.”


American Indian Community Housing Organization Arts Program (AICHO) honors the resiliency of Indigenous people by strengthening communities and centering Indigenous values. Since 2012, AICHO has provided a year-round space within Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizim for Indigenous artists to showcase and sell their work. Galleries are used by artists, authors, and musicians for art shows, book releases, and performances, which are free and open to the community. AICHO’s arts and cultural programming also includes community art classes and workshops, youth art activities, Indigenous artists pop-up events and book readings, and an Indigenous First art and gift shop.

Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT) creates original dance theater drawing on social justice themes inspired by the lives and dreams of BIPOC women, womxn, and femmes from around the globe. In dancing stories where the struggles, triumphs, and transformations of global Black and Brown communities occupy the center, ADT empowers artistic voices, shifts the landscape of mainstream culture, builds relationships, and energizes communities toward equity and beauty. ADT’s Shawngrām Institute for Performance & Social Justice is located in St. Paul.

Indigenous Roots is an arts plus organization and coalition of artists, cultural groups, and community partners dedicated to building, supporting, and cultivating space, opportunities, and resources with and for Native, Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples. In 2017, Indigenous Roots opened a space around Imniza Ska (East Saint Paul) that is centered and grounded in multidisciplinary, multigenerational, and multicultural arts and activism.

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA), founded in 1995, is a youth employment center and community development social enterprise rooted in North Minneapolis. JXTA’s programs offer college-level training to teens through a core program known as JXTALabs, which annually employs 70 youth ages 14 to 21 in five revenue-earning art and design micro-businesses. The JXTALabs offer a wide array of high-quality art and design services to local and regional clients while developing the talents of young creatives.

Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, film, art, and cultural production centering the work of Arab and Southwest Asian and North African artists. For more than 20 years, Mizna has been creating a decolonized cultural space to reflect the expansiveness of our community and to foster exchange, examine ideas, and engage audiences in meaningful art. Mizna publishes the only Southwest Asian and North African literary and art journal in the country; produces the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival; and offers classes, readings, performances, public art, and community events, which have featured more than 400 local and global writers, filmmakers, and artists.

Pangea World Theater illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theater. Founded in 1995, Pangea’s innovative theater performances and arts-based community engagement transcends borders and brings audiences together at the intersection of politics, arts, and human rights to explore the relevant and often divisive themes of our times – racism, exile, immigration, freedom, and cross-cultural expression. 

The Somali Museum of Minnesota is the only museum in North America devoted to preserving traditional Somali culture and art. The museum’s mission is to educate young Somalis and to build bridges through culture to non-Somali Minnesotans. The museum offers an unrivaled collection of traditional artworks and serves as a unique meeting space for Somali artists. After civil war left almost all of Somalia’s museums destroyed and cultural artifacts spread across the world, the Somali community in Minneapolis rallied to make Minneapolis the home of Somalia’s precious cultural inheritance.

Theater Mu was founded in 1992 to bring Asian American voices to Minnesota stages and has grown to become one of the largest Asian American performing arts organizations in the nation. By producing great performances, community outreach efforts, and virtual programming born of arts, equity, and social justice from the heart of the Asian American experience, Theater Mu provides an unparalleled home for local and national Asian American artists and audiences of all backgrounds.

TruArtSpeaks is an arts and culture organization founded in 2006 and based in Saint Paul. Its mission is to cultivate literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. The organization believes that art and culture – especially Hip Hop – inspires connection, growth, and social transformation. TruArtSpeaks provides development opportunities for youth, emerging artists and arts leaders through public events, direct mentorship, workshops, residencies, conferences, statewide initiatives, and more.

Walker|West was founded more than 30 years ago by African American musicians Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West to provide a space rooted in the cultural traditions they were raised with – where everyone can gather, grow, and explore through music. Walker|West provides music instruction and community programming for students of all ages – from infants to elders – and is committed to a future where everyone has access to the healing power of music.


The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. The Foundation has approximately $2.4 billion in assets and granted $105 million in 2020.

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation supports organizations and people to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. We work to inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make our region better for everyone.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The Jerome Foundation was founded in 1964 by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972). In honoring his legacy, it awards multi-year grants to vocational artists in all disciplines in Minnesota and New York City at early stages in their careers and to those nonprofit arts organizations that serve, develop and/or present such artists (whether through publication, exhibition, performance or screening). The Foundation centers its grantmaking practice in three core values of humility, innovation/risk, and diversity.

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s mission is to improve arts access for communities in the seven-county metropolitan area through support to artists and organizations. We’re committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility in all aspects of our work.

The Minneapolis Foundation drives collective action to realize strong, vibrant communities. The Foundation cultivates generosity by taking action on the greatest civic, social, and economic needs – partnering with nonprofits, facilitating grantmaking, driving research and advocacy, and providing services to donors seeking to make a difference in their communities.

Propel Nonprofits fuels the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital. This mission is in service to a vision of a diverse network of mission-driven nonprofits building a healthy, vibrant, and more just community. Propel is a federally certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and provides capacity-building services that include accounting and finance, board governance, fiscal sponsorship, lending, skills and knowledge sharing, strategic consulting, and training. Propel Nonprofits serves nonprofit organizations in Minnesota and the adjacent states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

March 24, 2021

Composer Dameun Strange talks about life, music & Senegal on Documents of Our Times

Ananya Dance Theatre presents Sound Designer and Composer Dameun Strange in the second installment of its series, Documents of Our Times: Artists Talking Craft, Vision, Values, Inspiration, hosted by its Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice. In it, Strange discusses the impact of a recent trip to Senegal and performs Senegal Rises.

The series, sometimes live, sometimes pre-recorded, and sometimes both, will be available on the company’s website and social media accounts: Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recorded March 13, 2021 at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 47:01. Closed captioning available. © 2021 Ananya Dance Theatre.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Dameun Strange, is a fiscal year 2020 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.


March 9, 2021

University names Chatterjea as McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, March 9, 2021–UtahPresents and the Office of Undergraduate Studies are pleased to announce that Dr. Ananya Chatterjea has been named the University of Utah’s Sterling M. McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professor. 

Dr. Chatterjea is the founding artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre and a Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique.

The McMurrin Professorship

The McMurrin Professorship brings to the University a scholar of recognized eminence in his or her field. The purpose of this endowed chair is to raise the level of campus discourse and enrich undergraduate education in cooperation with a selected college or department each year. McMurrin Professors are expected to offer one or two public events and to be available to meet with undergraduate students and faculty.

The Residency 

Residency events with Dr. Chatterjea at the University of Utah include the Women’s Week Health & Wellness Workshop on March 12, 2021, at 10am MT. Dr. Chatterjea will also participate in the Gender-Based Violence Consortium’s Symposium (GBVC) on April 16, 2021, at 10am MT. Additionally, she is guiding Utah-based dance artists in a series of workshops to reconsider their creative practice. 

These events are an exciting precursor to Ananya Dance Theatre’s presentation of Dastak at Kingsbury Hall in February 2022. Historic journeys laden with hope, heart-break, and pain spark Dastak: stories of families torn apart, women assaulted and abandoned, and children tortured and lost during the partition of India in 1947, and again, with the recent escalation of violence along the India-Pakistan border, the current crisis around immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the 150-mile forced march of Dakota people in 1862. Ultimately, Dastak becomes a meditation on footwork, migrations, and home through the contact of dancers’ feet with the floor and our ability to share rhythm and movement.

In addition to the performance at Kingsbury Hall, Dr. Chatterjea and the artists-activists of Ananya Dance Theatre will lead further residency activities at the University of Utah. 

Dr. Chatterjea’s Biography

Ananya Chatterjea is a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow, a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellow, a 2016 Joyce Award recipient, a 2018 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow, and a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. Ananya is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique. She just published her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies, re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from global south locations.

February 19, 2021

Documents of Our Times: Artist conversation series launched

Ananya Dance Theatre has launched a new online and in-person (when possible) series, Documents of Our Times: Artists Talking Craft, Vision, Values, Inspiration, hosted by its Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice.

The series, sometimes live, sometimes pre-recorded, and sometimes both, will be available on the company’s website and social media accounts: Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter.

First-up in the series is a discussion with artists Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr. and Ricarrdo Valentine from Brother(hood) Dance (Hunter has performed with ADT during the past decade):

Recorded February 13, 2021 at the Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 26:35. Closed captioning available. © 2021 Ananya Dance Theatre

February 18, 2021

Chatterjea honored with Anderson Center's A.P. Anderson Award

Ananya Chatterjea. Photo by Nora Chian

The Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, Minnesota, will honor choreographer, dancer, and scholar Ananya Chatterjea with the 2021 A.P. Anderson Award for her significant contributions to the cultural and artistic life of Minnesota during an online ceremony on Friday, March 26 at 7 p.m.
The hour-long virtual program on the Anderson Center’s YouTube channel includes a screening of a pre-recorded interview with Chatterjea by Anderson Center Director Stephanie Rogers, produced in the Tower View Barn by Treedome Productions, followed by an opportunity for participants to submit written questions for Ananya to answer on the live video stream.
“The breadth of Dr. Chatterjea’s accomplishments is matched only by the depth of her thought and philosophy that inform each new work and endeavor. It was a pleasure to talk with an incredible intellectual and social leader in our field, and I look forward to sharing our conversation through this year’s virtual award ceremony,” said Rogers.
Chatterjea’s work as choreographer, dancer and thinker brings together contemporary dance, social justice choreography, and a commitment to healing justice. She is the artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a Twin Cities-based professional dance company of BIPOC women, womxn, and femme artists, and co-founder of the Shawngrām Institute for Performance and Social Justice.
Chatterjea said, “I am honored to receive this award from the Anderson Center and follow in the footsteps of so many giants. It matters deeply that this is a Minnesota organization, but not located inside the Twin Cities; thus local, but not adjacent. It means that the consistent work I have tried to do through my work, in deepening roots and connecting to communities in the state in which I live and dance, is being recognized. This award brings prestige and an invitation to keep connecting with diverse audiences and welcoming them into the Dancing for Social Justice movement!”
Chatterjea received a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship, 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, 2015 Sage Outstanding Dance Educator Award, 2016 Joyce Foundation Award, 2018 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Fellowship, and a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellowship.
In response to the uprising in the Twin Cities last year, she created the Kutumkāri (Relationship-making) Healing Movement series with a particular invitation to BIPOC women and femme healers.
Her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographiesre-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of choreographers from South-South communities, was published in Fall 2020 by Palgrave MacMillan.
Chatterjea is a Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she teaches classes on Choreographing Social Justice, Dance History, and Contemporary Practice.
The annual award is named for Dr. Alexander P. Anderson, who invented the process for creating Quaker Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cereals. An educator, botanist, writer and naturalist, Anderson built Tower View Estate, which today is stewarded by the Anderson Center who operates the historic site as a hub to develop, foster and promote creative endeavors and the exchange of ideas.
Past recipients include dancer/educator Larry Yazzie, actor/director Lou Bellamy, sculptor/architect Siah Armajani, poets Robert Bly and William Duffy, photographer Jim Brandenburg and storyteller Kevin Kling.
The interview will be close-captioned. ASL interpretation for the Q&A will be available upon request. To request interpretation, please contact Stephanie at stephanie@andersoncenter.org or 651-388-2009 by March 12.
This exhibit is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Concluding the celebration of its 25 years in 2021, the Anderson Center – in its historic setting of Tower View – offers residencies in the arts and humanities; provides a dynamic environment for the exchange of ideas; encourages the pursuit of creative endeavors; and serves as a source of significant contributions to society. One of the North’s top artistic destination points, the Anderson Center has served the national arts and humanities community and the citizens of Minnesota since 1995. From the grounds of Tower View, a grand national registered historic landmark in the scenic Mississippi River town of Red Wing, Minnesota, the Anderson Center supports and showcases creativity and innovation at the intersection of art and ideas. 

February 4, 2021

NEA grants to Ananya Dance Theatre, 37 other Minnesota organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2021 totaling $27,562,040. Supported projects span 14 artistic disciplines in communities throughout the United States. Also included in this announcement are the recipients of NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation and support for arts research projects.

The NEA made awards to 38 projects in Minnesota, including Ananya Dance Theatre. Nationwide, 99 grants were made in the dance discipline.

“The creativity and resilience of artists and arts organizations across the country have inspired Americans during this challenging year,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These projects represent the vitality and perseverance of arts organizations small and large to overcome significant challenges, transform to new ways of engagement, and forge new relationships that benefit the diverse populations in neighborhoods and cities throughout the United States.”

The Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards range from $10,000 to $100,000 and cover these artistic disciplines: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts.

In February 2020, the agency received 1,674 eligible GAP applications requesting more than $82.4 million in FY 2021 support. Approved for funding are 1,073 projects totaling nearly $25 million, with grants recommended to 64% of all applicants and an average grant amount of $23,190. Grant guidelines and upcoming application deadlines are now available on the Arts Endowment website for organizations wishing to apply.

The Arts Endowment is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Part of this commitment includes our partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Outreach to develop relationships and help HBCUs navigate funding opportunities has led to an increased number of applications from and involving HBCUs. A few Grants for Arts Projects examples of successful applications from this round of funding include:

The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators. This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2021 fellowships are in poetry and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. In addition, the Arts Endowment approved $325,000 in fellowships to 24 translators to translate works from 16 languages and 19 countries into English. Click here to take a more in-depth look at these fellowships and other Literary Arts grants this round.

The National Endowment for the Arts also offers two funding opportunities for research projects. This year marks the tenth anniversary of grants for arts research, a program currently known as Research Grants in the Arts. For FY 2021, 14 organizations are recommended for Research Grants in the Arts totaling $833,000. In addition, five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $645,790. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors. Click here to explore more about the recommended arts research awards.

Many supported projects are currently working in a virtual space. This is also true for the panel process. Once applications are submitted to the agency for consideration and staff have reviewed them for eligibility and completeness, a panel of dedicated experts with knowledge and experience in their field review and score each application in accordance with the published review criteria. Recommendations are then made to the National Council on the Arts. The council makes recommendations to the Chairman, who makes the final decision on all grant awards. The Arts Endowment assembles diverse panels every year with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. To learn more about the process or to volunteer as a panelist.   

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

January 5, 2021

Ananya Dance Theatre's online classes resume in the new year on January 8

Online dance classes by Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice will resume on Friday, January 8.

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays: Yorchhā Strong, 9am-9:30am CST
Wednesdays: Intro to Yorchhā, 6:30pm-7:30pm CST
Fridays: Intro to Yorchhā, 6:30pm-7:30pm CST
Sundays: Advanced Yorchhā, 3pm-4pm CST

For class descriptions and other information, please visit our class page.

November 30, 2020

Soul Survivor Sessions: Self-Defense Classes for Communities of Resistance

Classes to build and enhance the capacities of Black, Indigenous, Brown, LGBTQ, and Marginalized communities to resist and recover from harm and oppression

The Soul Survivor Sessions (SSS) is a series of communal learning experiences for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Marginalized, LGBTQ, and Femme folks focused to acquire skills in Personal Protection/Self-Defense, Home & Community Defense, Physical/Spiritual Conditioning, Stress Inoculation, Survival Skills, and Legal Self-Defense Knowledge. The guiding intent of the series is to hold space where participants can come to feel safer and more comfortable in their own skin and with their kin. Our classes are offered by BIPOC instructors with backgrounds in Security, Medicine, Faciliation, and Survival Skills.

SSS is a collaborative project of Black Star Club for Community Defense with the Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shawngrām Institute. We share a commitment to community-embedded artmaking and carework. The Shawngrām Institute is Ananya Dance Theatre’s space to create dance, practice, train, offer classes, hold dialogues, and host community events. Shawngrām, Bengali for resistance, describes our shared philosophy and our methodology for social justice performance. As we are able to gather safely, SSS sessions will be hosted inside the Institute.

Soul Survivor Sessions: Virtual Classes for December 2020

Foundations of Self-Defense and Community Safety: Saturday, December 5, 2pm-5pm. In this session, you will learn about: (1) Core legal knowledge and state statutes about Reasonable Use of Force and self-defense in Minnesota – stay safe personally and legally. (2) Fundamental concepts for personal protection and community safety. (3) Key considerations for protecting yourself – like what constitutes an actual threat to your life and how to respond. (4) For those interested, we will talk about firearms and less lethal tools for self-defense. If you’re interested in getting your MN Permit to Carry with Cousin D, taking this course will be counted towards your qualification process. Location: Zoom Webinar with Black Star

Intro to First Aid & Street Medicine: Sunday, December 6, 1pm-5pm. In this session, you will learn about: (1) Key concepts and skills in First Aid.
(2) Key considerations and situations you’ll encounter as a Street Medic or Community First-Responder. (3) Equipment to purchase for your own first aid and medical kits. (4) Opportunities to continue your education in First Aid/Street Medic skills. Location: Zoom Webinar with Femme Empowerment Project



Intro to Conflict De-escalation: Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm. In this session you will learn about: (1) The essential skills needed to de-escalate conflicts to protect yourself and others. (2) Use role-playing and Q&A sections to test out and practice de-escalation skills in real time. (3) Gain an understanding of how to direct and communicate with security professionals to resolve conflicts. Location: Zoom Webinar with Sequeerity



Personal Protection Mindset (Situational Awareness): Sunday, December 13, 3pm-5pm. In this session, you will learn about: (1) How to make yourself a harder target for attackers and other harmful events. (2) The mindset and simple tools that security professionals use to stay safe. (3) Practices you can use to keep relaxed and build your tolerance to stress. Location: Zoom Webinar with Atlas Defense


To register: https://blackstarmn.square.site

November 14, 2020

Ananya Dance Theatre releases "Air," 4th film in "Dastak" series

We are pleased to release Air, the last of our four-part film series, Dastak, created by filmmaker Darren Johnson. 

This spring and summer, we adapted Dastak: I Wish You Me, our new, evening-length work about home, belonging, and borders, to nature and public places. The Farsi word dastak means knockings, and the dance traces the knockings of global injustices on our hearts through four sections: EarthWaterFire, and Air.

Until we can meet you in live performance next year, we offer the spirit of those sections in four surreal dance films (below).

Viewers are welcome to download and share the films.

The Dastak films were created by Darren Johnson of Northern Dawn Media, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, composers Spirit McIntyre and Dameun Strange, textual magicmaker Sharon Bridgforth, performers Chatterjea, Kealoha Ferreira, Alexandra Eady, Renée Copeland, Julia Gay, Lizzette Marie Chapa, Parisha Rajbhandari, Nakita Kirchner, Noelle Awadallah, Laichee Yang, Fei Bi Chan, and Alessandra Williams. 

We are also grateful to Marcus Young, our collaborator of many years, and Emma Marlar, our production manager, for their support in the process.

Full credits are available at the end of each film.

Air was filmed at Indian Mounds Regional Park, St. Paul; Battle Creek Regional Park, Maplewood; and Coldwater Spring, Minnesota. 

Fire was filmed along and near the Lake Street corridor of Minneapolis, and University Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Water was filmed at White Sands Beach, Mississippi River Gorge, and Coldwater Spring, Minnesota.

Earth was filmed at Coldwater Spring, Minnesota.

This project is supported by the National Performance Network (NPN) Documentation & Storytelling Initiative. The NPN Documentation & Storytelling Initiative is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org

Dastak: I Wish You Me is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, in partnership with the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME, UtahPresents, Salt Lake City, UT, and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org

Dastak was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is being developed with support from the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Production residency funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dastak is supported by Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The development of Dastak was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University.

Dastak is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Dastak is supported by a grant from the Marbrook Foundation.

Ananya Dance Theatre, in partnership with Dameun Strange, is a fiscal 2020 recipient of a Cultural Community Partnership grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

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

November 11, 2020

Re-visiting the Ocean Dance Festival Bangladesh 2019

This video is a short summing up of all the events of the World Dance Alliance -Asia Pacific (WDA-AP) Yearly Event and the Ocean Dance Festival Bangladesh 2019 organised, simultaneously, by ‘Nrityajog’ – the Bangladesh Chapter of WDA-AP, from November 22 – 25, 2019 at Cox’s Bazaar.

Ananya Dance Theatre was honored to participate in response to the Festival’s invitation.

November 9, 2020

Sexual harassment in the arts, traumas buried in the past

An asymmetrical distribution of power between the student and the teacher in the Indian arts — especially in the classical performing arts — makes this sphere vulnerable to incidents of sexual abuse, thereby rendering systemic reform not just crucial, but indispensable to the progress of the disciplines.

The following article includes mentions of sexual abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

Continue reading full article here.

FirstPost.com, November 9, 2020

November 5, 2020

Minnesota nonprofits call for trust in our democracy

November 05, 2020

 As nonprofits, faith, civic, labor, community, and business organizations we are joining to call for election integrity and democracy. We stand united for a democracy of, by, and for the people. Every eligible vote must be counted.  

Under the United States constitution elected officials are decided by the people through a free and fair election. In Minnesota and across the country voters turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. We expected that results would not be clear on Election Day. Now is the time for patience. When all eligible votes are counted, democracy wins. 

During this unprecedented pandemic, we recognize how much effort has gone into making our election system safe and accessible for voters. Despite challenges, voters across the country have made their voices heard. Every eligible vote must count. We thank all voters, elections staff, and volunteers for their participation. We come together as a united voice to encourage trust in our democracy and ensure every vote counts. 

Organizational Signatories