July 11, 2015

ADT dancers conduct field trip research at Dream of Wild Health in Hugo, Minnesota

 

Staff of Dream of Wild Health farm visit with ADT dancers Kealoha Ferreira, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, and Prakshi Malik

Staff of Dream of Wild Health farm, Hugo MN, visit with ADT dancers Kealoha Ferreira, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, and Prakshi Malik

 

The dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre visited the Dream of Wild Health, a 10-acre organic farm in Hugo, Minnesota, July 10, as part of their research for the creation of Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine. Hugo is a commuter town 14 miles north of downtown Saint Paul in Washington County.

Surrounded by plants and medicines grown from the seeds of ancestors, “the Dream” is to help American Indian people reclaim their physical, spiritual, and mental health, teaching old ways of growing food and living healthy lives.

ADT dancer Jay Galtney at Dream of Wild Health farm

ADT dancer Jay Galtney at Dream of Wild Health farm, Hugo MN

“Roktim,” a full-length work of dance theater, will premiere at The O’Shaughnessy, Sept. 18-19.

Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young are partnering with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force to produce a 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.

 

 

 

June 21, 2015

Professional female actor/singer wanted

Seeking professional female actor/singer of indigenous origin, preferably Dakota, of any adult age, fluent in indigenous language, for paid engagement, rehearsals starting immediately – about 10 rehearsals in July/August and more frequently in September. Performances are September 17-19. Show is about honoring women’s labor in food production. Reply with interest or questions to ananya.chatterjea@ananyadancetheatre.org.

June 20, 2015

Ananya Dance Theatre opens 2015-16 season & 19th Women of Substance series at The O'Shaughnessy

 

The O’Shaughnessy, one of the Twin Cities’ premiere venues for showcasing the arts, has announced its 2015-16 Season, an exciting mix of music, dance and theater, and the 19th year of the esteemed Women of Substance series.

"Roktim" opens The O'Shaughnessy's season, Sept. 18-19 • Photo V. Paul Virtucio

“Roktim” opens The O’Shaughnessy’s season, Sept. 18-19 • Photo V. Paul Virtucio

The season opens on September 18-19 with a Women of Substance event as Ananya Dance Theatre returns to The O’Shaughnessy with the world premiere of ROKTIM: NURTURE INCARNADINE, a full-length dance concert collaboratively created by choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, visual artist Seitu Jones and behavioral artist Marcus Young.

Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, they are partnering with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco and the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force to produce a shared event 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.

On October 9, Rhythmic Circus, a home-grown troupe of internationally-renowned artists – and currently, America’s Got Talent contestants – brings its joyous parade of genre-hopping music, hard-hitting percussive dance, funky costumes and a big brass band to The O’Shaughnessy stage for the first time. Its FEET DON’T FAIL ME NOW! show’s brilliance has been marked by rave reviews, sold-out engagements and numerous awards, including two SAGE Awards for Outstanding Ensemble and Performance, a Spirit of the Fringe Award (Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s top theatrical award), two Upper Midwest Emmy’s and being named “Best Dance Performance” by Minneapolis’ City Pages.

Katha Dance Theatre comes back to The O’Shaughnessy October 23-24 for the world premiere of POURUSH – THE MASCULINE, a story of an unconventional princess who struggles to embrace her feminine and masculine natures. New Delhi choreographer Maitreyee Pahari and Katha Dance Theatre’s Founder/Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi have crafted a beautiful fusion of fierce Chhau and mesmerizing Kathak choreography. Joined by international Chhau professionals Rakesh Babu and Rajesh Babu, the local Kathak professionals of Katha Dance Theatre Company bring this tale of psychological and sociological struggle to life.

On October 25, The O’Shaughnessy and the Dakota co-present veteran singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie as he celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the event that inspired his seminal song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” The show’s highlights will include the rarely performed treasured classic, many other favorites from Guthrie’s catalog, as well as a special multi-media presentation featuring previously unseen images from the Guthrie archives. THE ALICE’S RESTAURANT 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR band includes Terry Hall (drums), Bobby Sweet (guitar, vocals), Darren Todd (guitar), and Arlo’s son, Abe Guthrie (keyboards).

Maureen Fleming offers a regional dance premiere, Nov. 7

Maureen Fleming offers a regional dance premiere, Nov. 7

Internationally-acclaimed transcendent dancer-choreographer-performance artist Maureen Fleming offers a regional dance premiere on November 7. In B. MADONNA, Fleming invents surreal movement poetry that transforms thoughts of the human body. In a world beyond rationality and nationality, she brings her contemporary unveiling of the myth of Persephone to the stage, featuring text by David Henry Hwang and music by Philip Glass, performed live by pianist Bruce Brubaker. This beautiful, multimedia meditation on ‘miracles’ juxtaposes Fleming’s new and repertory works with three-dimensional video projections designed by longtime collaborator Christopher Odo.

In tandem with Fleming’s performance at The O’Shaughnessy, Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality will present the O Black Madonna installation from October 26-November 8. There will be a reception on November 4, with a gallery talk at 7pm at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Carondelet Center.

TU Dance, the acclaimed Minnesota-based dance company led by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, returns to The O’Shaughnessy November 20-22 as part of its 12th annual performance season. The concerts feature a world premiere work by Italian Canadian choreographer and 2015 McKnight International Artist Gioconda Barbuto as well as selections from the rich TU Dance repertory.

The O’Shaughnessy’s annual holiday tradition has Katie McMahon returning to the stage with CELTIC CHRISTMAS on December 11 with special guest, fiddle-mandolin player extraordinaire Peter Oustroshko. Dubbed Minnesota’s own “Celtic Woman,” McMahon is best known as the original voice of Riverdance. Her ode to the holidays, Celtic Christmas celebrates the season with a family-friendly program of traditional Christmas carols, stories and lively Irish dance. Her program will feature some new selections from France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

"Women of Will" deconstructs and conjures Shakespeare’s most famous female characters, Feb. 4. Photo Kevin Sprague

“Women of Will” deconstructs and conjures Shakespeare’s most famous female characters, Feb. 4. Photo Kevin Sprague

On February 4, WOMEN OF WILL makes a stop at The O’Shaughnessy. A true tour-de-force performance, the masterful summation is Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s 40-plus years spent investigating all things Shakespeare. Part masterclass, part performance: Funny, fierce, deep and accessible, Women of Will is the bonus content to Shakespeare’s plays. Packer deconstructs and conjures William Shakespeare’s most famous female characters. Ace actor Nigel Gore plays the Romeo to her Juliet, the Petruchio to her Kate. Together Packer and Gore’s stage alchemy creates the Shakespeare experience that The New York Times called “Marvelous!” and the Associated Press hailed as “Boundless and irresistible!

A singular evening of classical music, A NIGHT IN ANCIENT AND NEW CHINA, comes to The O’Shaughnessy on February 20. Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet explore the great music of China in a program that features a new multimedia work by the eminent Chinese composer, Zhao Jiping, in collaboration with his son, Zhao Lin, performing some of some of his most famous scores of Chinese cinema – Raise the Red Lantern, To Live and Farewell My Concubine, among others. The program also includes a suite of traditional Chinese folk songs arranged by second violinist Yi-Wen Jiang, as well as solo pipa works by Wu Man.  Looking back to their roots, but with a contemporary vision, these artists meld sounds of China with western string quartet and pipa in an unforgettable evening of grand music. Other ensemble members include Weigang Li (violin), Honggang Li (viola) and Nicholas Tzavaras (cello).

Known for its Afro-Brazilian contemporary dance fusion, highly physical movement, energetic dancing and invigorating theatrical experiences, Contempo Physical Dance debuts a new work by Senegalese and French choreographer Patrick Acogny February 26-27, as part of the company’s first international choreography residency and commissioning program. Inspired by the work of his mother, Germaine Acogny – the Artistic Director of the renowned Jant-Bi and L’Ecole des Sables – Patrick explores identity and ideas of place with Contempo Physical Dance’s diverse cast of Minnesota-based dancers. Led by Artistic Director Marciano Silva dos Santos, the creator of an “original” dance language, Contempo Physical Dance is dedicated to movement research, experimentation and expanding the field of contemporary dance by focusing on movement of the African Diaspora.

Shaun Hopper visits Saint Paul for the first time on March 18. This virtuoso musician’s fingerstyle acoustic guitar is infused with a percussive element that creates not only a unique sound but an unmatched visual performance. Hopper’s original compositions and arrangements of pop tunes are infused with all the cutting edge techniques and flavorings embraced by the new breed of You-Tube sensations. Yet, it is his traditional and schooled approach to music that keeps him unquestionably steeped in and inspired by the greats. Dazzling with his fiery originals and covering everything from Chet Atkins to Andre Segovia, from The Beatles to Queen, Hopper never fails to mesmerize an audience. He has made his mark opening for acts like “The John Jorgenson Quintet” (Elton John), the California Guitar Trio, G. Love and Switchfoot. He has toured with Tim Reynolds & TR3 from the Dave Matthews Band, and has cowritten songs with Tommy Emmauel.

Together On Stage: Patty Griffin joins forces with Sara Watkins and Anaïs Mitchell, Mar. 28

Together On Stage: Patty Griffin joins forces with Sara Watkins and Anaïs Mitchell, Mar. 28

On March 28, three supremely gifted singer-songwriters share The O’Shaughnessy stage, singing with and supporting each other in music that seeks the heart’s core. In a highly anticipated national tour, Grammy Award-winner Patty Griffin joins forces with Sara Watkins and Anaïs Mitchell in a celebration of American songwriting and performance. More than just a three-act show, TOGETHER ON STAGE is a special “singers-in-the-round” showcase featuring all three artists accompanying each other for the entire evening.

Grammy winner Patty Griffin “digs deep into introspective lyrics…[using] the silence between notes to create shimmering music you won’t soon forget” (American Songwriter); Nickel Creek co-founder Sara Watkins creates “a sound that’s gritty and determined to avoid clichés” (BBC Music); and Anaïs Mitchell is “writing material that stands comparison with the great singer-songwriters,” including Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (Daily Telegraph).

The season concludes with a very special Walker Art Center co-presentation: Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble performing THE SOUL’S MESSENGER, Celebrating 50 Years of New Music on April 15 at The O’Shaughnessy. Theater director-choreographer-filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk is also one of most revered figures in contemporary American music and performance. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies and memories for which there are no words. Monk and her acclaimed Vocal Quartet will showcase her range as a composer and her engagement with performance as a vehicle for spiritual transformation. This concert marks the fourth Meredith Monk co-presentation by the Walker and The O’Shaughnessy.

A related event, Meredith Monk in Conversation with Philip Bither, will be held on April 14, at Walker Art Center. Meredith Monk joins the Walker’s Senior Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither for a convivial and insightful conversation about her life and art. Monk’s seminal film 16 Millimeter Earrings will also be on view in the Walker galleries.

There are discounts for students, seniors and military. For more information and tickets, contact The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office at 651-690-6700; summer business hours (through Sept. 8) are Mon.-Fri. 12-4pm; ticket office is located on the main campus of St. Catherine University at 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. Tickets can be purchased online at oshag.stkate.edu.

ABOUT THE O’SHAUGHNESSY

oshaughnessy161Located on the scenic main campus of St. Catherine University, The O’Shaughnessy is one of the Twin Cities’ premiere venues for showcasing the arts. Since opening in 1970, The O’Shaughnessy has presented a dazzling array of both local and national performing arts companies, including the Minnesota Orchestra, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, James Sewell Ballet, TU Dance, The Indigo Girls, Joan Baez and countless others. In addition, the venue hosts public events, student and community performances and features multicultural programming with an emphasis on dance, music and theater. Known for its dedication to artistic development and collaboration, the venue has premiered over 400 new works by local and national artists. The O’Shaughnessy is the home of the Women of Substance series, which showcases the artistry and innovative work of women, both prominent and emerging in their fields, whose voices need to be heard.

May 30, 2015

ADT dancers conduct field research for "Roktim" at St. Paul's Frogtown Farm

The dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre visited Frogtown Farm, near Minnehaha and Lexington avenues in St. Paul, May 30, as part of their research for the creation of Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine.

The full-length work of dance theater will premiere at The O’Shaughnessy, Sept. 18-19.

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre at Frogtown Farm in St. Paul, May 30, 2015

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre at Frogtown Farm in St. Paul, May 30, 2015

Earlier in the day, the dancers visited the St. Paul studios of Seitu Jones, master artist, community organizer, and one of the company’s collaborators in creating “Roktim.”

Inspired by the Seed Sovereignty Movement and farming practices in local communities of color, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, Jones, and behavioral artist Marcus Young are partnering with Frogtown Farm, Afro Eco, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force to produce a 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.

Frogtown Farm will be a hub for a healthy food system that fills gaps in food production, storage, manufacturing, and distribution. With spokes that reach beyond its acreage and the Frogtown neighborhood, Frogtown Farm will be recognized as a destination for those seeking learning, innovation, reflection, celebration, and authentic community.

Frogtown Farm, St. Paul

Frogtown Farm, St. Paul

Rooted in values of social equity, justice, and inter-connectedness, this urban farm on the hill will serve as a model for multi-cultural community and a catalyst for economic development, wealth creation, community pride, and sustainability.

Frogtown Farm is the vision of longtime Frogtown residents. For the past year, Frogtown Farm has worked in concert with members of the community, The Trust for Public Land, the City of St. Paul, and the Wilder Foundation to acquire a 12.7 acre parcel of land for a public park and farm, of which 4.4 acres will be developed as an urban farm.

May 20, 2015

Ananya Dance Theatre at Aeon's Beyond Bricks & Mortar fundraising breakfast

ADT performed for Aeon at Hilton Minneapolis

ADT performed for Aeon at Hilton Minneapolis

Ananya Dance Theatre was honored to perform “Shelter” for Aeon‘s annual Beyond Bricks & Mortar fundraising breakfast at the Hilton Minneapolis, May 20. Nearly 800 people from all parts of our community attended.

Home is a basic necessity. Not only four walls and a roof, but home. More than 14,000 people are experiencing homelessness in our community right now, and many more on the verge. For 29 years, Aeon’s mission has been to create and sustain quality affordable homes that strengthen lives and communities.www.aeonmn.org

May 17, 2015

Utah graduate student will study with Ananya Dance Theatre

Liz Ivkovich

Liz Ivkovich

Liz Ivkovich has received a full, Graduate Research Fellowship from the University of Utah to continue her study of Ananya Dance Theatre’s work during 2015-2016. Ivkovich is a teaching assistant at the University of Utah’s Department of Modern Dance MFA Program. The focus of her academic research is Dance and Environmental Justice. She previously studied with ADT during the company’s development of “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” in 2013. Ivkovich holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a double major in Sustainable Business and International Studies. Her fellowship will also allow her to continue research with dance artist A’Keitha Carey.

May 5, 2015

Reflections about Ananya Chatterjea's residency at the University of Utah

Ananya Chatterjea, artistic director, Ananya Dance Theatre, was in residence in the Modern Dance Department at the University of Utah, April 21-23, as part of the “Fusion: Art & Social Justice Series.”

Chatterjea’s work interweaves the biographies and histories of women of color, the environment and performance in various global contexts, and physicalizes politics, choreographing identities and relationships in multiple arenas. She also questions and challenges tradition, artistic beliefs and practices, gender politics, and how we discuss and perceive modernity.

utahResidency activities included three talks, “Contestations in the History of Odissi,” “Thoughts on Contemporary Dance,” and “Socially Engaged Dance & Performance: Aligning Dance and Social Justice.” Chatterjea also presented a live performance at the Marriott Center for Dance and taught two master classes.

The residency was organized by Visiting Assistant Professor A’Keitha Carey, whose own doctoral research explores dance as an agent for societal change. She became interested in Chatterjea’s work while an undergraduate student.

“As a student, I read her work and become even more familiar with her in my doctoral program,” Carey said. “She is truly a wonderful model, illustrating how theory and practice coalesce producing educational, transformative, and transgressive works that express her theme of a call to action. We are both interested in this idea of dialogue and how these conversations do in fact provide opportunities for people to ‘stand together in difference.’”

Carey reflected about the residency in an open letter to Chatterjea:

The “shared heat” and “shared humanity” that was imparted upon the university is something that I can only equate to the phenomenal teachings of Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldùa. Anzaldùa introduced the term nepantla which is “a Nahuatl word meaning ‘in-between space’” (Keating 2006). This liminal space is a place where one is able to disidentify from the mythology of white supremacy, allowing oneself to see oneself not as inferior but as an equal, a whole being. This theory allows for transcendence and a subversive consciousness that fractures and ruptures identity politics that often subscribe to the belief system that increasingly fictionalizes the superiority of the white race, subjugating people of color (Keating 2006).

A'Keitha Carey

A’Keitha Carey

Those of us who mediate and facilitate this process are called nepantleras. Nepantleras are “the supreme border crossers. They act as intermediaries between cultures and their various versions of reality . . . They serve as agents of awakening, inspire and challenge others to deeper awareness, greater concocimiento, serve as reminders of each other’s search for wholeness of being” (“Speaking Across the Divide” 20).

Ananya, you are a Nepantlera! Your entrance in this space was exactly what was needed – not a week before – or a moment after – right now – at this time. Lives have been touched, some women have found their voice, and you provided a snap shot into MY reality of what this journey can and should be as a nepantlera. Your power and presence are sublime, evoking a sense of desire that includes social change, clarity in one’s ideas and philosophies about life, purpose, and practice and specifically how one can be a change maker simply by listening and retelling the stories that we hear.

I want to offer words of encouragement to you and the warrior women known as Ananya Dance Theatre. The journey that you are on is one that will disrupt the cultural and social norms, one that is “painful [during] dimensions of this world-traveling [and border crossing]” (Keating 9). Your defiance of the expectations placed upon you, the themes that are discussed in your work, and the POWER that you present and evoke are threatening to the insecure and weak (in mind and spirit) resulting in “rejection, ostracism, and other forms of isolation” (Keating 9) but I am writing to applaud, restore, and embolden you for your work, passion, and the voice that you provide for many.

You stated “there is a way of knowing that comes from knowing your body.” The freedom from “knowing my body” allows me to communicate with a clarity that includes embracing my gifts, loving my body, and accepting and exploring the sensual imparted by the divine. Because of this “knowing” I can share my “bodily truths,” encouraging other women to share their stories. This sentiment was reified during your visit. You also mentioned “some stories need to be told over and over again.” You and your company provide the foremost example of how to occupy space, thoughts, and personhood so that these stories can be projected for what they are, “beauty and truth.”

In closing … you mentioned that a part of your purpose is to “remind young women of their power.” I felt this reclamation of my own power (through your presence) which I have purposely been (re)negotiating out of fear of the aftermath. But I am “ready to do the work.” Your presence here at the University of Utah will long be remembered. You have left your DNA in the building, in the soil, and the souls of many. Because of you, I walk bolder into the fire, I can fight another day because of what you have deposited into my spirit.

I/we find my/our voice through the roar of the Lioness… shine on and shout with the power and pleasure of knowing that across the nation, we hear you, we see you, and we stand in love, light, and in support of the freedom, transformation, and strength that Ananya Dance Theatre provides for many…

May 4, 2015

Ananya Dance Theatre in Minneapolis' 2015 May Day Parade

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) with members of Ananya Dance Theatre before the 2015 May Day Parade.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) with several members of Ananya Dance Theatre before the 2015 May Day Parade. Photo by Gary Peterson

Members of Ananya Dance Theatre danced their way down Bloomington Avenue in the 41st annual May Day Parade in south Minneapolis, May 3, 2015.

Every spring, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre sponsors the May Day Parade on Bloomington Avenue in South Minneapolis as a prelude to a ceremony and festival in Powderhorn Park. The parade features around 2,000 participants and the festival attracts upwards of 50,000 people.

The 2015 parade was the first time that Ananya Dance Theatre participated as an organization in May Day activities.

Following the two-mile parade, RARE Productions, an organization that uses arts to engage LGBTQ artists of color and their allies, invited dancers to perform on the festival’s Lake Stage.

April 30, 2015

Reaction: Ananya Dance Theatre residency & performances at Links Hall in Chicago

Links Hall, a Chicago-based partner of the National Performance Network (NPN), presented Ananya Dance Theatre’s production of “Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming” for three performances, April 17-19, 2015. Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea and company dancers also presented master classes and workshops for members of Chicago’s dance community during a week-long residency.

 

“Ananya Chatterjea and Chitra Vairavan and everyone in ‘Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming’ is truly doing otherworldly work.” –Ladan Osman, Facebook, 4/18/15  •  Photo by Ladan Osman

“Ananya Chatterjea and Chitra Vairavan and everyone in ‘Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming’ is truly doing otherworldly work.”
–Ladan Osman, Somali Poet, Facebook, 4/18/15 • Photo by Ladan Osman

 

 

Soyini Madison, Professor, Performance Studies, Anthropology, African Studies, Northwestern University, April 30, 2015:

“I loved this work for many reasons: the precision of its artistry and technique; the boldness of its politics and truth telling; the brilliance of its multiple layered dance forms and temporalities; the speechless beauty of its staging and theatricality – colors in motion, how the choreography of faces, hands, and feet combined to make the body transcendent – dreams of impeccable horror and radical redemption. …

“I was shaken after the performance. It is true that I might not have known – in exact or specific terms – every symbolic gesture or every moment in ‘Neel’s’ overarching historical/contemporary time and context, but the work of brilliant art does not require or expect that I know it all – only sophomoric, didactic, inexperienced and bad performance does this. Your work does not insult the audience, your work does not insult the craft of dance (or your own intelligence and that of your dancers) by telling us how and what to think. Instead you OPEN the gates of brutal truths – you unleash them from their hiding places – you translate hard truths (unspeakable truths), you give them story and form and motion for us to feel, know, believe – be disturbed and moved by what we must know and will not forget after we leave your company’s performance.

“Those gun shots crossed epics – I hear them in the West Bank, in Afghanistan, in West Africa, in Columbia, in Ferguson, Missouri, in the every where places where life is destroyed at the hands of the spiritless. The tragedy of life lost, hope forgotten, memories unnamed, and the unrelenting desire for belonging is the script of the world and you danced it into our consciousness. The fact that we ARE our dreams and that a woman’s imagination is the life-blood of her soul is a birthing of new paths and futures that only comes out of the wombs of women. This is an existential fact that Ananya Dancers not only showed us, but also reminded us through dream story and through a performance of imaginings enshrined in radical love – love that surpasses time and space to make us strong beyond our means – beyond our own individual history, even our own singular body – the strength of the multitudes that foment revolution. …

“I wept at the end of your show because it ‘revolutionized me’ again. It reminded me of who I am, and what I am here to do, because I forget sometimes. ‘Neel’ reminded me of the power of art to change minds and feelings, to build community, to love, to believe in the possibilities of our dreams and that our strength of belonging is beyond measure. The Revolutionaries throughout history that I have read all seem to have one saying in common: revolutions begin with thoughts and feelings. ‘Neel’ made us think and feel abundantly, intelligently, and beautifully. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.”

 

Master class participants at Links Hall. “My body feels stirred alive with heat & stomping passions. Thank you.” –@anjalchande, Twitter, 4/15/15

Ananya Dance Theatre dancers and master class participants at Links Hall.
“My body feels stirred alive with heat & stomping passions. Thank you.” –@anjalchande, Twitter, 4/15/15

 

 

Laura Molzahn, chicagotribune.com, April 19, 2015:

“Freely interpreting her trademark blend of Odissi dance, yoga and an Indian martial art through the lens of contemporary choreography, Chatterjea is often ingenious. She shapes Indian dance’s acute angles — sharply articulated knees, wrists, elbows, spines — into intricately entwined puzzles in slow-moving, face-to-face duets. And though the traditional meanings of mudras (hand positions) are generally unknown in the U.S., harshly splayed fingers fanning across a face or flicked fists still convey emotion.

“Also stirring is the pounding of nearly two dozen feet in unison. In contrast to Indian dancers’ usual steely control, these performers can be wild and athletic in the nritta (pure dance) sections, yelling and abandoned.

“Chatterjea herself is a riveting performer, with the kind of authority only years of practice can give. Her abhinaya, or expressive movement of the face, is masterly. She exhibits both steely control and the ability to effect subtle, flickering shifts in emotion. Her solo, mourning paradise lost, is the most affecting moment of ‘Neel.’ … [A]ll the performers do a remarkable job in this challenging choreography.”

 

“A nonverbal spiritual awakening.” –Audience member, @LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15 Photo by Jennifer Grob

“A nonverbal spiritual awakening.” –Audience member, @LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15
Photo by Jennifer Grob

 

 

Lauren Warnecke, artintercepts.org, April 22, 2015:

“This was the stuff of nightmares. And, at times, it was really difficult to watch. …

“[T]he piece exemplified a balance of passion and pain, further reinforced by a large, diverse cast of women and hints of folklore from a potpourri of cultures. And yet, the dance was choreographed through a rather specific lens of contemporary Indian dance. Ananya’s namesake, Artistic Director Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, created intriguing movement that somehow remains true to her roots in classical Indian dance, and her solo performance mid-way through the first hour was a force to be reckoned with.”

 

“Infinitely jaw dropping and fascinating.” –@LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15 Photo by Jennifer Grob

“Infinitely jaw dropping and fascinating.” –@LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15
Photo by Jennifer Grob

 

 

Matt De La Pena, seechicagodance.com, April 21, 2015:

“The final product is probing, if not alternately moody in its tone.”

 

“I knew in the first 5 minutes that it would be a performance that would stay with me for a very long time.” –@LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15 Photo by Jennifer Grob

“I knew in the first 5 minutes that it would be a performance that would stay with me for a very long time.” –@LinksHall, Twitter, 4/19/15
Photo by Jennifer Grob

 

 

The Ananya Dance Theatre residency sponsored by the National Performance Network. Links Hall received additional support for the residency from Arts Midwest and The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

arts_midwest

March 14, 2015

Review: 'Aahvaan' helps open Ordway dance hall

“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.”

Read full review here.

March 12, 2015

The Color of the Twin Cities – Rock the Ordway

Re-posted from The Ordway Center’s blog:

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 12.36.01 PM

“Well, that was different,” I overheard one of the audience members say after yesterday’s performance by Ananya Dance Theatre. I smiled to myself. What she was really saying in Minnesotan speak was, “I’m not entirely sure what to think of this nontraditional thing I just witnessed–and I don’t want to offend anyone–so I’m going to make as neutral an assessment as possible.”

Yes, last night’s performance was “different.” It wasn’t the opera; it wasn’t the symphony. Yes, it was challenging (some of the dancing was evocative of death and dying; some evoked sex). Yes, it brought up issues we don’t necessarily like to think about (i.e. the hardships and tragedies of modern, urban life). But it was important. And beautiful. And I applaud the Ordway for commissioning such a provocative, meaningful performance.

So, what made some people squirm last night? What challenged our pleasant, theatre-going selves?

It started with a map.

When my guest, Cindy, and I walked into the theatre, a friendly usher handed us a map, examined our tickets, and told us we would be starting on the third floor at the “Wishing Well.” The Wishing Well was one of five different interactive sets spread across the Ordway. The idea was to merge audience and performers, spectators and dancers. Each set had a unique theme and a distinct message revolving around social justice, human rights, and the meaning of humanity. There was The Empress of Whimsy and Fortunes, Life Force, Wishing Well, Longest Day’s Journey, and Veins. My favorite set was Wishing Well, in which we were each invited to jot down a wish on a piece of rice paper, hand the paper to a young girl seated in front of a basin of water, and watch as she swirled the wish into the water and it disintegrated into muddy flecks. The effect was fantastic. The image of a bowl full of wishes, swirling and melding together, is pure magic.

After Part One, we all filed into the new concert hall (with members of Ananya Dance Theatre bending and twisting around us) and found our seats. Then, Part Two began.

Although Part Two took place on stage, I wouldn’t call it traditional. The members of Ananya (all dressed in vivid colors) explored what the human body can do with elaborate twists, foot stomps, yoga-like poses, and both subtle and grandiose movements. As I watched, I could feel a narrative unfold. I could see birth, death, agony, chaos, sex, community. It was incredibly expressive and, at times, hard to watch.

The dance entitled Our Bodies Hold Struggle was particularly challenging. Amid minor-key music and wailing that made me think of demons, the dancers spasmed on the stage or flopped like dying fish. I could feel the misery and despair. I wanted it to stop. And then I realized…

That’s the point.

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.

That said, the entire performance was not so serious. 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.

As I exited the theatre, I couldn’t help feeling that I had just witnessed something important. And I wanted others to witness it too. My sincere hope is that Ananya Dance Theatre gets the recognition it deserves for the role it plays in our community. It brings color, vibrancy, and consciousness to the Twin Cities.

Kate Leibfried is a freelance writer and marketer. She writes novels under the name Kate Bitters.

February 18, 2015

Ananya Chatterjea describes "Aahvaan" Acts 1 & 2 for Rock The Ordway

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. Click for tickets.

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

Commissioned for the grand opening of the Ordway 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.

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.

ACT 1

EMPRESS OF WHIMSY AND FORTUNES

Hui Niu Wilcox

SCORE: Greg Schutte

LIFE FORCE

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

WISHING WELL

Timothy Herrian with Lynn Wilcox

SCORE: Douglas Ewart

LONGEST DAY’S JOURNEY

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

SCORE: Mankwe Ndosi and Greg Schutte

VEINS

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

SCORE: Michelle Kinney and Andrea Reynolds

THE AWAKENING

Lead by Mankwe Ndosi and Tiyo Siyolo

ACT 2

INVOCATION

Company with Dorene Waubanewquay Day

OUR BODIES HOLD STRUGGLE

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

WHAT LIES BELOW OUR FEET

Urbanity: Company

Alienation: Chitra Vairavan

Rising tide: Company

FINDING FLOW

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

Click for tickets.

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.

November 10, 2014

Ananya Dance Theatre residency & performance at Historic Holmes Theatre

The Historic Holmes Theatre hosted Ananya Dance Theatre's residency & performance in Detroit Lakes MN, Nov. 2014

The Historic Holmes Theatre hosted Ananya Dance Theatre’s residency & performance in Detroit Lakes MN, Nov. 2014

 

The Historic Holmes Theatre presented Ananya Dance Theatre’s production of “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, November 8, 2014.

In the week leading to the performance, Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea and the dancers introduced contemporary Indian dance and the interpretation of abstract, metaphoric dance to students and adults at 11 class, workshop, and presentational settings organized by staff of the Historic Holmes Theatre.

Detroit Lakes Middle School

Detroit Lakes Middle School, Detroit Lakes MN

Classes and workshops took place in several of the Detroit Lakes public schools for 4th, 5th, 6th, middle, and high school grade levels; at two community dance studios; at a senior citizen residence; at a water aerobics class at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center; and at the White Earth Nation.

Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea spoke about dance and social justice to a luncheon meeting of the Detroit Lakes Rotarians. She and Brittany Radke, a company dancer and native of Detroit Lakes, participated in radio interviews on two stations.

Renée Copeland, Katie Haynes, Brittany Radke & Ananya Chatterjea

Renée Copeland, Katie Haynes, Brittany Radke & Ananya Chatterjea

Through the good offices of Amy Stearns, executive director of the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center and Historic Holmes Theatre, and her staff, members of Ananya Dance Theatre connected in person with a significant segment, 11%, of the area’s year-round population of 8,500 people. The Rotary Club luncheon provided for an intimate and personal conversation with members of the community.

This was Ananya Dance Theatre’s first performance and extended series of residency activities in a smaller community anywhere, and in the state of Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.

Public Events:

5th Grade Dance Class Workshop – Lake Park Audobon Elementary School – 60 attendees

White Earth Nation

Circle of Life Academy, White Earth Nation

6th Grade Dance Class Workshop – Detroit Lakes Public Schools – 55 attendees

Dance Movement Workshop – Summit Dance Studio – 15 attendees

Rotary Club Luncheon – Presentation – 75 attendees

Dance Movement Workshop – Circle of Life Academy, White Earth Nation – 50 attendees

5th Grade Dance Class Workshop – Detroit Lakes Middle School – 125 attendees

Dance Movement Workshop – Northern Lights Dance Studio – 75 attendees

Radio Interviews – KDLM AM & Wave 104 FM – 1,000 (?) listeners

Water Aerobics Dance Movement Class – Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center – 55 attendees

Movement Class – Oak Crossings Senior Community – 75 attendees

4th Grade Dance Class Workshop – Roosevelt Elementary School – 125 attendees

“Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” – Historic Holmes Theatre – 254 attendees

Ananya Dance Theatre’s performance and residency activities were made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Lakes Region Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

Backstage Selfie: Historic Holmes Theatre, Detroit Lakes

Backstage at Historic Holmes Theatre, Detroit Lakes, Nov. 8, 2014 • Brittany Radke, Lela Pierce, Renée Copeland, Katie Haynes, Mankwe Ndosi, Chitra Vairavan, Ananya Chatterjea

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.