Ananya Chatterjea

Founder, Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dancer. Since 2004. Leader, Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice.

Her recent work, Shyamali, was described as “brimming with memorable moments and activist passion” (Star Tribune, 9/17/17) and her choreography has been applauded for “never flinch(ing) from exposing injustices women around the globe are subjected to daily” (Star Tribune, 9/19/16).

She has toured her work to Ethiopia with State Department support, presenting the keynote performance at the Crossing Boundaries Festival in Addis Ababa (2015); to the Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival, Palestine (2018); the Aavejak Avaaz and Pragjyoti International Dance Festivals, India (2018), the Harare International Dance Festival, Zimbabwe (2013), the New Waves Institute of Dance and Performance, Trinidad (2012), and other national and international locations.

Ananya is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique. She presented the keynote talk at the joint conference of Congress of Research in Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars (2016). She is currently writing her second book, under contract with Palgrave McMillan, exploring the politics of “contemporary dance” from the perspective of artists from global communities of color.

UBW Partnership Fellow | Site Visit February 28 - March 2, 2019 // Residency #1 September 23 - 28, 2019 // Residency #2 February 15 - 22, 2020

Fires of Lost Homes

MANCC welcomed Minneapolis-based artist Ananya Chatterjea back to Tallahassee for the first of two residencies following her March 1-2, 2019 site visit to further her work Fires of Lost Homes. Her residencies are the second set in a three-year partnership program with the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative’s (CCI) Choreographic Fellowship program. CCI utilizes a two-pronged approach that advances the work of individual women choreographers from the African, and in the case of Chatterjea, Indian Diaspora while bringing about systemic change in the field of dance. Chatterjea’s site-visit helped familiarize her with the MANCC staff and their specific roles in support of residency artists, MANCC’s facilities within FSU’s School of Dance, and the possibilities of research that then took place during her fall residency and will continue when she returns in February.

Situated at the intersection of contemporary Indian dance and social justice, Chatterjea’s work with her company, Ananya Dance Theatre, fuses tradition with innovation. In her explorations into how traditional and contemporary forms and structures meet, Chatterjea places great emphasis on footwork. She seeks to push the form forward by asking, for example, how to incorporate bells, which her company dancers do not wear on their ankles as they would in more classical forms. In the past, she has avoided using bells because of the traditional symbolism they carry. However, she is newly interested in figuring out how she can incorporate them into her contemporary work as an additional exploration into sound and vibration.

Returning from a recent tour of India where she continued her training with various practitioners, Chatterjea is interested in the notion of journey and return through an exploratory lens. With this idea of journey comes the fact of migration and, more specifically, the partition of India, and also the discussion of a fraught border wall here in the U.S. She seeks to understand the ways in which large groups of people move to create more meaning in their lives.

In addition to these broad conceptual ideas, Chatterjea maintains a commitment to local communities, especially dialoguing with young people and women of color. While at MANCC, she had the opportunity to meet with Karen Woodall, Director of the Florida People’s Advocacy Center, as well as Shalini Goel Agarwal who serves as a Senior Supervising Attorney in the area of Criminal Justice Reform at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Additionally, with her collaborator and Artistic Associate, Kaeloha Alex Ferreira, Chatterjea taught two masterclasses for School of Dance students to engage them in her contemporary practice within a non-Western form. She looks forward to working with students in the studio and inviting community members to a showing and open dialogue about social justice dance during her February residency.

These two residencies, as well as Chatterjea’s site visit, are supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira in residence for <em>Fires of Lost Homes</em>
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira
  • Kealoha Ferreira and Ananya Chatterjea
  • Kealoha Ferreira and Ananya Chatterjea
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Sharon Bridgforth, Kealoha Ferreira and Ananya Chatterjea in the studio
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar speaks to Ananya Chatterjea, Kealoha Ferreira, and Sharon Bridgforth
  • Kealoha Ferreira, Sharon Bridgforth, and Ananya Chatterjea in discussion
  • Kealoha Ferreira, Sharon Bridgforth, Ananya Chatterjea, and Jawole Zollar speak to School of Dance class
  • Kealoha Ferreira, Sharon Bridgforth and Ananya Chatterjea speak to Dr. Schwadron's School of Dance class
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira speak to Karen Woodall with the Florida People’s Advocacy Center
  • Ananya Chatterjea speaks to Karen Woodall with the Florida People’s Advocacy Center
  • Sharon Bridgforth, Ananya Chatterjea, Kealoha Ferreira, and Carla Peterson in a round table discussion
  • Sharon Bridgforth, Ananya Chatterjea, Kealoha Ferreira, and Carla Peterson in a round table discussion
  • Sharon Bridgforth and Ananya Chatterjea watch Kealoha Ferreira
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira
  • Ananya Chatterjea
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira
  • Ananya Chatterjea teaching an FSU School of Dance master class
  • Ananya Chatterjea teaching an FSU School of Dance master class
  • Ananya Chatterjea and Kealoha Ferreira teaching an FSU School of Dance master class
Collaborators in Residence: Kealoha Alex Ferreira [Performer], Sharon Bridgforth [Writer]

Featured Artist

Rosie Herrera

Make Believe
March 16 - 20
Arts Center in
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