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 // September 23 - 28, 2019 // February 15 - 22, 2020

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MANCC welcomes Minneapolis-based artist Ananya Chatterjea back to Tallahassee for two residencies following her March 1-2, 2019 site visit. Her residencies will be 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-prong 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 may take place during her residencies.

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 trained 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 the broad conceptual ideas, Chatterjea maintains a commitment to local communities, especially dialoguing with young people and women of color. While at MANCC, she looks forward to speaking with women from marginalized groups within the local community, specifically immigrants from global communities of color, as well as feminist scholars on campus. She will also teach two masterclasses for School of Dance students to engage them in her contemporary practice within a non-Western form.

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

  • Photos Coming Soon
Collaborators in Residence: Kaeloha Alex Ferreira [Performer], Sharon Bridgforth [Writer]

Featured Artist

Emily Johnson

Then a Cunning Voice
September 28 & 29
Calumet Park Cultural
Center (Chicago)

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