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.