Ananya Chatterjea (Photos by Paul Virtucio, courtesy of Ananya Dance Theatre)
AAP staff report
According to the foundation’s website, “The Fellowships are awarded to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”
“I am delighted about the Guggenheim Fellowship!” said Chatterjea. “I am excited to create new work during this fellowship period.”
Chatterjea celebrated the honor with a fundraiser, in which her ADT company performed an excerpt of the new work “Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass,” the second piece in a four-year anti-violence project exploring the experiences of women of color across the globe. The piece premieres at the Southern Theater in September.
For the project, Chatterjea said she typically works with company dancers to create evening length works intersecting artistic excellence and social justice. In 2009, she completed a trilogy of works created over a course of three years, which explored various aspects of environmental injustice and devastation.
In 2010, Chatterjea launched a new project, described as a quartet of works exploring the different ways in which women in global communities of color experience and resist violence.
“I am exploring this through four paradigms, land, gold, oil, and water, all of which are “natural” or “naturally occurring” elements, which have then been manipulated and harnessed as capital in ways that have resulted in tremendous violence,” she added. “I will be working on this quartet during the period of this Fellowship.”
Ananya (na-anya) is the Bengali word which means “like whom there is no other.” The singular company of women artists, primarily of color, work at the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice. Inspired by the commitment and passion that infuse women’s movements worldwide, the artists create original works that reflect women’s lives, foster strong communities, address social-justice issues, convey power and create beauty.
Chatterjea was lauded by Ms. Magazine as one of the “choreographers who are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a woman and a dancer. She formed CDT in 1996 after witnessing political theater as a form of consciousness-raising in communities of color.
Using the Indian classical-dance form Odissi as her choreographic starting point, Chatterjea innovated a style that articulates social critique while advancing artistic excellence. Her original choreographic model for practice and performance transforms the company’s factual research, storytelling and creative activities into metaphor and movement with the power to changes viewers’ lives.
The technique and style is rooted in the Indian dance form Odissi. It is a blending of sculptural sensuality, powerful footwork and emotional articulation. It is formed by the pure lines and breath release of yoga, with a bodily awareness of energy of Indian martial-arts traditions.
Of the 25 works currently in ADT’s repertory, three comprise the recently completed trilogy on environmental justice.
In 2010, ADT premiered “Kshoy/Decay,” the first of a new four-part investigation into violence, trauma, resistance and empowerment experienced by communities of color, using the elements of mud, gold, oil and water as metaphor.
The series continues in 2011 with “Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass,” in 2012 with “Moreechika: Season of Mirage,” and concludes in 2013 with “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire.”
Chatterjea also is the Director of Dance and Associate Professor of Dance in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
For more information, please contact Camille LeFevre at 651-646-2098; [email protected].