A dance company can create dance performances, of course.

But it can also do other kinds of things.

A dance company can create a space for advancing social justice.

A dance company can foster transformative relationships.

A dance company can craft a space for discussions.

A dance company can claim the body as a space for resistance.

A dance company can be a home for a group of scholars.

A dance company can fashion a space for radicals.

A dance company can act as a conduit for ideas and histories.

Ananya Dance Theatre puts forward an example of all of the above, a group of women of color who are, in Ananya’s words, “truth-tellers of these stories we are trying to dance, the griots that will carry us towards making different histories, imagining different possibilities for women.”

I was first introduced to the work of the company’s artistic director, Ananya Chatterjea, through her writing, then through her speaking, and then finally through an embodied experience with her company in Minneapolis. I began talking to Ananya over a decade ago, and am glad that our paths have intersected again in order to bring the company to the Dance Center.

Ananya envisions her dances as calls to action, and I hope as you watch tonight, you’ll meditate on what the embedded call to action is for you within Shyamali.

–Ellen Chenoweth

Ananya Dance Theatre’s Shyamali was presented at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in February 2019.

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