To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
In Session: Social Justice and Connectivities: Dance in/beyond Contemporary Asia
4: Yorchhā: The Indian Dance Practice of Ananya Dance Theatre and Black Lives Matter Movements
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Alessandra Lebea Williams
Rutgers University-New Brunswick, United States
In 2016, Ananya Dance Theatre’s "Yorchhā" technique highlighted the conditions of Black lives in a U.S. context in order to mobilize its social justice objectives toward choreographic action. Yorchhā is a specialized Indian dance aesthetic of the Ananya Dance Theatre company that intersects Odissi dance, vinyasa yoga, and Chhau martial arts. Based in the Twin Cities metropolitan region of Minnesota, Ananya Dance Theatre aims to explore global, intersectional experiences of queer, Black and brown women and femmes. The artistic director Ananya Chatterjea created the evening-length dance Horidraa: Golden Healing (2016)in the wake of two killings of unarmed Black men in Minneapolis, Saint Paul area, Jamar Clark in 2014 and Philando Castile in 2016. I argue that Chatterjea’s compositional strategies for the Ananya Dance Theatre company in solo and ensemble movement are the efforts that propel it toward emphasizing Black Lives. Moreover, as the choreography of Horidraa broadens how the intersection of gender and race might be understood through its placement of Black bodies in its Indian dance technique, “Yorchhā,” it has the potential to make critical space for dance practice in highlighting calls for making Black Lives Matter.