In the fall of 2006, Ananya Chatterjea delivered a lecture and performance called “Dancing My Politics as part of the Fisher Center’s “Art, Gender, & Activism lecture series. Chatterjea’s dance company, Ananya Dance Theatre, was scheduled to give a performance, “Duurbaar: unstoppable, but was short on dancers. Sade Jones ’08 jumped at the chance to perform with the troupe, despite having only one day to rehearse.
Jones, a psychology major and member of Koshare, was invited to join the company this past summer in a trilogy project focusing on environmental injustices. She arrived in Minneapolis, where the company is based, on July 6 and began an immediate, rigorous rehearsal: intense, six-hour sessions, every day.
The first piece, “Pipaahaa: extreme thirst, is “an artistic response to the steady eradication and contamination of natural resources by aggressive industrialization, and will be performed over the next two years.
Jones is now learning a classical Indian dance technique called the Odissi, which she says is an additional hurdle. “The most challenging part of this experience for me was coming in to learn a completely new technique on top of learning a piece that everyone else [in the company] had been learning since October.
Despite these challenges, Jones is still having a great time. “The funniest times, I’d have to say, are when it’s 10 o’clock at night, and we are delirious from being in practice all day. Everyone gets pretty wacky…even Ananya!
This week, Jones returned to her studies on campus after performing at the historic Southern Theater in Minnesota. In October, she plans to meet the company in Philadelphia for another performance of “Pipaahaa. Then, she will return to HWS with “a sense of wisdom and an experience [she] wouldn’t trade for the world.