Ananya Dance Theatre: Pipaashaa

Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea combines the traditional Bengal dance form Odissi with a no-holds-barred street theater aesthetic to create works marked by an unapologetic social conscience. Past efforts have examined subjects ranging from domestic violence to women's health; "Pipaashaa," or "extreme thirst," tackles environmental justice in the wake of a disaster that transforms a village from a peaceful haven into a toxic hell. Like many of Chatterjea's works, however, the message moves beyond politics and challenges the notion of how human beings, particularly women, can survive—and even thrive—in a world where catastrophes, large and small, seem to happen on a daily basis. Chatterjea's Ananya Dance Theatre is composed of women artists of color, many of whom have learned the rigorous Odissi dance form only in recent years, and they command the stage with a combination of grace and power that lifts their creativity into an elegant form of protest. The work includes a haunting, post-industrial score by Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan, and Gulgun Kayim of the Skewed Visions site-specific troupe has lent her savvy directorial eye. While the images may sometimes sear the heart, the beauty of Chatterjea's work lies in the element of hope that uplifts both performer and viewer alike.
Sept. 6-8, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 9, 7 p.m.

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