University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Ananya Dance Theatre at O’Shaughnessy with “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire”

Ananya Dance Theatre and The O’Shaughnessy present
Mohona: Estuaries of Desire

Friday, September 20, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

The O’Shaughnessy
2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN  55105

2013 Ananya Mohona Estuaries of Desire

Tickets for Mohona available at The O’Shaughnessy site

A multi-disciplinary, total theater experience, “Mohona” relates stories and layers images of women’s work and lives in relation to water. The performance space is imagined as an estuary-located at the confluence of multiple marine flows, rich in possibilities-where dancers layer breath, movement, and voice to explore the themes.

Created by Ananya Chatterjea in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi and the dancers of Anany Dance Theatre. Score by Greg Schutte in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi and Pooja Goswami Pavan.  Set and costume design by Annie Katsura Rollins.

Ticekts: $27, $17; $2 off for seniors and children, and alumni, faculty and staff of St. Catherin University and the University of Minnesota; $10 day of event rush for college and HS students.

The O’Shaughnessy at St. Caterine University,
2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

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  1. Many Ways to Address a “System Under Stress” | River LifeNovember 9, 2015 at 1:38 pmReply

    […] brings me to a body of work that I want to commend to everyone’s attention.  “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” is the most recent work produced by the Ananya Dance Theater under the artistic direction of […]

  2. Many Ways to Address a “System Under Stress” | River LifeSeptember 25, 2013 at 10:52 amReply

    […] brings me to a body of work that I want to commend to everyone’s attention.  ”Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” is the most recent work produced by the Ananya Dance Theater under the artistic direction of […]

  3. Ann WaltnerSeptember 21, 2013 at 11:51 pmReply

    Ripple Effects
    “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire” is a tour de force. If you missed it, then be sure you see the next performance of the Ananya Dance Theatre.
    The performance began almost imperceptibly; as the audience came into the theater, we met “water wishes” hanging from the ceiling—wishes written by past audiences on blue slips of paper. Wishes ranged from “I wish everyone had clean water” to “Forgive us.” As we took our seats, we were offered the opportunity to write our own wishes, which would appear on stage at the end of the performance. The stage was framed with plastic bottles in blue fishnets. They gleamed somewhat ominously in the stage lights. Fragments of music came from the stage, and with the house lights still on, dancers entered the area in front of the stage. By the time the lights went down, the performance was underway, diminishing the distance between performer and audience.
    Ananya began the evening dancing in a bubble. When the bubble collapsed, Ananya lay crumpled on the floor. But another dancer entered the stage, and the dance revived Ananya. The theme of collapse and revival recurred during the evening. The point that we (as audiences, as artists) have responsibility for the revival, which could have become didactic, remained subtle, fluid, shocking, shifting. The sheer beauty of the dancing did not mask its urgency or its call to action.
    The ways in which the piece was a call to action was made clear in several ways. The house lights went up as Mankwe Ndosi sang about how we “can’t even take a dip in our own Mississippi.” She repeatedly asked the question “What do you want your ripple effect to be?” Because the house lights were up, the audience was no longer sitting in the anonymous dark. It is clear that we were meant to think about our responsibilities in determining our ripple effects.
    Mid-way through the performance, the fishnets riddled with plastic bottles disappear. A jug of real water is brought on stage: Ananya put water in her hands, took a sip of it and touched her face with it. The materiality of the water startles us; it reminds us what the piece is about.
    The ending is fluid; the dancers are lovely and strong, they flow like water. The audience erupts into thunderous applause, applause which the company transforms into rhythmic clapping. The company invited audience members to come up on the stage. Thus, the incorporation of audience into the performance was complete. As was the incorporation of the audience into the activist message of the piece.

    To find out more about the creative process Ananya Dance Theatre uses in making dance, see

  4. Ann WaltnerSeptember 21, 2013 at 10:44 pmReply

    Ananya Dance Theatre sends powerful message
    Article by: CAROLINE PALMER , Special to the Star Tribune
    Updated: September 21, 2013 – 6:36 PM

    Review: Troupe uses water to explore social justice and human rights.

    Water is important to Minnesota: the lakes, the mighty Mississippi, even the snow. During drought water is still accessible here with the turn of a tap. We take it for granted.

    But as Ananya Dance Theatre powerfully demonstrates in “Mohona: Estuaries of Desire,” which premiered Friday night at The O’Shaughnessy, we could lose this life-giving resource. Many world citizens already know this loss all too well.

    Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea’s work focuses on social justice and human rights from a global perspective. She and her troupe of dedicated performers explore these subjects through the Indian dance form of Odissi as well as elements of the Chhau martial arts tradition and yoga. These fiery artists demand attention, action and the abandonment of complacency. And they get it.

    An opening image summed up the evening: Chatterjea moving slowly inside a large plastic bubble, as if she inhabited a molecule within water’s physical and chemical properties — the very essence of H20. Mike Wangen’s lights reflected beautifully off the surface. But disruption was inevitable — soon Chatterjea lay on the ground, the bubble flattened by the other dancers’ fists and feet. Humanity abuses water through pollution, chemical runoff and Fukushima’s radioactive poison.

    Multitalented singer Mankwe Ndosi acted as the living embodiment of water, her fluid voice teaching, taunting, even descending into madness. “Do to me, do to we,” she warned. And as the dancers journeyed through each scene, their feet stamping the ground with rhythmic urgency, the combination of voice and movement assumed its own organic flow, sometimes serene as a forest stream or tumultuous as an ocean storm-tossed by an atmosphere in the throes of climate change.

    Chatterjea’s uncompromising intensity, Renee Copeland’s effortless detailing of every movement, Hui Niu Wilcox’s grounded grace and Orlando Hunter’s emotional bravery were just a few examples of the many high-quality performances on Friday. Greg Schutte’s assertive musical score offered up a range of sonic textures, from blissful peace to heavy metal pounding.

    “What do you want your ripple effect to be?” This is more than a simple question from one of Ndosi’s songs. We need to find an answer.

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