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U of M's Dance Director Ananya Chatterjea honored: MPR's first Arts Hero

Ananya Chatterjea is the founder and artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre; her dance company uses its performances to raise awareness around issues such as environmental racism, violence against women, and the ravages of unrestrained capitalism. She is also Director of Dance at the University of Minnesota's Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.

Minnesota Public Radio has recognized her as the first in a new series called "Arts Heroes" identifying her as "one of Minnesota's finest artists who is also an exceptional community leader." In launching this series, the MPR news explained the selection criterion."These are not just artists who do a charitable project on the side, but have made it their passion and life's work. Their art actively seeks to address social ills, transform their communities and the world."

Earlier this month Chatterjea's Ananya Dance Theatre performed Moreechika: Season of Mirage, which deals with impact of oil drilling, both on communities and on the environment. "One of the dances in Moreechika is inspired by the explosions of gas pipelines in Nigeria, another by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its effect on wildlife. A third dance examines how the pursuit of beauty leads women around the world to contaminate their bodies with toxins found in cosmetics made with petroleum products. The Bhopal disaster is referenced in the work, along with the familiar human costs and crime associated with the new oil boom in the Dakotas," reports news anchor Marianne Combs.
Read and hear MPR's "Arts Heroes" news feature here.

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