"Art should have a vital connection with live issues," Ananya Chatterjea once said, describing her activist approach to art. A trained classical dancer from Calcutta who now explores the roles of women through more contemporary modes of expression, Dr. Chatterjea will discuss her personal journey as a dancer, choreographer and activist in a lecture-demonstration on Wednesday, May 16 at 3:30pm in Kresge Little Theater.
In her presentation, "Dancing Through Disruptions: Notions of 'Classical Antiquity,' Postcolonial Fractures, and Complex Footwork," Dr. Chatterjea will discuss her struggle to work through inherited legacies, western-style modernity, and interactions with the lure of 'westernized' glamour.
"We do come across criticism that we are washing dirty linen in public when we portray current South Asian women issues in the US," Dr. Chatterjea said in an interview with the Hindu, India's national newspaper. "But women's resistance forms a large part of the forgotten history of South Asia. I seek to throw light on that as well. Good or bad, it is my history too. I love it. I own it."
While at MIT, Dr. Chatterjea will work on a project with Assistant Professor Thomas DeFrantz called "Remembering Our Feet: A Dance Collaboration Across Cultures." This performance project will explore affinities and differences between classic American dance (tap dance) and classical Indian dance (Kathak). Dr. Chatterjea and Mr. DeFrantz plan to perform this work at MIT in 2002.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 16, 2001.