Audré Lorde cautioned: “Your silence will not protect you.” Shyamali: Sprouting Words explores how dissent fuels life force and growth, recognizes the courage of women who speak up and talk back to sustain communities against injustice, and celebrates women who refuse to be broken. Inspired by the courage of women around the world, “Shyamali” means “dark green” in Bengali, and invokes the resilience of grass, which springs up when trod upon.
Ananya Chatterjea’s choreography combines the metaphor and poetry of Contemporary Indian Dance in a movement practice anchored in social justice as it invokes the spirit of Dakini, traditionally embodied by destruction, chaos, and transformation.
Dakini lives in the possibilities of audiences’ and performers’ discomfort and insists that the role of women’s rage and their spiritual ecstasy be seen in the arc towards equity. This tumult resolves through choreography that weaves ritualistic performance and dances of the gentle warrior.
Chatterjea’s production team includes the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre, collaborating director Marcus Young, composer Greg Schutte, scenic designer Joel Sass, media designer Darren Johnson, costume designer Annie Cady, and lighting designer Kevin A. Jones.
Asian Arts Initiative presents Ananya Dance Theater’s “Shyamali: Sprouting Words” with the Painted Bride Art Center, commissioned with support from the National Performance Network Creation Fund