Art Hounds: Dance meditation considers movement across borders

Dancers pose for a photo.
Ananya Dance Theatre, shown in a photo provided by the company, performs "Dastak: I Wish You Me” in St. Paul Friday and Saturday.
Isabel Fajardo

St. Paul poet and performance artist Hawona Sullivan Janzen has loved Ananya Dance Theatre ever since she watched them through a glass window this summer. The dancers performed inside their University Avenue studio but the audience was seated on the sidewalk outside while traffic and light rail trains rushed nearby. She remains moved by the experience.

Sullivan Janzen is planning to see Ananya Dance Theatre’s new show “Dastak: I Wish You Me” indoors this weekend. The dance performance is a collaboration with playwright Sharon Bridgforth and cellist Spirit McIntyre. Ananya is a contemporary dance theater company focused on global social justice. “Dastak” contemplates migration and loss through “four elemental journeys,” according to the dance company’s website. The Farsi term for knockings, dastak refers to the idea that global social injustice prompts a knocking at your door.

Ananya Dance Theatre’s show “Dastak: I Wish You Me” is Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9 p.m. at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. The theater requires masks as well as proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance.

Teaching artist Maria Asp loves Z Puppets Rosenschnoz’s web series, “Say it, Sing it, Play it!”  The three-part series is a hybrid of live-action, puppetry, animation and song, and is in Cherokee. Designed for ages 3 and up, the show follows best friends Turtle and Wabbit as they travel in their spaceship, unlocking clues to help save Grandma Turtle. Asp called it a delightful series whose pacing and repetition make it easy for all ages to learn some words in Cherokee.

It was created by Chris Griffith, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, as a way to answer a 2019 state of emergency call to keep the Cherokee language from being lost. The show stars Griffith and Shari Aronson and is directed by Anishinabe artist Julie Boada.

The digital show streams through the Ordway Theater’s website for the month of November.  Tribal members of any nation, as well as Native American schools or organizations, may sign up to see the show for free.

Artwork from an exhibition.
"Pasture," from Lisa Bergh's exhibition.
Courtesy of Lisa Bergh

Artist Naomi RaMona Schleisman recommends a visit to the Kaddatz Galleries in Fergus Falls to see Lisa Bergh’s exhibit, “Dear Diary.” Based in New London, Minn., Bergh has worked with painting and sculptural installations. This new body ventures into textiles, using canvas and heavy plastic combined with embroidery and rivets to create a tension in each piece that invites viewers to look closer. Schleisman loves the vibrant colors of the pieces.

“It's like you're having this private conversation that Lisa has created with these forms,” said Schleisman.

“Dear Diary” runs through Nov. 18, both in-person and online, with a closing reception on the final evening.

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