By by AANEWS |

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Minnesota’s Ananya Dance Theater performed at a reception for alumni of educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Ethiopia, at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Thursday.

The reception was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy as part of a month-long series of activities celebrating 75 years of U.S.–Ethiopia educational and cultural exchanges.

David Kennedy, the embassy’s Public Affairs Officer, introduced Ambassador Patricia Haslach, who delivered welcoming remarks.

Burnsville native Learned Dees, the embassy’s Cultural Affairs Officer, introduced Ananya Dance Theater and its 15-minute performance.

The performance included a sung poem linking the Mississippi and Nile rivers, and dancers circulating throughout the ballroom inviting attendees to “Dance with us!” Many, including Ambassador Haslach, did so.

Reception attendees included Mulatu Astatke, the “godfather of Ethiopian jazz.”

Following the reception, Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea and the company appeared at the opening ceremonies of the Crossing Boundaries Festival & Conference, held at the Ethiopian National Theater.

Ananya Dance Theater performed the festival’s keynote performance, “Roktim: Nurture Incarnadine,” at National Theatre, 6 p.m. Friday. “Roktim” received its world premiere at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul on September 19.

The company arrived in Addis Ababa, September 21 and conducted a variety of workshops throughout the week. The visit is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Tuesday, at the U.S. Embassy, dancers engaged in hours-long conversation and movement dialogue with 14 women, all law students from Addis Ababa University and members of the Yellow Movement, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of, and to change attitudes and behaviors that result in violence against women.

The company also conducted a joint workshop with members of the Destino Dance Company, an Ethiopian ensemble established to help underprivileged young people develop their potential through dance.

On Wednesday, dancers conducted a workshop with faculty and students from the graduate theater program at the Cultural Arts Center of Addis Ababa University.

Ananya Dance Theater is a pioneering force in contemporary Indian dance and enjoys a growing profile throughout Minnesota, the United States, and the world. The ensemble of mostly women artists of color creates original dance theater – people powered dancers of transformation – drawing on social justice themes inspired by the lives and stories of women around the globe.

Source: Asian American Express
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