Ananya Chatterjea

2012 Choreographer Fellow

Ananya Chatterjea is dancer, choreographer, dance scholar, and dance educator, who envisions her work in the field of dance as a “call to action” with particular focus on women artists of color. She is the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a company of women artists of color committed to the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice. She is also Director of the Dance Program and Professor of Theater Arts and Dance in the University of Minnesota.
Ananya is the recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Artist Fellowship for Choreography. She was named "Best Choreographer" by City Pages (2007) and has received awards from the BIHA (Black Indian Hispanic Asian) Women In Action organization, the MN Women’s Political Caucus, the 21 leaders for the 21st Century Award from Women’s E-News, and was honored by the Josie Johnson Social Justice and Human Rights Award, for her work weaving together artistic excellence, social justice, and community-building.
Recent engagements include performances at Festivale Danca Indiana de America de Sul in Campinas, Brazil; Indigenous Contemporary Dance Festival at National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque; and the Norwegian Theater Academy, Oslo (2012); an artist residency at the New Waves Institute in Trinidad (2011); performances at the World Dance Event at NYC’s Dance Theater Workshop (2010); the keynote address and performance at the 2009 International Conference of Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (2009); teaching and performance at Bates Dance Festival (2008); performances at Erasing Borders Festival (NY, 2008); teaching at the American Dance Festival (2008); and performances at the O’Shaughnessey’s Women of Substance Performance Series (2008). Her choreographic project Tushaanal/fires of dry grass (Sept 2011) was reviewed as “an intricately wrought yet wholly powerful work” that “alternately shimmers and scorches with fervent intensity” (Star Tribune, 9/9/11) and received enthusiastic ovations from audiences.

Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy

2012 Choreographer Fellow

RANEE and APARNA RAMASWAMY are Artistic Directors, Choreographers, and Principal Dancers of Ragamala Dance, acclaimed as one of the Indian Diaspora’s leading dance ensembles. They are disciples of legendary Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer Alarmél Valli. Inspired by the philosophy, spirituality, mysticism, and myth of their South Indian heritage, Ranee and Aparna’s work retains roots in this collective history while carrying the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam into the 21st century. They see the classical form as a dynamic, living tradition with vast potential to convey timeless themes and contemporary ideas.

Ranee and Aparna’s work has been supported by the NEA, National Dance Project, Japan Foundation, USArtists International, and a Joyce Award; commissioned by the Walker Art Center and American Composers Forum; and toured extensively, highlighted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India. In 2011, they were jointly named “Artist of the Year” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

RANEE has been a master teacher/performer of Bharatanatyam in the U.S. since 1978. Since her first cross-cultural collaboration with poet Robert Bly in 1991, followed by her founding of Ragamala in 1992, she has been a pioneer in the establishment of non-Western dance traditions in the Twin Cities and in pushing the boundaries of Indian classical dance on the global scene. Among her many awards are 14 McKnight Fellowships, a Bush Fellowship, an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International, the 2011 McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist Award.

APARNA has received three McKnight Fellowships in Dance and Choreography, a Bush Fellowship, an Arts and Religion grant funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, two Jerome Travel Study Grants, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International. Her choreography and performance have been described as “a marvel of buoyant agility and sculptural clarity” (Dance Magazine), “thrillingly three-dimensional,” and “an enchantingly beautiful dancer,” (The New York Times). In 2010, Aparna was the first Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer to be named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”.



Carl Flink

2012 Choreography Fellow

The artistic director of Minneapolis/St. Paul based movement theater Black Label Movement (BLM), choreographer Carl Flink’s dancemaking is recognized for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking, and humanistic themes. Institutions that have presented/commissioned his choreography include the Bates Dance Festival, TED, TEDx Brussels, Theater Latté Da (Minneapolis, MN), the Chicago Humanities Festival, The Minnesota Orchestra, Company C Contemporary Ballet (San Francisco, CA), and Same Planet Different World (Chicago, IL), as well as, dance programs such as the University of Illinois, Stanford University, the University of Iowa, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Kansas.

Flink completed a research collaboration with biomedical engineer David Odde at the University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study called The Moving Cell Project. In July 2012, Flink joined Odde at The Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, MA to work with scientists on a research technique called “Bodystorming” developed in the Moving Cell Project. This project also includes Flink’s collaboration with Science Magazine correspondent John Bohannon. Flink, Bohannon, and BLM created A Modest Proposal for the 2011 TEDx Brussels with over 1.5 million internet views and a presentation for TED 2012: Full Spectrum entitled The Facts of Life Talk.

A professor of dance at the University of Minnesota, Flink’s grants and awards include a 2008 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography, Twin Cities City Pages 2012 Best Choreographer, a 2008 Boomerang Award recipient, 2011 and 2012 Live Music for Dance MN grants, and a 2010 Ivey Award recipient. During much of the 1990s, he was a member of the Limón Dance Company and Creach/Koester Men Dancing.

Beyond the dance world, he holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and was a staff attorney with Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. from 2001-2004. He raises three glorious daughters with his artistic and life partner Emilie Plauché Flink.

Ashwini Ramaswamy

2012 Dancer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Ashwini Ramaswamy has studied Bharatanatyam with Ragamala’s Artistic Directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy—her mother and sister—since the age of five and has toured extensively with Ragamala, performing throughout the U.S. and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the U.K, and India. Ashwini is a 2011 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant for Dance and was recently accepted for one-on-one study with Bharatanatyam master Alarmèl Valli. Ashwini is Ragamala’s Director of Publicity and Marketing and also works as a freelance publicist for the publishing company The Penguin Group in New York City. She holds a degree in English Literature from Carleton College and is currently on the board of Arts Midwest.


Stephen Schroeder

2012 Dancer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Stephen Schroeder currently dances and has danced with Zenon Dance Company since 2001. He’s also been seen in the Twin Cities with the likes of Minnesota Dance Theater, ARENA Dances, TU Dance, the Minnesota Opera, and Nautilus Music Theater. Originally, he hails from Colorado where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since becoming a professional dancer in 1996, Stephen has taught and performed across the country and internationally. He seeks the essence of movement and strives to share it with all who’ll listen.

An avid lover of horses, good music and live performance, Stephen will attempt to combine all three in his largest endeavor yet, the raising of his daughter Paityn Joy.  

“Many thanks to all I’ve worked with throughout my years here in the Twin Cities and to those I continue to and will work with as we strive to better ourselves, our lives, and the lives of others with our artistry.  And of course the most thanks and love to Stephanie, my wife, my love, my life.”


Taryn Griggs

2012 Dancer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Taryn Griggs is a cataloger of rare forms for a handful of independent choreographers. In the Twin Cities these choreographers include Angharad Davies, Jaime Carrera, Justin Jones, Dustin Haug, Tamin Totzke, and Chris Yon.  

Taryn has been dancing with and for her husband, Chris Yon, since 2002 after meeting during the Bessie Schonberg residency at The Yard in Chilmark, Massachusetts. With Yon she has performed at The Fulton Ferry Warehouse, Broadway-Lafayette Subway Station, La Mama ETC and Annex, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dixon Place, Danspace Project, Ur, WAX, Galapagos, Dance Theater Workshop, Walker Art Center, The Southern Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl, Tangente (Montreal), Freehold Arts Center (Seattle), ODC (San Francisco), Velocity (Seattle), Philadelphia Dance Project (Philadelphia), Citedanse (Grenoble), Project Art Center (Dublin), as well as at various regional theaters in Ireland. 

Before relocating to Minneapolis, Taryn was a member of David Neumann's advanced beginner group from 2004-2009. Other performance credits include work with Liz Roche (Ireland), Sara Rudner, Susan Rethorst, Yoshiko Chuma, Karrinne Keithley, Sara Smith, Ivy Baldwin, Johannes Weiland, Anna Sperber, Mary Cochran and Sara Hook. Taryn received a Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer for her work with Chris Yon and Justin Jones in 2009. 

Taryn holds a B.F.A in dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She is the proud mom of Beatrix who was born in February 2012.  Taryn worked “The Very Unlikeliness (I'm Going to KILL You!)”, a duet with Chris that was performed at the Bryant Lake Bowl and LA Mama in 2012-2013.


Johan Amselem

2012 International Artist

McKnight International Fellow 2012 Residency June 11-30, 2012
Cie la Halte-Garderie (The Nursery)

The McKnight Fellowship program selected Paris-based choreographer/dancer Johan Amselem as the first McKnight International Choreographer. Amselem was in residence June 11-30, 2012 in Minneapolis to develop a new work entitled Bon appetit! 

Bon appetit! Work in Progress Showing
Friday, June 29, 2012 8:00 pm
JSB Tek Box, The Cowles Center

Johan worked with dancers Rachel Freeburg, Erika Hanson, Melanie Verne, Ryan Dean, Dustin Hawg, and Zachary Teska; video artist Kevin Obsatz; DJ Shannon Blowtorch; and dramaturgs Morgan Thorson and Karen Sherman. 

"We're still going on exploring the dark side of pleasure. It will be particularly about the pleasure to consume and be consumed. I think of the piece like a recipe that principal ingredients will be your wonderful bodies. As I was thinking on a twisted pleasure that nobody should understand, I came to cannibalism. So we'll work on generating into the audience the desire to eat you. Kevin will increase the hunger with the video. It will also be about promiscuity, bodies against bodies, desire and fear, excesses-we'll be on a burning dance floor stove. And for that I count on Shannon's powerful music and personality live on stage." ~Johan Amselem

Johan Amselem, a 36 year old French choreographer, was born in Toulon, French Riviera, and lives in Paris. He began to learn ballet at 6 years old at Toulon Opera House Dance School, and then modern dance at the National Conservatory of Dance in Avignon and National Center of Contemporary Dance in Angers, directed by L'Esquisse Company - Joëlle Bouvier and Régis Obadia.

He worked for five years as a dancer with Laura Scozzi (known in France and abroad for her directions and choreographies of operas) and was also her choreographic assistant on tour on Platée, an opera-ballet produced by Opéra de Paris - Palais Garnier. Amselem also works as a dancer for Da Da Dans Company with choreographer Helle Bach in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ameslem is a choreographer of many modern dance solos and duos, often performed in very atypical ways such as choreographic walks around gardens and others public spaces. He also choreographs for popular performances in theaters such as the musical Froufrou les Bains, which won the Moliere Award in 2002 for best musical. Ameslem has also choreographed and directed a musical produced by Vidy Theater in Lausanne, and participated in the first big national celebration of dance last September at the Grand Palais in Paris, organized by the famous Spanish choreographer Blanca Li.

He creates dance theater performances, participative events such as an electro couple dance ballroom with a DJ, gives workshops for professionals and amateurs, adults, teenagers, and children, and creates customized events for enterprises and municipalities.

Amselem has been working with Opera de Paris on a pedagogic program for schools. He works on raising public awareness of dance virtues. Notorious French institutions such as Atelier de Paris, directed by Carolyn Carlson, support him. His company, La Halte-Garderie (The Nursery), is sponsored by Paris City Hall.

Amselem is Mediterranean, and born of a North African Jewish family. His work is sharp and full of joy, rituals, flesh, and spirituality, along with emotions, pleasure, and greed.