Natya Theatre

Natya Dance Theatre, a Chicago, Illinois-based Indian American dance company, has received a $50,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Shown above is a photo from a past performance. (natya.com photo)

The Chicago, Illinois-based Indian American dance company, Natya Dance Theatre, is among ten Chicago arts and culture organizations selected by MacArthur Foundation for its International Connections Fund Grant, the foundation has announced.

As a part of the grant, meant “for diverse artistic exchanges,” the company will receive 50,000 for a collaboration with an Indian dance master on a new theatrical dance work combining classical and contemporary elements of Indian dance for performances in Chennai, India and Chicago.

“Collaborating with international peers helps Chicago’s cultural organizations create new work that inspires, entertains, challenges, and transports audiences,” said Chicago Commitment director Tara Magner “These artistic partnerships foster learning and build meaningful engagement that unites communities, locally and internationally.”

This year’s projects cover a range of disciplines, including contemporary dance, film, puppetry, the visual arts, and more.

Founded in 1974 by Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer Hema Rajagopalan, who is also the artistic director, Natya Dance Theatre, according to its website, “preserves and perpetuates Bharatanatyam in all its classical rigor, and moves the art form in innovative directions to foster cultural exchange through dance.”

Natya Dance Theatre is a six-time recipient of the Chicago Reader’s ‘Critic’s Choice Award’ and is a 2004 recipient of the Paul Berger Arts Entrepreneurship Award from Columbia College Chicago.

In 2003, it became the first Indian dance company to receive the prestigious Chicago Dance Award, and in 2005, it    featured in “The Chicago Dance Project,” a 13-part series produced by PBS.

The theatre also featured in a 1994 PBS production, “World Stage Chicago,” for which Rajagopalan received an Emmy award, according to the theatre’s website.

Presenting at various national and international venues, the theatre has also created works with numerous partners, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lookingglass Theater Company, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

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