Chitra Vairavan


Chitra Vairavan is an artist, seeker and contemporary indian dancer/choreographer based in Mni Sota Makoce/Minnesota. She is immersed in Tamil/Thamizh culture and progressive politics in the U.S. Her embodied practice and experimental process is rooted in deep listening, spatial observation, freedoms, poetry, vulnerability and ancestral memory. She chooses to gesture towards and embody within the practice of liberation and decolonization in creative and collaborative choices. Vairavan dances to heal and creates dance to help heal others. The aesthetic of her movement is through both yoga and contemporary Indian dance forms – a mixture of training in Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Yorchha™.

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Vairavan was born in Milwaukee, WI (on occupied Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk and Menominee land) and community-grown as an artist and cultural activist in Minneapolis, MN (on occupied Dakota land). She has been dancing since the age of two and her parents instilled in her the importance of her cultural and linguistic roots as a Tamil/Thamizh person from birth. She comes from a family of Thamizh educators, writers and poets. Art was a matter of survival in the American landscape from there. Her earlier dance teachers included Meena Baskaran and Hema Rajagopalan.

In 2004, Vairavan met her contemporary dance mentor, Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, and a fierce group of women artists of color, through which she became a founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre in her undergraduate years and beyond. She completed 14 seasons with the company from 2004-2015, earning her much recognition as an artist and principal dancer for many years. Vairavan would later explore experimental dance work further as a dance collaborator with Pramila Vasudevan’s Aniccha Arts since 2007.

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