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Updated: May 22, 2014 14:02 IST

Celebrating woman power

CHITRA SWAMINATHAN
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Anita Ratnam.
Photo: R. Ravindran
The Hindu
Anita Ratnam. Photo: R. Ravindran

Anita Ratnam's latest production ‘Ma3ka' is a string of thoughts and reflections.

It's hard to ignore Anita Ratnam's art. Because, it operates at many levels — personal, traditional and contemporary. Because, the approach is holistic — angika, vachika and aharya get equal attention. Because, most significantly, her choreographic works throb with a rare energy, honesty and imagination.

“Each time I dance, I should have something to convey,” says the charismatic dancer as she gets ready to premiere ‘Ma3ka' this Season.

“I have the life experience, the training in the art form and the eternal desire to find my own ways to re-engage with the audience.”

Like most of Anita's previous works such as ‘Arya Tara', ‘Daughters of the Ocean', ‘Neelam', ‘Naachiyar', ‘Utpala', ‘Seven Graces' and ‘Faces', ‘Ma3ka' too celebrates the female imagery. Once again, the dancer gives a human face to goddesses by combining the sacred and the worldly.

She explores a woman's triumphs, angst, challenges and longings through the Supreme Trinity —Lakshmi, Saraswati and Meenakshi. The production also subtly touches upon the women in Anita's family — her 95-year-old grandmother, who continues to influence with her traditional wisdom, her late mother's support in the dancer's multiple creative engagements over the years and her 22-year-old daughter, who wakes her up to the promises of tomorrow.

“The strength of the spiritual and the inspiration of the mythological are undeniable but you instantly connect when the role models are real and closer. A reason why my productions are more about personal interpretations,” says the artist.

There are no storylines, just a string of thoughts and reflections. Revathy Sankkaran, with whom Anita shares a special rapport, is the narrator.

But what the multi-faceted dancer is most excited about is the young team of musicians and technicians that has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically on ‘Ma3ka.'

“Anil Srinivasan, who has given a new sound to my new dance, has yet again come up with a fascinating music score. Viji Krishnan has provided some soulful violin tracks while K.S.R. Anirudha has composed an amazing percussion piece. Then there are Subiksha Rangarajan and multi-percussionist Darbuka Shiva. Lights, sets, costume, music, make-up, hairdo… every aspect is integral and well taken care of in my productions. It is a visually-stimulated world — what appeals to the eye often appeals to the soul too.”

As for movements, Anita will draw upon her training in Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Kalaripayattu, Tai Chi and yoga. “There is enough vocabulary in my body. But I prefer to invest my contemporary works with a primal meditativeness. They need to suit my age and thought process.”

Anita takes her own time to work on the productions (‘Ma3ka' took two years) and does not worry about the outcome. She choreographs them in a manner that is personally convincing. “I strongly believe in being contemporary, but on my own terms,” she smiles.

‘Ma3ka will be presented on December 30 at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, and December 31 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

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