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MESSAGE AND MOVEMENTS Anita Ratnam
MESSAGE AND MOVEMENTS Anita Ratnam

Anita Ratnam's "Seven Graces" focussed on the different faces of woman

Soft velvet sleeves, a collar with animal prints and bright pants the costume was a riot of colour. And one wouldn't usually associate it with dance. But Bharatanatyam dancer Anita Ratnam chose it to depict women and the goddess Tara in "Seven Graces", which she performed in Puducherry recently. "When I work on a thematic production, I take care of every little detail. The number `seven' has a different meaning in different cultures. According to numerology, it is a number that gives completeness. That's why we have the seven seas, the seven steps, the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven notes in music, the saptarishis... you can go on listing everything that is seven in number," said Anita. As for the costume, she said, "I was working against the idea of symmetry and harmony - something that we seek in our lives, which are increasingly becoming imbalanced. And I wanted the costume to reflect this." Talking about the theme of the production, she said, "Usually, people portray the goddess with a lovely face, wearing silk garments and adorned with gold jewellery. But I wanted to show that behind the beautiful exterior is a tough woman ready to avenge any wrong. That is why the animal print." There are no words, but there is a lot of movement. It's only the music that changes with the mood. "The essence of the work is portrayed more through emotions rather than dance steps. In the movements too you can feel the silence." Anita, who likes to portray worship of the goddess and Indian feminism in her works, has drawn inspiration from Bharatanatyam, Chinese Wu-Shu martial arts, modern dance, Tibetan Buddhist liturgical dance and Zen Buddhism to choreograph her production. "I wanted to create a universal work. I didn't want to give it a Sanskrit title, as I wanted to address the audience everywhere."DEEPA H RAMAKRISHNAN

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