(Artistic Director, Arangham Dance Theatre), as dancer, choreographer,
cultural commentator, actor-producer and publisher, reinforces an exciting
and vigorous vocabulary in her art and life.
Her foundational training
is in Bharatanatyam in the Kalakshetra style, supplemented by the Kerala
traditions of Kathakali and Mohiniattam. Ratnam holds a Master's degree
in Theatre and Television from the University of New Orleans. After
10 years as a New York television producer (1980-90) including a weekly
talk show, the highly acclaimed "Festival of India" television series,
and two Emmy nominations, she returned to India.
Based in Chennai, she
founded Arangham Trust
in 1992, a foundation for
the promotion and international collaboration of dance and allied performance
disciplines. She co-founded and directed The
(1998 - 2006) - India's only annual contemporary arts festival.
In 2000 she created www.narthaki.com
the award-winning Indian dance portal with over 300,000 hits each month.
for the arts, Ratnam's artistic ventures bear witness to her belief in
collaboration. Personal choreographic interests focus on developing a very
specific Asian cultural aesthetic. She has developed a unique style of
performance, which uses voice, martial arts, dance and chanting.
American poet Joy Harjo, she created A
Map to the Next World
(1997); with Pangea World Theatre in Minneapolis,
with Indian writer Shobita Punja, Daughters
of the Ocean
(1999) which toured India to much acclaim and with Mark
Taylor of Dance Alloy, Pittsburgh, USA, Dust
(2001). She was commissioned by Toronto's Lata Pada to create a company
race, identity and transcultural experience. In 2005 she collaborated with
Canada-based Hari Krishnan and diverse talent from USA and India to create
Seven Graces... the many hues of Goddess Tara
, on the Buddhist
Goddess Tara. She is also collaborating with Canadian dance artist Peter
Chin on another solo choreography Vortext in 2006.
activist, an articulate advocate for women's rights and a compelling speaker,
Ratnam addresses diverse forums and constantly innovates new roles for
community participation in the arts. A voting member of the Dance Critics
Assocation (USA), she has been invited to chair seminars and dance conferences
around the world. In 2002, she was invited as an observer to the Post Modern
Dance Festival at Leipzig, Germany and once again to teach at the Global
Dance Forum in Dusseldorf.
One of India's
most celebrated dance icons, she uses the arts as a proactive tool for
change and visits many educational institutions around India and abroad
to conduct contact workshops, write, speak and share her innovative ideas
on dance and 'physical theatre'.
Anita holds a PhD in Women's Studies and is currently engaged in a
retelling of the ancient epic RAMAYANA from a feminist perspective.