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AVANI.. a handful of dust - Creative Notes
a dance theatre presentation by Anita Ratnam and ensemble


Director-Choreographer Note:
Hari Krishnan - Director
Anita Ratnam - Choreographer-performer


This is our 15th dance-theatre collaboration. Since 1997, abstracting mythology has been an integral theme in our collaborative process.  Harnessing Anita’s diverse/versatile skills set in new, experimental and original veins has been critical to my role as her director and choreographic third -eye. We are interested in creating stark, organic and potent structures to house the movement structure. Avani/Handful of Dust has propelled us for the first time in a new direction - paying tribute to a genius of world literature: Gurudev Tagore. No gods and goddesses here! His elusive poetry, lush with Indian imagery and rich in metaphors allows me to blur the parameters of traditional narrative vocabulary and explore unfamiliar dimensions in abstract movement, staging geometry, minimalist architectonics and contrarian emotional landscapes. Spanning intensive creative workshop sessions from Chennai to Connecticut we “aggressively” ideated, created, improvised, and distilled world-dance/ theatre that spoke from the heart of the Tagore in us.  Avani is our personal meditation with Gurudev at a “global Shantiniketan” in the 21st century.


Visual Designer’s Note:
REX - Stage and Visual Design


Tackling Tagore on stage is a Herculean challenge! How does one manifest/articulate his singular genius through dance while retaining his resonance in a contemporaneous vein? After much “head banging on the wall”, I chose to design a text-based environment in which to house the interpreters thus allowing them the grace to borrow the essence/energy of Tagore’s eternal words. Gurudev’s writings incarnate as the principal protagonist animating fellow travelers on a non-linear, pioneering, mystical journey to inhabit his forever pertinent, renaissance world. I hope “reading” our Avani will leave you with an aching heart akin to the one that Tagore’s poetry kindles….