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Daughters of the Ocean (discovering the goddess within...) - Critics Speak
A Contemporary Dance Theatre Production by Anita Ratnam & ADT
60 mins, 1999

Exceptional choreography... evocative stagecraft... Ratnam has established the fact that mastery over the original artform is essential to experiment with classical dance and choreograph a modern dance performance

- Anindita Chattopadhyay, THE STATESMAN, New Delhi, Sept. 22, 2000

"A brilliant blend of body movements combined with an excellent narrative"

- Neighbourhood Flash, New Delhi, September 17-28, 2000

"Anita's interpretation has captured the essence of Indian philosophy without incense and lamps, without bells and jewels, encapsulating an eternal truth"

- Arshiya Sethi, Expressnewsline, New Delhi, Sept. 14, 2000

"Unique and eloquent... cannot fail to strike a chord"

- Sharmishtha Dey, THE ASIAN AGE, Sept. 13, 2000

"Her wryly humorous narration of chapters from her family's and her own life was unexpected to the 500-strong audience... but the biopic element was as intentional as Ratnam's attempt to demystify classical dance in "Daughters of the Ocean".

- Methil Renuka, INDIA TODAY, Sept. 11, 2000

"The experiential work stressed the very experience itself-with images arousing emotions of silence and compassion, of love, valour, laughter and wonder"

- V R Devika, THE WEEK, Sept. 10, 2000

"Myth, memory and the matriarch made a heady combination on the stage in Anita Ratnam's gorgeously conceived mix of dance, theatre, music and words... There were few people who were not reminded of their mothers and grandmothers. There were few people who were not moved to tears."

- Geeta Doctor, ECONOMIC TIMES, Chennai, 3 Sept, 2000

"What was enchanting about the production apart from the minimalist set was the intriguingly introspective theme, explaining the essential nature of the goddesses of Hindu mythology, that bordered on the abstract."

- Purnima Ganapathy, EXPRESSWEEK, Chennai, Sept 2, 2000

"There were dynamic and subliminal representations which made the production very human, breaking the myth that contemporary modern dance is devoid of feeling and joy."

- V R Devika, THE HINDU, Chennai, Sept. 1, 2000

"Ratnam blasts away a few stereotypes. She reinvents old notions and when they pass through the layers of her artistic interpretation, achieve a contemporaneous sheen which is, perhaps the only way to keep the process of history organically evolving."

- Vani Doraisamy, NEWS TODAY, Chennai, August 31, 2000

"Daughters of an Ocean proved that costumes, jewellery and other paraphernalia are redundant if the kinetic vocabulary is strong enough to communicate the conviction of a dancer choreographer."

- Manjari Sinha, SRUTI, April 2000

In her search for a new language of dance, Anita Ratnam has created an eloquent work. Anita as a narrator tells stories, enacts key incidents, recites Sanskrit shlokas, evoking memories of shared experiences. She weaves us into her personal stories and raises them to an impersonal level, which audiences can relate to. She weaves stories surrounding the myths of the Goddess Durga, the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati, the very names of her grand mothers - typical Brahmin women, who used to dress in nine yard sarees, sport diamond nose rings, but were advanced enough to be the first women from that class to play tennis. There is imaginative use of the technique of fast forward and backward, telescoping events which surprises the audience, who is not expecting this.

The marriages that did not work, the children who are raised by a single mother, deriving strength from energies which manifest in the form of icons of Lakshmi, Saraswati & Durga, were presented with an enviable assurance. The stories in the book find a felicitous expression in dance when Anita tells the stories to her daughter who is growing up.

Drawing upon the improvisation technique Anita achieved seamless quality in passages related to water, with a suggestive painted backdrop of lotuses in bloom. But the best part of the programme was Shobita's reading of how she wrote the book with Anita narrating, which created the convergence of the book and the dance. The teamwork here was exemplary.

- Dr. Sunil Kothari Noted Scholar/Critic

Establishing a continuity in the stream of the perpetual daughters of the ocean

- The Economic Times, Chennai

In being truly creative and original, "Daughters of an Ocean" gets top honours

- The Hindu, New Delhi

To better communication with the new generation who hanker for something new

- National Herald, New Delhi

A production which moves the heart

- The Hindu, New Delhi

Ratnam's forte lies in navigating for a new, urban audience, the thin line where the connection between the past and present of a great culture is instantly seen

- The Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Anita is a brilliant raconteur who was expressive and lucid on stage

- Newstime, Weekend, Hyderabad

An enchanting story of history and reality

- www.artindia.net.in

Grandmothers, uncles, aunts, children and spouses all came alive like cameo jewels

- The Pioneer, New Delhi

"Daughters of an Ocean" proved that costumes, jewellery and other paraphernalia are redundant if the kinetic vocabulary is strong enough to communicate the conviction of a dancer choreographer. Anita proved this beyond point with her minimalistic approach.

- Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad

A welcome experience for the Hyderabad audience

- The Hindu, Hyderabad

Audience Response...

The mixing of the mythology and the personal autobiography works very well. And, of course, your well trained dancers provide the visual breaks to the lovely narration. Well done.

- Avinash Pasricha Photographer

Your show was unique and different from all others...It was unbelievable to see you dancing, telling stories and reciting shlokas all together in a show.

- Pooja R.(Bijnore,U.P) Student,who travelled to attend the show at New Delhi