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a dance theatre solo by Anita Ratnam

From awesome to ferocious, beautiful, graceful and powerful – all at once.
She is the truth. Reality.
She is the hand that gives, guides, nourishes, protects, reprimands, forgives and sustains.
She is radiance, showering unconditional love…
She is everything, and no one is separate from her.
She is the God Mother Trinity Supreme.

Saraswati - Knowledge Mother. Calling on us to awaken in wisdom, with the magic of Her genteel Veena song

Lakshmi - Prosperity Mother. Her Lotus feet walking through our lives, leave behind Foot Prints of Abundance.

Meenakshi - Warrior Mother. Divine Lioness, with Her battle-ready Trishul defends to protect and saves.

She is energy, exuberant in play. The joy of experience passed on generously from within.
She is a confluence, a woman, owning her powers.
She is Matrika.
Earth Mother, three times and more…

“I dedicate Ma3ka to all Earth mothers past, present and future.
With immense gratitude and love, I welcome and channel three, who hold a precious place in my heart, my wise grandmother Saraswati; my generous mother Leela and my fierce daughter Aryambika.”
- Anita Ratnam

Matrika-the goddess that lives within us all
The genesis of the idea for MA3KA came from Anita. She was seriously interrogating the matrix of India’s primary Goddess triad- Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Initially it was to be a contemporary/ traditional musical, choreographic exploration of the Divine Feminine, loosely tying into Anita’s previous works on Goddess mythology, however with major rites-of-passage life experiences in her recent years she felt driven to morph MA3KA into a parallel non-linear storyboard of shifts in personal dynamics those experiences have wrought personally with, within and without her being. Hence, MA3KA in her new avatar will be a fluid, experimental, non-linear, abstract, modern, multi-media dance theatre solo-work, layered on a rich tapestry of warm, nostalgic/familiar traditional text and lyric based contemporary Karnatik music compositions, essentially creating a synergistic marriage of the past, present and future.

Matrika- A woman’s search for herself
Assimilation allows for new directions.
Matrika , the divine/human matrix is a unique interpretation of a woman as the embodiment of the Goddess Triad and their personalities weaving her into a harmony of
power, grace and thought. Anita’s grandmother, mother and daughter have been prime directives for styling a non-linear narrative in ma3ka. She fuses vibrant theatre with traditional and contemporary dance forms. The work incorporates trans-cultural collaborations with dancers, choreographers, painters, writers, directors, poets, musicians and designers, giving it a global aesthetic.

Matrika marks the culmination of Anita’s quest for a woman’s individuality, that started with “Arya Tara” – reconciling with our inner goddess. Then came “Daughters of the Ocean” – translating goddess myths into modern metaphors; “Naachiyar” - exploring the life of the 9th century female mystic Andal; “Utpala” – reflecting the metaphors of the lotus in three civilizations; “Seven Graces” – abstracting 23 incarnation of goddess Tara; “Neelam” - drowning in the bliss of LakshmiNarayana and “Faces” – looking into the eyes of many women in the one. All of these works have been Anita’s personal odes to the feminine persona.

With Ma3ka Anita mines the deepest she has, within her own personal lived life experiences - the travels, the travails and triumphs to share her most vulnerable self with her audience.

True grit, grime and glory.

“All human experience is impure, contaminated by personal ego and choices... and so it is very difficult for me to say that MA3KA is something brand new and a complete departure from my other works.. if anything, it is a catharsis, a purging of the unnecessary, a return to the essence of innocence, to the root of what it means to be a Woman- granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, and a mother - ferocious, protective, nurturing, mischievous and divinely human.”
- Anita Ratnam

“MA3KA will be a personal artistic milestone in both of our careers.
There is joy, honor, and the promise of adventure when embarking on our 10th collaboration with the original, unique, gutsy, visionary Anita Ratnam.

While the choreographic métier will still retain the identifiable vernaculars of Bharatanatyam’s various strains we seek to legitimately borrow from, while erasing and /or pushing the borders of India’s other rich dance genres. This complex Neo- Bharatam vocabulary will be infected/ inflected with western contemporary dance movement accents as well to further incorporate Anita’s truly cosmopolitan hybrid persona while reading the Goddess Feminine in a more relevant original vein. The kinetic solo will challenge the parameters of traditional narratives and allow us to explore new dimensions showcasing its geometry and architectonics of movement. The aesthetic of the visual design will be an intentionally unfamiliar marked departure from the bane of the banal to palpably, powerfully anchor the dance theatre solo-work.(One of the many true pleasures of collaborating with Anita is the security of knowing that we can, in an artistic sense, jump off a cliff, often without a parachute and still be almost certain the fall will never kill us, it would either be a providential safe landing or only slightly bruising!) Anita genuinely relishes the dangers of swimming in untested, shark infested waters. She is one of those rare Indian dance icons that will forsake the security of the expected beautiful luscious silk costume, sparkling gold/diamond jewellery, impeccably idealised hair and make-up aesthetics to foray into stark and de-constructed alternative options instead, if it would underscore the intention of the work.

MA3KA is a new destination in our 11 year journey with Anita in a continuing collaborative adventure. As a team, we seek to question and reassess our shared interests in Indian Goddess worship, feminist theory, and womanhood. We dissect the representations of the female body/mind/spirit in the evolutionary schema of East and West binaries. Together we have created original works of performance art that speak to Anita’s pioneering spirit and quest to archive a body of repertoire investigating the life stories/songs and poems of Indian women dance artists who while being constantly called on to channel The Divine Goddess Feminine from without, also reserve and practice the right to choose to walk away from this “rock of Sisyphus” and unchain the feminine “goddess” within instead, warts and all…”
- Hari Krishnan, Direction and Rex, Visual Design

“Initially when she wanted me to write the lyrics and to sing for MA3KA, I was thinking, about Swetha, Padma and Shyama as The Divine Trio and did accordingly. But Anita merged all the three into MA3KA!!The amalgamation is amazing.

When I start researching for her projects either I would find the right words or I would find a rare manuscript from which I would be able to select whatever Anita had asked for!”
- Revathy Sankkaran, Mentor and Guide

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