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a million SITA-s - Response
a Neo Bharatam presentation


Responses - students' feedback to the performance, DANCE KATHA version of a million SITA-s
on May 3, 2015 at the NYU Steinhardt School, Provincetown Playhouse at 133 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village
Storytelling in the Classroom, Spring 2015



Thank you very much for your beautiful exposition of "A Million Sitas".  Your lecture-demonstration was erudite, creative and a visual treat, as you used simple but exquisite props.  You brought to life the butterfly as Manthara; the frog Mandodari and the grand princess Shoorpanakha who did not conform to the expected standards of female behavior. It was a wonderful exposition of the many aspects of a woman, with very creative interpretations.
- Nanditha Krishna, Director, The CP Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation (February 10, 2013)



"In a unique blend of word, music and movement, Anita brought to us Sita's hidden experiences and also her relationship with some characters of the Ramayana hitherto unexplored by any dancer. A MILLION SITA's was a soul searching moment for me"
- Guru Maya Rao, Natya Institute of Kathak, Bengaluru



Mythology, like language, is a living a breathing medium.
Every single character ceases to be a mythological one when performed in its multiple reinterpretations.
Every single female character in the Ramayana are the lifeline and backbone of that story. Collecting and retelling them is not just an act of performance but an attempt in discovering social reality.
Anita ratnam's production of a million sita-s was a strong attempt at rejuvenating urban mythologies and restructuring one's thoughts at the innumerable performance possibilities of india's rich mythological canvas
- Veejay Sai, Cultural writer, Bengaluru



The performance is a clarion call for dance. It shows how one can raise the bar of performance, how boundaries can be pushed and how exploring an artist's mind can yield such great results.

The visually stunning production had many outstanding elements in Lakshmi and Subhiksha Rangarajan's music, Viji Krishnan's violin, Priya Murle's narration, Kesvan's multi percussion, visual design by Rex and choreography inputs from Hari Krishnan. Each of the women portrayed - Ahalya, Surpanakha, Manthara, Sabari and Sita - raised many questions that are relevant even today.
Anita's dance made me think!
- Chitra Mahesh, Cultural Writer, voiceofartists/facebook



Dear Ms. Anita Ratnam,
I had the wonderful opportunity to view "A Million Sitas" last week in Karthik Fine Arts. The performance was really beautiful...Especially the act of Sabari was truly heart felt.. The devotion of Sabari towards Lord Rama was shown with so much purity of mind that automatically tears came out...
The act of Mantara was also very powerful...The body language of Mantara as a hunchback who loved her Bharata and was angry with Rama as He made fun of her in His childhood was remarkable...
The questions raised by Sita in Her prologue were also very thought provoking.. Especially when She asks people that if She is so auspicious then why do people hesitate to keep Her name for their daughters...Also the strength of Her character was shown very beautifully in the end when She tells that She acts out of Her Will...
Please accept my congratulations on this Truly Heartfelt and Beautiful Performance...
With Best Regards
Lakshmi Sridharan



Hello akka...
I am writing after witnessing your performance at the Bhavan. I thoroughly enjoyed your brave attempt (as always) in projecting a strong contemporary idea to our dear Chennaites & more so the conservative Mylaporeans!! It was very refreshing to see a production with bold feminist ideals. I admire the technical perfection you were able to achieve in terms of lightning design, musician set-up, most captivating props and most importantly, the way in which everything was weaved into the fabric of dance presentation.
I particularly enjoyed your portrayal of Surpanaka and the innovative way of introducing mantra in that hunch-back rhythmic section! I loved the final frame wherein you were using your two feet and their interplay-conversation to depict the underlying thoughts. I thought that was a brilliant way to express a feeling.
Thank you
Divya Kasturi
(dancer, UK)



Dear Anita,
I really, really loved it, and I am not just saying that to please you. It was so beautiful. It was a visual treat, it was a musical treat, you were amazing in all five roles and while the narrative (correct word?) was very simply written, it said so much! It was really good writing.
I want to thank you for reminding me of how wonderful creative arts can be. Yesterday's performance made me feel so alive and made me want to place those parts of my life front and centre again. Thank you for that!
I just wanted to write to you about it but although I feel like I have so much to say I wasn't sure I could find the vocabulary, so I blogged instead, and want to share that with you now: http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2010/12/million-sita-s-and-remembering-joy-of.html
Love,
Swarna Rajagopalan, Managing Trustee, The Prajnya Trust



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