This is the Picture
Contemporary Dances (Short Solo)
10 mins, 1999
In collaboration with Jaan Freeman, New York-based dancer.
A highly personalised solo, "This is the Picture" evolved during rehearsal time with Jaan Freeman, a New York-based dancer, who was in Chennai during August 1999.
Selecting six gestures distinctive to Anita, was the first step to innovation. The idea then took shape from the visual framework of a picture in a frame. The dancer, in total silence, first creates the four corner frieze and then goes into the painting of the picture.
With clapping music from the well-known New York composer of the 60's and 70's - Steve Reich - "This is the Picture" has been uniquely crafted with a lot of humour and energy going into its make-up.
The work was premiered to a positive response at Chennai in March 2000 during "eX-Tradition", a showcase of Arangham's work at Alliance Francaise.
Selecting six gestures distinctive to Anita, was the first step to innovation.
"The way I stand with my hands on my hips was one, brushing my hair back (a constant gesture during rehearsals!) was another, wiping my nose (a very bad habit I must say!) with my hand, the way I shrug my shoulders when I talk, the way I crouch down looking for lost things under furniture (especially our family pet dogs!), and the imperious call for a taxi mostly when I am in New York, helped create the movements!" chuckled Anita.
"Helped by New York choreographer Jaan Freeman I completed UNRAVELLED and THIS IS THE PICTURE based on six of my personal gestures. Whenever I have performed these dances the reaction has been unanimous astonishment. How is it possible for a woman like me who has a larger-than-life image in her country to actually make fun of herself? "Laugh and the world laughs with you", my grandmother said in her own unique Tamil aphorism. By refusing to become the perfectly manicured cover girl that media in India is determined to fashion me into, I have given myself permission to fail and to continue my journey."
This is the picture was based on silence and Anita presented it elegantly and gracefully.
- V R Devika, The Hindu, Friday, April 7, 2000
An exploratory piece that dealt with Anita's own mannerisms... translated into stylized movements.
- Priya Murle, chennaionline.com, April 2000