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Suvvadu - October 2000

(Three Steps to...)
Conceived, choreographed and directed by danseuse/choreographer, Anita Ratnam, "SUVVADU" (Three Steps to...) is specially created for young audiences and offers glimpses into the pressures that beseige young lives.

An audial and visual panorama "SUVVADU" (Three steps to...), highlights an urban sensibility, with over 10 dancers from Arangham Dance Theatre along with Chennai's high school students, who sensitively articulate the maladies of their times. The fast-paced production reflects once again the contemporary approach to all of Arangham Dance Theatre's work, with its stress on technical finesse and an astonishing versatility.

With irony and humour, "SUVVADU" (Three steps to...) captures the robotic sameness that benumbs life in the city. The city's lament seems to be, "We live in crowded cities but we live in isolation. We live in streets of subtle violence, largely ignored or sidelined. We live in atmospheres of deadened, clockwork identities - same clothes, same food, same attitudes - all must match, to matter." But the weight of conformity finally cracks. The euphoric finale reflects the joy and optimism with which the new millennium is heralded.

The production has a Tamil script with contributions by distinguished Tamil writer Va Ve Su and presented by noted television personality Revathy Sankkaran.

With special focus on Arangham's Art-and-Activism programme, the show has been visiting Chennai schools since October 2000. Plans are on to present a special show for Corporation Schools as well as visit other schools in Tamilnadu.

Concept, choreography: ANITA RATNAM





School Students: On Invitation from select schools


Music: By various artistes, selected & edited by ANITA RATNAM

Costumes: C A JOY - Joy Boutique, Chennai

Technical Director: VICTOR PAULRAJ

"Third Eye": M NATESH

Puppets: JOHN DEVARAJ, 'Janothsava', Bangalore

Programme Note
Scene 1: A guided tour through a museum. Frozen images of life, joint families and innocent love.

Scene 2: Once upon a time. Journey through fact and fable, myth and metaphor.

Scene 3: A teenager's view of everyday life. Faces of hidden violence - menace behind smiling faces, suspicions that alienate and destroy.

Scene 4: Dance class. Envy,frustration and bitterness... the killing of individual imagination and creativity.

Scene 5: Rap song . Predicaments of student life.

Scene 6: The enigma of a woman’s masquerade - now commanding and confident, now crouching and submissive, now...

Scene 7: “Little” people and “giant” influences. The Mahatma celebrated.

Scene 8: Grand finale.

Back Stage
Speaking about the appeal of production "Suvvadu", ANITA RATNAM, Artistic Director of Suvvadu, who does not perform in the work, says:
"Suvvadu (Three steps to...) had been in the making for quite a while with a skein of ideas and impressions that I gathered from dance workshops I conduct with young urban students all over the world. The challenges that the youth of today face, weave their way into this moving production that is an imprint of their emotional turmoils and their courage to tread their own path."

REVATHY SANKKARAN, Stage artiste and principal figure in the show enthused:
"Suvvadu was an absolutely enjoyable experience for me. Anita gave me complete freedom to interpret my role and I really "freaked" out!! I have been criticised for my harsh portrayal of the dance teacher but I spoke from the heart and the criticism doesn't bother me. Anita is one person who calls a spade a spade and she let me reflect the reality as I saw it!

Working with school children was also an eye opener - I had to teach them history, tell them the kind of leaders we once had as against the role models they have today! I really enjoyed building beautiful bridges over the generation gap and provoking new thoughts in their minds."

AARTI BODANI, senior dancer, Arangham Dance Theatre comments:
"Working with young student participants was a whole new approach. They had so many sensitive questions and it was our task to ensure the concept was clearly understood. Looking at things from their perspective also helped us evolve the work to captivate young audiences. This production like all Anita Akka's work, isn't something you applaud and forget about - it tends to linger in the mind and develops your own creativity too! I really felt so nice performing this work in so many schools."

Critics Speak
Visually enthralling... charming introduction by Anita Ratnam, confident and extremely humorous anchoring by Revathy Sankkaran and excellent dancing by Arangham Dance Troupe... made the production extremely enjoyable, Added to this the clever lighting spread layers of colour from the sides creating an artistic an aesthetic ambience.
- V R DEVIKA, The Hindu, Friday, October 6, 2000

Anita and her students have created one of the best compositions...the high ideals reflected in her production must be complimented...
- ANAMIKA, Dinamalar, October 15, 2000

Anita Ratnam premieres show on violence of city life
It was about the implicit violence of urban life and was meant to be a counterpoint, being premiered on Gandhi Jayanthi. And it was about the courage and ambition with which youth of today should face their tomorrows... The multifaceted Revathy Sankkaran linked the entire presentation with her vivid and lively narration, playing various roles within the show as well...
- Kutcheri Buzz.com - Posted on October 6 , 2000

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