Contemporary Dances (Short Solo)
10 mins, 1999
The raging questions in Anita's articles entitled "The Dancer's Dichotomy" and "The Body of the Dancer in Contemporary Performance" the elaborate decorativeness of Bharatanatyam with its stress on beauty, symmetry and harmony, led Anita to the bold statement of "Unravelled".
Undoing the traditional image of sound and movement, "Unravelled" works with no definite score, improvising each presentation with self-created music of a miscellany of sounds, including the distinctive yoddelling of a Scottish singer who Anita met at Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India.
The premiere of the work at Chennai in March 2000 during "eX-Tradition", a showcase of Arangham's work at Alliance Francaise, was done with an extremely humorous, live score of "sounds" by Chennai artiste Kalarani. The effect was dramatic and brought the house down!
"Where does life end and art begin? Who am I in my dance? What is my true personality? How do I accomodate my life in my imagination which can be wider and wilder than reality?" mused Anita. "I donít feel beautiful all the time. In fact, some days, I wake up feeling really ugly!!"
The blurring of lines can uncover harsh, jagged contours, shattering the myths and perceived notions of what is or should be appealing.
"UNRAVELLED was the result of my inner rebellion against beauty, symmetry and harmony. For years I had been hammered into believing that these were the three qualities most important to be a successful dancer. For years my inner revolt had been against these three tyrannical pillars. Fuelled by the image of actress Jodie Foster in the movie NELL where she plays a dysfunctional woman locked up for years in solitude, the choreography used the images of teteering on the edge of a precipice, of nightmares, of a psychological limp and sexual bravado. All provocative impulses normally not attempted by Indian dancers.
Helped by New York choreographer Jaan Freeman I completed UNRAVELLED and another dance called Unravelled 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."
What was notable was that the "singer" for a dance was as exciting to watch as the dancer herself!
- Priya Murle - chennaionline.com, April 2000
"Unravelled" with live music was another audience favourite.
- Kutcheri Buzz - April 2000
"Unravelled" - A contemporary movement... with articulation of sounds brought the house down.
- V R Devika, The Hindu, Friday, April 7, 2000