First published in Time Out Mumbai, Issue 10.18.
In a freewheeling chat with Time Out, choreographer Anita Ratnam expounds on new twists in dance
Soaked in Bollywood and business, Mumbai is the prodigal child on the Indian dance scene. However, it has a voluble supporter in Anita Ratnam, who is in the city with her performance, Circles of Love, this fortnight. “Sometimes, it is good to be away from the artistic ‘mainstream’. Artists from Bombay bring something different to their work,” she said, speaking with Time Out after a heady night of theatre in New York.
At the Mudra Dance Festival, where Ratnam performs this fortnight, motherhood is the core theme. On learning that other artists at the Mudra fest were dancing with their daughters, Ratnam was momentarily flummoxed, because her daughter “ran away from dance with a passion”. Eventually, she chose selected pieces choreographed over the course of her long career, mining ancient mythology and the voices of modern-day women across the world to create an evening-length work that she will perform in collaboration with writer Malavika Sangghvi. Blending learnt dance archetypes with personal reminiscence, the performance uses the structure of a bharatanatyam kautuvam, a composition in praise of a particular deity. For Ratnam, the deities are the strongwilled women in her family – her grandmother, her mother, and now, her daughter.