Anita Ratnam

Anita Ratnam, based in Chennai (Madras), India, is highly respected as a performer, writer, speaker and arts entrepreneur and culture mentor. She has been described as an “intersectionist”, whose work weaves the many disciplines of dance, theatre, spoken word, ritual, archaeology, dramaturgy and women’s issues. For over 40 years, her distinguished career has witnessed over 1300 performances in 37 countries. Her formal training in Bharata Natyam, Mohiniattam, and Kathakali has given Dr.Ratnam a distinctive movement vocabulary that she has named Neo Bharatam – a contemporary Indian kinetic situated on a mature body. Using voice, singing, Vedic hymns, drumming, contemporary mythology and devised movements, her acclaimed choreographies include Gajaanana, Daughters of the Ocean, Seven Graces, Ma3ka, A Million Sitas, Neelam, Stone and Naachiyar Next. She was a founding board member of the Balasaraswati School of Music and Dance from 1985 to 1989 and of Lotus Music and Dance from 1989 to 1994. Anita served as a member of the Executive Board of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s largest apex body for the performing arts, and the ICCR, India’s Government panel to select performers for international tours, a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a voting member of the Dance Critics Association, USA. A PhD in Women’s Studies, Anita was awarded the Presidential Medal in 2016 for her contribution to Contemprarary Dance in India. She has served as a distinguished member of several Cultural Committees and convened numerous arts festivals and performance conclaves.

In 2016 she also received the first International Arts Award – Vishwa Kala Ratna – by UK-based Indian Arts Development Tryst, MilapFest. The award, was conferred on Anita for her sterling contribution towards NARTHAKI.COM, a 19-year-old dance portal that has been chronicling, commenting and critiquing the many worlds of Indian dance practice, performance and presentation across the world.