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Dr Anita R 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 1000 performances in 27 countries. Her formal training in Bharatanatyam, 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 SEVEN GRACES, MA3KA, A MILLION SITAS and NEELAM.
Dr Ratnam 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. She is a visiting professor in several international universities in the USA. She is also a professional storyteller, specializing in epic stories. Dr Ratnam is currently the Vice President of ABHAI the Chennai based arts organisation that represents the Bharatanatyam dancers of India. In 2017, Dr Anita Ratnam is the first recipient of the International Arts Award – Vishwa Kala Ratna – by UK-based Indian Arts Development Tryst, MilapFest. The award, a first-of-its-kind has been conferred on Dr. Ratnam for her sterling contribution towards NARTHAKI.COM, a 17-year-old dance portal that has been chronicling, commenting and critiquing the many worlds of Indian dance practice, performance and presentation across the world. She has also received the Presidential Award (Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar) for Contemporary Dance for 2017.
Dr. Anita Ratnam has been a frequent panelist and speaker at universities, conference, literature and theatre festivals across India, engaging via performance, presentations, workshops and panels on women's issues, mythology, sociology, cultural studies and entrepreneurship. She has a PhD in Women's Studies from Mother Teresa University, and studied Dance History at Kalakshetra. She has been a visiting professor and artiste at Wesleyan University, University of California Irvine, Barnard College, Fordham University in the USA and Hope Liverpool University in the UK.