Dr.Anita Ratnam was given the Viswa Kala Bharathi Title by Bharath Kalachar on 1st December 2013 during the Twenty Seventh Margazhi Mahotsav inaugural ceremony held at T.Nagar,Chennai. Anita Ratnam is an accomplished Indian classical and contemporary dancer and choreographer. She is also seriously engaged with the imaging of Indian and Asian women via the prism of performance.
Over the years, she has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the performing arts in India and abroad as a choreographer, scholar and cultural activist. She trained in Bharatanatyam as well as Kathakali and Mohiniattam, the classical dances of Kerala. Anita Ratnam has received several awards and recognition for her work in the performing arts in India and abroad. Some of them are Nritya Choodamani in 1996 by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, Kalaimamani (1998) for Dance Research by Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Media Achievement award (1991) by National Organisation of women in New York, Mahatma Gandhi Award for Cultural Harmony, Lalithakalaratna (2003) by Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation Trust (Inc.),Mysore, 2003 and Natya Ratna (2003) by Sri Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Sabha, New Delhi.
Anita Ratnam’s many solo and group choreographies have been of a collaborative nature. She worked with Theatre Directors (Dipankar Mukherjee, Pangea World Theatre, Minneapolis),Richard Armstrong (New York University), Visual artistes (Photographer Cylla Von Tiedeman, Toronto) and Asma Menon, Painter, Chennai, Visual and Costumes designers Rex (Toronto) and Sandhya Raman (New Delhi)’Writers Joy Harjo (Albuquerque,USA),Shobita Punja (New Delhi) and Choreographers Hari Krishnan (Indance, Toronto)and Mark Taylor (Dance Alloy, USA).
Her ability to connect through storytelling, musical theatre and gestures to a wide variety of audience had enabled international assignments and diverse spaces like Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Korzo Theatre in The Hague, Substation, Singapore, Newark Museum and Peabody Essex Museum in America.
Dr.Anita Ratnam also visits academic environments like Wesleyan University, Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College, Barnard College, University of California in Irvine and University of Chicago, Fordham University, Middlebury College all located in America. In addition she has lectured at University Catholica, Santiago, Chile, University of Cape town, South Africa, Goldsmiths College and Roehampton University in London, UK and Arts University in Kyoto, Japan. In these settings Anita Ratnam interacts with students of dance, theatre, mythology and religion.
Her dissertation was on the role of women in the reconstructed performance of the original 13th century theatre ritual Kaisika Natakam in Southern Tamil Nadu.
Anita Ratnam is a widely sought speaker on women’s issues relating to South Asia and she has been repeatedly honoured and awarded for furthering the profile of Indian contemporary dance around the world. Anita Ratnam serves on several National and International Cultural Boards.
She is a voting member of the Dance Critics Alliance, USA, a member of the World Academy of Arts and Science, Italy and she is also on the Executive Board of Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, India’s apex cultural body as well as a member of the ICCR selection committee on contemporary dance for International festivals.