Dancer, presenter, cultural entrepreneur and social activist, Chennai based Dr. Anita Ratnam conceived, edited and published two best selling editions of Narthaki (1992 & 1997) - the directory of classical Indian dances.
When NARTHAKI was published in 1992, it received a rapturous response and came to be called the ‘Bible’ of Indian dance. The second edition in 1997 was welcomed for the continuity it provided. When Narthaki went online in April 2000, the enthusiastic response exceeded expectations. At last, the leverage and consistency for the Indian dance fraternity spread all over the globe.
Technology has truly become a friend of the Arts. The net is the perfect medium to keep pace with quick and regular updates, instantly capable of recording movement, growth, new dimension and offering the ideal connection. It is only when we embrace technology with openness and pragmatism that we can grow, and our art can nurture, survive and thrive.
An essential networking tool for the dance community, Narthaki.com features:
- A comprehensive Address Bank of practitioners and teachers of Indian classical dances worldwide, dance musicians, dance festivals, dance spaces etc
- Performance listings
- Reviews & reports
- Profiles of dance legends
- Flash news
- Dance snippets
- Research papers
- Health column
Special columns by eminent writers and scholars include:
- Taalam by Leela Venkataraman
- Footloose and Fancy Free by Dr. Sunil Kothari
- Eastern Eye by Dr. Utpal K Banerjee
- Soch by Dr. Arshiya Sethi
- Dance Matters by Ashish Mohan Khokar
- Choreographing Between Two Worlds by Janaki Patrik
The highlight of Narthaki is the carefully crafted monthly editorial by Dr. Anita Ratnam and the newsletter that goes out on the first of every month.
Narthaki has also made its presence felt on social media on Facebook and Instagram.
In May 2020, in response to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, Dr Ratnam produced and presented 7 weeks of a digital dance series titled BOXED which had dancers from around the world create 2 minute videos from their locked down locations.
In November 2015, Anitha Guha’s Bharatanjali Trust awarded www.narthaki.com for its path breaking work in the world of dance.
In October 2017, Milapfest Selection Committee chose NARTHAKI.COM and Dr. Anita Ratnam as its Founder Director, for the first International Arts Award VISHWA KALA RATNA. The award celebrates and acknowledges the sterling contribution made by dynamic, well established individuals /organizations towards promoting and strengthening Indian Arts globally.
NARTHAKI received the 1st CHINMAYA NAADA BINDU PURASKAR for dance, instituted by the Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula in February 2020. The citation award recognizes organizations / individuals for their enriching contributions and globally unifying initiatives in the field of Indian dance and music. The citation reads: “NARTHAKI has been chosen for being the first of its kind digital platform, creating a unifying space for Indian dance practitioners, dance-educators, event organizers, critics, scholars, and aspiring young students, from around the globe, and for consistently providing a healthy forum for free and bold debates and dialoguing, without fear of censorship, about issues that concern dancers and the dance community. This Citation Award also offers special recognition to Anita Ratnam as Narthaki’s founder and managing editor both for creating and managing Narthaki, as well as for her other vital contributions to the dance field…”
I have watched this little, small, madness of mine take wing and become the daily habit of thousands of dance maniacs around the world. How strange and wonderful that a bee-in-my bonnet that stung me in New York twelve years ago could morph from one book, a second edition and finally into its current avatar in cyberspace!
We have relished going techno-savvy, building bridges with new friends, countries and proposals. The way this medium has taken a giant hold of our lives is quite exciting and forced us to acknowledge that we are on a common journey of creative enterprise - we can reach out and share as fast as we can get or give, we cannot be left behind.
We are honored to be able to share this site with our dance network around the globe. We hope you feel this way too.
- Dr. Anita R Ratnam
Founder and Consulting Editor
DR. ANITA RATNAM
I feel it's the responsibility of every artiste to give something back to society. We should find ways of reaching out and sharing values...
- Anita Ratnam
With a career spanning more than 4 decades and with numerous performances all over the globe, Dr.Anita Ratnam is one of India’s most recognized dance icons.
She trained in Bharatanatyam under Gurus Rajee Narayan and Adyar K Lakshman (1969 - 1978), further strengthening her dance vocabulary with a post graduate diploma at Kalakshetra, Chennai (1974 – 1976), under S Sarada and Sarada Hoffman. Trained also in the Kerala dance-theatre traditions of Mohiniattam under Guru Chinna Ammu Ammal and Kathakali under Guru Balasubramaniam Warier (1968 – 1978), Anita as a performer and choreographer, embraces both the traditional and contemporary streams of Indian dance to extend the frontiers of her art. She has even evolved her own style that she calls Neo-Bharatam.
With a Master’s in Theatre and Television from the University of New Orleans, USA (1977 – 1979), she enjoyed a successful ten year tenure from 1981- 1990 as an award winning television producer in New York. Returning to India, she created Arangham Trust (1992), a performing arts foundation in her hometown of Chennai. Anita Ratnam is the Artistic Director of Arangham Dance Theatre, and an active board member in some dance companies. She is known for her innovative choreography and many of her productions, solo and group, have left a lasting mark in the dance field.
Ratnam is a recipient of the Senior Fellowship from the Department of Culture, Government of India. Firmly rooted in the traditional perimeters of Indian dance and theatre, Ratnam remains open to international perspectives and trans-cultural collaborations with sculptors, painters, writers, directors, poets and musicians.
As a cultural entrepreneur, Ratnam launched NARTHAKI.COM, the celebrated Indian dance portal, in April 2000 after two successful print editions of the path breaking ‘Narthaki: A Directory of Classical Indian Dance’ in 1992 and 1997. Since it went online, narthaki.com has become an essential networking tool and the go-to website for the dance community.
Apart from being a much sought after writer and speaker, Ratnam has curated numerous festivals, like 9 editions of the avante garde The Other Festival (1998-2006) , 3 editions of Natya Darshan (2011-2013) for Kartik Fine Arts, two editions of Natya Kala Conference (2000 & 2001) for Krishna Gana Sabha to name a few.
Under Ratnam’s steadfast leadership, Arangham has done pioneering work in reviving Kaisiki Natakam, a tenth century performance art unique to the Thirukurungudi temple in southern Tamil Nadu. After a gap of 43 years, the first revival performance was in 1999 and the continuity goes from stregth to strength every year.
Her awards from prestigious cultural institutions for her work include the Nritya Choodamani (1996) conferred by Krishna Gana Sabha; Kalaimamani (1998) conferred by the Tamil Nadu Government; Guru Deba Prasad Award (2013), Viswa Kala Bharati (2013) conferred by Bharat Kalachar; Bharatanjali Trust’s award for Narthaki (2015); first Vishwa Kala Ratna (2017) conferred by the Milapfest, U.K for Narthaki, and first Chinmaya Naada Bindu Puraskar (2020) conferred by Chinmaya Naada Bindu for Narthaki. Anita Ratnam was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Contemporary Dance in 2017.
For more information on Anita Ratnam: www.arangham.com ; www.anitaratnam.com
A Fine Arts graduate from the Stella Maris College, Chennai, Lalitha Venkat started her career as a textile designer.
She joined Arangham in 1995 as program coordinator and manager of the Arangham Dance Troupe. She was project director of the second edition of Narthaki dance directory (1997) and became the content editor of narthaki.com once it went online.
She was Associate Editor for the books Nirmalam: The genius of S Sarada (Arangham Trust, 2005), Sankara Menon Purushottaman (Tapasya Kala Sampradaya, 2007), Krishnaveni of Kalakshetra (Krishnanjali Trust, 2011), compiled and edited handbook Did U Know for Arangham Trust (Dec 2014). She coordinated 5 editions of Natya Darshan seminar from 2011-2015.
She likes traveling, photography and painting.
Sumathi is a B.Sc., Applied Sciences graduate (Anna University) with a M.A in Public Administration (Madras University). With a multimedia training at Edit Institute, in the field of graphics & animation she started working as a web designer.
Sumathi started her own company, Saigan Connection in 1997 and is now actively involved in designing & hosting web initiatives for diverse interest groups.
She enjoys sketching, painting, creating artefacts out of papier mache, clay...
She collects and provides information on all topics relating to Indian art, culture and tradition at www.indian-heritage.org