“Valid presence of contemporary Indian??? “We dont call your work contemporary. You do!!”

Featured below are excerpts from KSL’s response to Ms. Anita Ratnam’s recent foreword on Narthaki. I am attaching the original document for those of you who dont shy away from anything more than a 250 word limit write up. You must remember that the flow and voice of this original opinion piece is definitely distorted if it is not read in full.

…Anita Ratnam, Mallika Sarabhai, Alarmel Valli are all very strong personalities. People of different factions might debate on whether or not they can dance well, but it is unequivocally established that they their thoughts are magnets enough to attract attention. Their voice is heard. People come to listen to them although everyone might leave on a different note painted with personal tastes on what they have to say. Among them, Anita is a political (not Lok Sabha political but cultutal political), cultural (not the valentine day opposing fanatic culture but some futuristic Indian culture she has in mind) and philosophical powerhouse in terms of stature and volume….

….Anita has a youtube channel which is curiously titled ARtheclassiccist. Now when you call yourself the culture warrior and have a voice powerful enough to bring people together, it bothers me that her viewpoint has taken off in directions which is ambiguous and in its naked form, undermining of classical traditional art forms at the cost of contemporary. This constant tone of hopelessness is not what I expected of someone like Anita who has just been selected to work in SNA along with Ms. Leela Samson…..

….(AR) being a classical ambassador with an independent mind to someone who constantly dampens the spirit of traditional dancers at the cost of rallying for contemporary dance is almost as sad as shobana’s descent from the shinig throne of a vazhuvoor artist with exceptional grasp of tala to dancing the ceremonial-sake ‘semi-classical’ filmy opening numbers at award functions to be followed with inferior bollywood and contemporary dance artists following a definitely incompetent and hence unattractive actress on stage.  Now, if I were to judge which fall is worse, someone who is still sticking close to wearing the classical costume but dancing to inferior music and ideas, yet not touting it to be something extraordinary or someone who puts up blue traingles on stage and dresses like a Buddhist monk and dances incoherently with a mumble jumble music being played on a stool and goes to great length to explain the significance of what she is doing on stage….

….What bothers me ..(is that )… She is a opinionated and discerning person. What she thinks has a huge impact on the field. Classical and contemporary. By using the language that she has, she is harming the formative energy in classical dance style. Her thought process has repeatedly made clear that she sees no future with Indian Classical. And here I was thinking now that she is with Leela Samson, something productive was about to happen. Looks like she might steer things less towards Classical arts only because she has a particular sight in mind about corporate earning middle class indulging in the Indian arts. I have great respect for her initiative and independent spirit but I cannot disagree more on her approach to her new infatuation with contemporary. The music is ubiquitous. The gestures meaningless. And People of the east have the patience of a fly for something that doesn’t guarantee them a place in the heaven. The biggest plus point of religion is that it is simple. Abstract thoughts don’t always translate on stage. The more convoluted your ‘contemporary’ message is, the weirder it will look on stage….

….Encourage them(contemporary dancers) all you need but dont put down classical. I found the foreword mildly hurtful because she is encouraging stereotypical indifference to classical indian and holding contemporary as a beacon of self expression of the current generation. What do you think that does to anyone who comes onto narthaki for a taste of Indian dance scenario?…


Read the full article in .docx format- to anita (1)


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