She was always the unhappy girlfriend or wife. That was not the kind of woman I wanted to be. I had left an unhappy marriage with two very young children to remake my own life. I did not want to revert to some sort of “half-woman” in my art.
Celebrating World Dance Day, dancer and arts entrepreneur Anita Ratnam talks about completing 30 glorious years of NARTHAKI – first its kind directory of the Indian Dance Community through dialogue and film at 4pm on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 at CD Deshmukh Auditorium, IIC, 40 Lodi Estate, New Delhi.
NARTHAKI is a classic example of how necessity leads to invention. Since the inception of this unique directory way back in 1990, Narthaki has evolved and transformed into becoming purely relevant to the new world. Starting as a physical book released in 1992 with a thousand entries of entities related to the field of dance in India, moving onto adding a two thousand more in 1997 and finally culminating into its dot com version in 2000, www.Narthaki.com has eventually become the single largest and most comprehensive source of all information about Indian dance and dancers.
In March 2020 when the pandemic hit the world NARTHAKI levelled up as a top notch producer of virtual dance fests on digital platforms setting up standards for production details via its large presence on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. To name a few it propelled proprieties like BOXED (dancers creating in isolation), ANDAL’S GARDEN (a celebration of female Tamil mystic poet), TAALAM TALKIES (the connection between South Indian cinema and Bharatanatyam), A-NIDRA (all night marker for Shivaratri) and EPIC WOMEN (a series of mentored commissions for dancers across genres). The various interviews, web talks and discussions on lighting and costume design for dance, a spotlight on folk and hereditary performers were continued throughout the pandemic.
Contributing profoundly to her beloved domain of arts and performing arts Dr. Anita Ratnam has always been on the forefront to propagate, nurture and protect the art. For creating something so distinctive she has been awarded repeatedly by organisations in India and overseas. MILAPFEST in the UK cited NARTHAKI.COM for its stellar contribution in uniting dancers. The New York Public Library has marked the site as its GO-TO source for all things connected with Indian dance.
Utterly satisfied and overwhelmed with the completion of 30 years of something that started as journaling records to a concept that is one of the most coveted hubs to find the whereabouts of dancers and their fraternity, Ratnam states, ‘It is unreal how an endeavor to pin down a celebrated dance artiste of her times -Yamini Krishnamurti – by American Broadcasting Company could lead to making of a gigantic spring that splashes out knowledge about the dance universe when and where needed! I am enthralled to learn that I have been able to be a link to connect a bit of dance to its connoisseurs. It is my brainchild for sure, but how universal it is now is where I pay my gratitude to those who worship dance and hold it dear to their lives and to those who find peace in this surreal world of calmness and peace.’
30 years since its maiden launch as a phone directory, NARTHAKI is now a global brand, commanding respect from media and the arts public. From a phone book to an online dance resource and now a cutting edge dance producer and festival curator for digital media, NARTHAKI is poised to reinvent itself again for a new world order.