Classical Moves

Kuchipudi expert Shantha Ratii has set up an institute in Singapore to tap and promote homegrown talent

3/2/2016 5:23:39 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

When you meet dancer Shantha Ratii, you immediately sense her passion for dance. Despite having lived in several parts of the world such as the Middle East, London and New York, she has always remained connected to it. Like the great contemporary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, she too believes that ‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul’.

Shantha Ratii has returned to Singapore after spending nearly 25 years abroad which included a long stint in India. She is extremely happy to be back to her country of birth as this gives her a great opportunity to not only reconnect with her family, but also give back to society. And she has plunged in by taking up an active role in the dance panel of the National Arts Council, a top governing body here.

Talking about the current arts scene in Singapore, which is witnessing hectic activity, Shantha says that while government support is a good thing, it is also important for students to have passion. “Institutionalisation brings in a lot of structure and also ensures certain common standard, but you cannot forget the intangibles that you get from the guru-shishya parampara,” she said.

Below are excerpts of an exclusive interview with the dancer who talks about her creative journey.

India Se: Tell us a little about your childhood and background? Was there an atmosphere of dance and music at home?

Shantha Ratii: Growing up, home was always filled with my mother’s singing (she was trained in classical Carnatic music) and discussions on dance, music and cinema. My father was a connoisseur of the arts and was also an aesthete though he was a businessman and not an artist as he grew up listening to his sisters learning music and dance. My parents and my sister, Bama, had an abiding interest in the arts.

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