Much of Gitanjali’s work has developed out of her collaborations with artists from other disciplines, most notably video/installation artist Ray Langenbach, playwright Rani Moorthy, poet Judith Kroll, sculptor Valsan Kolleri, installation artist/painter M. Natesh. Her work has incorporated folk and ritual forms of dance-theatre and martial art forms of South India, along with bharata natyam.
“What She Said” combined dance, music and dialogue to conform to the Natya Sastra view of theatre. Gitanjali wrote the script using the folk stories of India collected by A.K. Ramanujan, along with his translations of sangam poetry, and choreographed and performed the dance.
Bertolt Brecht’s ballet, “The Seven Deadly Sins of the Petty Bourgeoisie” with music by Kurt Weil, was adapted for performance in India with a saxophonist and a soprano performing the songs written for Annie, and Indian musicians performing the music for ‘the family’, translated into Tamil and set to carnatic and folk ragas. Tamil film song sequences counterpoint each Brecht ‘sin’ through M. Natesh’s installation of seven suspended television sets. Gitanjali choreographed and performed with two dancers and two actors, using bharata natyam and folk forms performed in a cabaret-like setting.
“The Beheaded” is meant to be seen with the reading of Judith Kroll’s revealing essay of the same name. Gitanjali dances under and in Ray Langenbach’s exquisite hanging installation of 169 brass temple bells and video, which uses Tamil mythological movies of the Hindu gods and goddesses who undergo beheading: Ganesa, Chinnamasta, Daksha.
Gitanjali created “The Incongruity of Counterparts” in collaboration with the virtual being, Lan Gen Bah, whose image on the screen questions ethnic identity and gender. Gitanjali choreographed and performed this piece with one bharata natyam dancer and one Chinese dancer.
In “Kama Sutra – Embrace” a sari is used to suggest the entanglement of lovers.
Three dancers express the mysteries of “Night”: loneliness, dreams, obsession and sexual fantasy. Gitanjali dances with Valsan Kolleri’s massive granite and rope sculpture and with two other dancers wearing his latex ‘breastplates’.