Anita Menon is a director and choreographer who is recognized as one of the leading exponents of Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form originating in Southern India. Anita is the recipient of the prestigious Performing Arts Fellowship in 2014 from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the first Asian-American to receive this honor.
As the Founder and Artistic Director of the Anjali School of Dance, her classical yet inventive approach, creates an exceptional style that is distinct, meaningful and appealing to diverse audiences around the world.
Besides choreographing dances with strong women role models including Jhansi Ki Rani, Meerabhai and Chitrangadha, her passion has been to choreograph Western stories through Indian dance including Red Riding Hood, Pegasus and Wizard of Oz. Anita has directed theatrical productions that are Indian adaptations of Classical Western plays including Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot murder mystery “Death on the Nile” titled Murder on the Ganges. Her productions are known for their big dance numbers using several styles of dance including Indian folk, Ballet, HipHop, Jazz and Bollywood. A video montage of her work can be seen here.
Anita has served as a Co-Director, Choreographer and Cultural Liaison at Northwest Children's Theater MainStage productions - "The Jungle Book" (2014-2015 season - which subsequently went onto have the best ticket sales in the theater's history for that time slot), "Chitra: The Girl Prince" (2017-2018 season), and "Tenali: The Royal Trickster" (2018-2019 season). All 3 productions have gone on to receive several Portland Area Musical Theater Award and Drammy nominations and awards. Earlier this year, she received a Drammy award as Outstanding Choreographer for her work in "The Jungle Book" (2019-2020 season). She recently collaborated with Northwest Children’s Theater to create a digital production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that combined Indian Classical Dance and Western Theatrical storytelling. She has been invited yet again to collaborate to create a new production titled "Rapunzel: The Daring Dancer"
As a dancer, Anita has traveled the world delivering performances in the United States, India, France, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore. Anita strongly believes in giving back to her community and has served on several arts council boards (at the local, county and regional level). She currently serves on the Boards of Northwest Children's Theater & School and Theater for Young Audiences (TYA/USA).
After 24+ years in Portland, OR and a couple of years in Sacramento, CA, Anita & her husband have moved to Houston, TX where they hope to make it their permanent home.
Anita currently teaches Bharatanatyam to students in Oregon, California and Texas online and is looking to connect with artists and arts organizations at the national and international level.