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Shiva and Shakti, a duet

There isn’t a day in the life of a devotee, when we don’t worship our aradhya devta. Worshiping Shiva is a religious phenomena in any Hindu pantheon. Therefore it plays an important role in our dance and musical tradition. The myth and legends associated with Shiva are plenty and have been interpreted in many solo and group presentations.

In making a collaborative attempt two young dancers Rakesh Sai Babu and Priya Srinivasan, founder of Trikaya Dance Company, Delhi performed a brave production “Mahesvara” at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Delhi.

Both of them are extremely competent in their individual dance form, Bharatanatyam and Chhau and the training and exposure to Kalashetra curriculam and Mayurbhanj chhau by Shri Janmejaya Sai Babu was evident in the performance. Priya displayed her total command over her dancers, Radhika Sengupta, Paromita Dolui, Khushi Gole, Anwesha Basak and Eklavya Upadhyay in depicting the feminine aspects. The invocation piece “Bho Shambhu Swayambhu” in raag Revati, taal Adi is a traditional Sanskrit hymn by Dayanand Saraswati and the young dancers were excellent in the paired patterns they made on the hymn all the while describing the images associated with Shiva.

The English narration also helped in understanding the medium of expression. Mainly the serpents and their playfulness around their lord, the opening of third eye and its consequences, the trishul dance patterns were an electrifying sight to behold in the masterful light design by Sandeep Dutta. The subtle bharatnatyam was a graceful interlude to the robust Chhau in cyclical jumps pattern enhancing the richness of the central theme.

The damru dance and three lines of shiva from tantric idioms on body of dancers, blowing of conch shell and the chirpiness of spring in the the cyclical patterns by the Chhau dancers was spectacular. On many occasions and in the other Sanskrit hymns, Rakesh Sai Babu also did the total leg split posture to include the basic tenants of Mayurbhanj chhau.

The sky pirouette also were effortlessly performed by the young dancers and students of the company. Govind Godiyal, Pradeep Kumar, Rahul Ray, Sunil Mehra and Vinod Mehra were excellent in the raw buffalo (nandi) movements, the nandi deity associated with Shiva. “Shankara sri giri” in raag Hamsanandi by Swati Thirunal and “Tungatarange Gange” in Hamsadhwani was all very difficult raag based compositions which the dancers gave all their dramatic prowess in full vigour.

The coordination amongst the chhau dancers and their stylistic movements specially by Shri Govind Godiyal was impressive. Essentially on opening of artist’s avenues after COVID this production will go a long way.

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