Shiva-Shakti enacted in Odissi style

Fine Performance

After a long time, Delhiites got a chance to witness an ecstatic show by Sharon Lowen, an artiste specialising in three forms – Odissi, Chhau and Manipuri.

A US national, who has been living in India for over three decades, Sharon gave a four-piece Odissi performance to celebrate 25 years of Asha, an NGO.

She first presented Devi Stuti Mangalacharan followed by Kumara Sambhavanam - a Sanskrit poem penned by Kalidas, followed by Lalita Lavanga Lata, a charming ashtapadi from Kavi Jayadeva’s 12th century Gita Govind which describes the beauty of springtime and finally Moksha, a vibrant dance which culminated the evening’s performance.

Mangalcharan opened with iconographic images of the Goddess and bhoomi pranam,
obeisance to mother earth and continued with four Pauranic legends, symbolising the Goddess’ qualities. Sharon enacts Gauri immolating herself at her father’s blind refusal to appreciate her husband, Lord Shiva and invite him to his ritual yagna; followed by pralaya – dissolution of the universe and the creation and the Shiva-Shakti union. 

Kumara Sambhavanam celebrates the wedding night and first morning of Lord Shiva and his consort. Shiva reclines as Parvati glances at him with curiosity and mischief. He slowly opens his eyes and she is dazzled as though by lightning. Covering Shiva's eyes with her hands in shyness, Parvati sees his third eye open and is bewildered by the futility of
effort to hide her shyness.

Next morning, Parvati is concerned that her friends will arrive and tease her about the telltale signs of love and so, she checks herself in her mirror. When Shiva is reflected, she fails to answer his silent questions because of her shyness.

This beautiful enactment from the eminent dancer left everyone present craving for more. Sharon was accompanied by Ramchandra Sahoo on vocal, Prafulla Mangaraj on  pakhawaj, Dheeraj Pan­dey on flute and Vishwanath Mangaraj on manjiras.

Talking to Metrolife, Sharon explained that her performance was related to Devi shakti and the subject of women empowerment, something which impacts everybody at every level. “I deliberately chose it because I wanted to present something which is relevant now. The subject of women empowerment and safety affects everybody.

The concept of Shiva is also of equality as Shiva is also empowered by Shakti,” says Sharon, who  loves performing at temple festivals like Khajuraho and Konark, under an open sky and in the majestic ambience of historic architecture.

Sharon, who has dedicated her life to presenting and promoting excellence in Indian performing arts, likes to go on stage only when she is asked to and that is why she has been out of the cultural circuit of Delhi for a long time. “Last time I think, I performed in July. I did not perform in Delhi because nobody asked me to. I am quite content,” says Sharon, who came to India in 1973 and has learned Odissi, from the renowned, the late Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra.

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