The dance of Shiva

The dance of Shiva

Mythology Inspired

The dance of Shiva, which is perhaps one of the most energetic compositions in Indian classical dance, has never failed to impress its viewers and even those who perform i


The renowned Irish social psychiatrist Diarmuid O’Murchu, a member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Order who has travelled the world over as a workshop leader, says, “The dance of Shiva symbolises the dancing universe itself, expressed in the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another.”
The Neemrana Music Foundation and Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra recently presented this unique dance composition, referred to as ‘The Cosmic Dance of Shiva’, at Kamani Auditorium. Renowned dancers Madhu Gopinath and Vakkom Sajeev of the Samudra Arts School, Kerala, took the audience by storm replicating Lord Shiva in an invigorating avatar.

Apart from Madhu and Vakkom, the other dancers were Deepa MS, Deepu B, Lithin Raj, Lithi Raj, Aneesh Soman and Sandeep. Music was by Pandit Ramesh Narayan. Light design and execution was by Jose Koshy with photos and documentation by Mohamed A. The entire presentation was conceived, choreographed and directed by the duo – Madhu and Vakkom.

The presentation was structured as a repertory recital with a series of vignettes describing various aspects of Shiva. Beginning with a chant, the Swayambhu, the self-created Shiva linga was described. From this emerged a sattvika (serene) form of Shiva. Sensuality in his form then emerged as his romantic mood and lasya were explored. The lasya here was not soft, but masculine and firm in its grace.

A different interpretation of his Ardhanareeswara form showing the union of the male and female followed and became the focus. Shakti here is contained within Shiva. A celebration of his different moods then followed in a Tandav piece where various bhavas - anger, joy and sensuality were explored. The composition concluded with a vigorous dance where Shiva’s form as the destroyer and as the ultimate crucible of cosmic energy was represented.

Samudra is a flagship creative dance group set up by Madhu and Vakkom. It aims at viewing our classical dance forms through a new perspective and discovering them anew. Madhu and Vakkom describe their style as creative dance theatre and not contemporary dance. They are both traditionally trained Bharatanatyam dancers who continue to perform traditional repertoires at temples in their hometown.