Sitting by a lake in the backwaters of Kerala, amidst pink lilies and white lotuses, Isha Sharvani speaks to us about Shiv Shakti, a dance performance that took her mother Daksha Sheth, father Devissaro, brother Tao Issaro and her a full year to create from scratch.
Based on Tantric philosophy, the performance is based on the belief that when Shiv, the basic male principle, unites with Shakti, the basic female principle, the dormant feminine energy or Kundalini is awakened and it rises through the seven chakras to the crown of the head to unite with Shiva. “This consummation creates an experience of bliss.
This Kundalini Shakti, in each one of us unites us and connects us in the dance of Shiv,” says Sheth. After having travelled to London and Hong Kong, Sharvani is thrilled to perform in the city today. “Finally we are performing in Mumbai. Humein koi bulata hi nahi!” she quips. “Shiv Shakti is a deep concept. Simply put, it is all about awakening the inner energy,” says Sharvani, who hopes to take the performance to colleges across the country.
“Our ancestors founded yoga, ayurveda and even the Kama Sutra. We can be contemporary people but we are not preserving the ancient wisdom. We need to start loving our traditions,” says Sharvani, who sees Shiv Shakti as the quest to finding the centre of one’s body and mind. “It is very demanding on the artistes, as the choreography uses aerial pieces, kalaripayattu and even yoga.
We have been preparing for this high-intensity performance through deep meditation, as we need to be in that kind of zone,” says Sharvani, who anticipates the audience will be inspired by the performance. “Even if we awaken five people to follow their dream, be it dancing, meditation or even learning a martial art, we will think we have succeeded,” says Sharvani.
So what is the dance contemporary or classical? “It is neither. Movements have been choreographed to suit the piece. With five live drummers. Shiv Shakti is a high-energy performance,” she adds. The music has been composed by the father-son duo from scratch. Interestingly, the Daksha Sheth company makes its own instruments — be it a basuri, dhrupad or a drum.
“I call my brother’s style a tantric trance, as it is extremely edgy. My father, who uses instruments such as the basuri and dhrupad, is more harmonious. So the music creates different layers and moods, from abstract to thumping to melodious,” says Sharvani. Sheth, who pioneered aerial acts in India, says it is all about trial and error. “When we start work on a new piece, we are like explorers, experimenting with different ideas and forms,” says the dancer who knows Kathak, Chhau, martial art, Kalaripayattu and Mallakhamb.
On: Today, 7 pm
At: NCPA, Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, Nariman Point