Performances (Creative Events)

Shiva Tandava

Vira, Mansi; Grover, Sudha

Shiva Tandava is a superimposition of Bharatanatyam and Odissi, two of the seven ancient classical Indian dance forms. The dance is enriched with strong, energetic footwork contrasted with graceful, architectural poses that closely resemble the statues found in India’s historic temples. Dancing in the Bharatnatyam style, Mansi personifies Lord Shiva as she dances his Tandava, a vigorous dance that symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction. Shiva’s movements and expressions are dynamic, powerful, and sharp, evoking the violent quality of his nature. His anger subsides, however, when his wife, Parvati, played by Mrs. Grover, is dancing alongside with him. Through the style of Odissi, Parvati displays sinuous and graceful movements and embodies delicate facial expressions. Both Bharatanatyam and Odissi emphasize spirituality and devotion, and are characterized by elements of Nritta and Abhinaya. Nritta is pure, rhythmic, non-representational dance in which ornamental patterns are created using body movements in space and time. Abhinaya is stylized mime in which the dancer employs symbolic hand gestures and expressions to interpret a story or theme. When juxtaposed together, the viewer can recognize the mystical manifestation of fire, which is unique to Bharatanatyam, and, the lyrical embodiment of sculptural motifs, which is distinctive of Odissi. The most defining features of both art forms, however, are rooted in the shape of the dancer’s body: Bharatanatyam is characterized by a linear body form without any pronounced movement in the upper body and Odissi is characterized by the thrice-deflected posture (Tribangi), in which the body is bent at the head, torso, and knee. Ornate sarees and heavy temple jewelry are common to both the dance forms, as are elaborations of beats (taal) and melodies (raagas). In this particular piece, the tempo is crucial for creating the mood and ambience of the dance.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Dance (Barnard College)
Published Here
October 3, 2013