CHENNAI: These days, though we are accustomed to the synthesis of thought, rarely we see a dance drama like ‘Sivamayam’, which was presented for Kartik Fine Arts at Narada Gana Sabha by Sridevi Nrithayalaya.
Led by the noted dancer Sheela Unnikrishnan, the performance brought out the efficacy of the five elements — (Panchabhootham) earth, water, agni, air, and aakasam — as the manifestation of Lord Shiva. The dance drama was presented with expressive profoundness and elegance. Undoubtedly, the dancers conveyed the essence of the jathis, lyrics and sequences with professionalism. The dance drama commenced with a beautiful composition of Sekhizhaar from Periyapuraanam in the praise of lord Shiva, who was praised for the embodiment of ‘Param thatvam’. From Parvathi and Shiva, appearing as a bride and groom on the Mount Kailash, to the divine wedding preparation, every aspect of it was appreciable.
The presentation had various episodes including the celebration of the element of Earth, characterised as a woman, emerging from Shiva, getting married to Vishnu establishing the thatva of Sankara Narayana.
What was interesting to observe was one of the colourful narrative dance sequences that praised the greatness of the source of water. The audiences were shown the various manifestation of water and the performance comprised the stories of Ganga’s descent, birth of Kaveri and the formation of River Narmada.
The next episode of this mythological production ‘Tripura Samharam’ revealed Lord Shiva’s association with the power of fire, knowledge and the third eye. The subsequent portrayals of the element of air (aakasa) presented in an alluring and abstract way which had vibrant musical and dance sequences came to an end with a charismatic Shiva thaandavam. Depicting the importance of five elements and the association they have with Lord Shiva, the combination of lively footwork, abhinaya and orchestral support, made the presentation piece a pleasure to watch.
Needless to say, Sheela Unnikrishnan gets all the credit as she brought out the episode with her strength in tradition combining intellect and aesthetics.