Productions

Sati: Shiva's Beloved

The Sarvavidya Dance Ensemble (SDE) in collaboration with Manesh Maharaj 

Date: 9 and 10 November 2018

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: The Fringe at Joburg Theatre

Tickets: R130 per person

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Sati: Shiva’s Beloved, the latest production by Sarvavidya Natyaalaya is a collaborative project between the Sarvavidya Dance Ensemble (SDE) and Manesh Maharaj - artistic director and founder of Kala Darshan Institute of Classical Music and Dance. The aim of this production is two fold as it delves into the collaborative possibilities of two different classical Indian dance styles in South Africa i.e. Bharatanatyam and Kathak, and it is a narrative exploration of the Hindu mythological story of Sati and Shiva.

Through the collaboration we have aimed to find common ground between the two styles, which historically are tied to the South and North of India respectively (which means both a difference in stylisation as well as music), to create fluidity in choreography and movement, eventually leading to an experience of dance that is not fixed in either genre.

The narrative unpacks the love story of the characters Sati (who is believed to be an earthly incarnation of the all powerful feminine energy – Adi Parashakti) and her male counterpart Shiva (who is most often understood to be the detached and destructive masculine principle of the universe). The story, as told through this production, plays between the mythological and real, the feminine and masculine, and the spiritual and human. The humanising of these characters aims to make them more relatable and also bring the mythological to the present. Their story begins with the birth of Sati and unfolds into a journey of love, loss, and eventual destruction. The underlying thread plays between the human and the spiritual. The coexistence and equilibrium of the feminine and masculine principles or Shakti and Shiva is shown through these characters who are equally strong in mind and as dancers – dance becomes metaphoric of their immersion in each other. They are believed to be in a state of constant union and equilibrium, either as lovers or as energies that merge to become one being which is half female and half male – where one cannot exist without the other.

Join us for this storytelling through dance of Shiva and his beloved named Sati.

For tickets contact 0861 670 670 or visit www.joburgtheatre.com or Webtickets

For further information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 082 491 4376.

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SHrEe: I am Shakti

Date: 15 September 2018

Time: 5:30 for 6:00pm

Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia

Tickets: R100 per person

Following our successful 2017 production titled SHrEe: I am more than just my body, Sarvavidya Natyaalaya brings to you the second edition in this explorative series, titled SHrEe: I am Shakti. This production moves beyond viewing women as the survivor, the bride, the wife and the widow, and instead recognises her as Shakti – the primordial cosmic energy. The uninhibited power that is the embodiment of creation, transformation and liberation in all women and men.

The first iteration of SHrEe in 2017, challenged the core of our societal fabric and exposed the raw truth of patriarchy in our communities that is seen to stem from repressive ‘cultural’ norms[1]. Using dance, we aimed to create a space where women were able to claim back their emotional, physical and spiritual power, which then culminated in Her finding a state of equilibrium and equality. In this second edition, SHrEe: I am Shakti, we use this “state of equilibrium” as the catalyst from which we further unpack understandings of Shakti. We bring to life Shakti as the divine Mother, who is the strength and power that governs all movement, thought and action, She who activates the inert Shiva, or masculine principle. We then shift our focus to how She as Shakti is embodied in the daily experiences of contemporary womanhood. Her strength will be seen through the defiant activism in the form of Valliamma[2], in challenging the false expectations of beauty through issues of colourism, through rewriting the space of domestication as the centre of strength and power, and confronting the difficult generational conversations about what is expected of a woman in contemporary society. Shakti is the one who is nurturing and is an epithet of all-encompassing love – but simultaneously collapses all things into darkness, in which everything is believed to disappear at the desolation of time.

SHrEe: I am Shakti, aims to both challenge pre-conceived ideas and thoughts about womanhood and also reveal how the notion of Shakti is embodied within all human beings as an empowered source of life and strength.

As with all our annual productions, the young and dynamic dancers of SVN will perform in this production. We envision this to be a powerful movement of young girls and women, who use dance as a form of protest and activism that aims to highlight and challenge the inequality and injustice of our society. Join us for SHrEe: I am Shakti, which gives rise to the untold stories, the unchallenged histories, and the uncomfortable conversations.

We would like to thank the City of Johannesburg, Community Development Department for the support and sponsorship of this project.

For further information and tickets, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 082 491 4376. Tickets can be purchased at any of our dance venues – Benoni, Roshnee and Lenasia or at the door.

 

 


[1] Some of which are particular to South African ‘Indian’ cultures and communities.

[2] A child activist born in Johannesburg in 1898, who fought the injustices of the racist and oppressive systems that many lived under in South Africa.

 


SHrEe: I am more than just my body

Date: 8 October 2017

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia

Tickets: R100 pp

SHrEe, the latest production by Sarvavidya Natyaalaya (SVN) is an unravelling and narrative thread of current social issues faced by women in contemporary South Africa. With the sub-theme of I am more than just my body, SHrEe takes its audience back to the time of the Mahabharata and the infamous moment of the disrobing of Draupadi. Threading into this narrative it moves to the present moment, and uses spoken word and contemporary dance movement to retell stories of violence and violation against women. The production slowly unpacks the various emotional stages that women, who have experienced some form of violation or abuse, go through. SHrEe aims to reveal the primal force within these women, the goddess in various stages of being, in various stages of womanhood. From the ferocious rage of the violated woman (Kali), to collective teaching, learning and fighting, where words and voice are weapons (Saraswati), to the ironies of how society treats women, whether married or widowed (Lakshmi) and finally it moves to the claiming back of space, of goddess/woman in a state of equilibrium, who is neither less nor greater than her male counterpart (Ardhanareswara).

ShrEe gives space to female voices who claim their emotional, physical and spiritual power back. “In a country where femicide and rape culture are so rife that it has become a norm, this production aims to bring these narratives and discussions into the public domain through the use of dance” (Chhiba, 2017). Abuse and violation should never be acceptable, therefore I am more than just my body speaks to many variations of abuse but also allows for empowered voices to be heard.

Join us in this challenge to give voice to untold stories that are both particular to certain communities yet at the same time have the ability to speak to society more broadly and boldly.

For further information and tickets please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 


Ardhanari by Parshwanath S. Upadhye

 

Date: 4 March 2017 

Time: 6:30pm

Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia

Tickets: R150 pp

Ardhanari is a solo performance by Sri Parshwanath S Upadhye, brought to you by SP Academy of Fine Arts in association with Sarvavidya Natyaalaya (JHB) and Aaraadhana(CPT). For the first time ever Upadhye will be perfoming in South Africa this March.

Tickets for the Johannesburg performance are available from Sarvavidya Natyaalaya
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
cell: 082 267 4602 | 082 491 4376

Two performances, two cities
4 March | 6:30pm | Gandhi Hall, Lenasia, Johannesburg
6 March | 7:15pm | Joseph Stone Auditorium, Athlone, Cape Town

Parshwanath Upadhye is the artistic director of Punyah dance company and Upadhye school of dance Bangalore. A versatile Indian classical dancer, 'Natya Mayura' ; 'Natya Keerthi' ; Arsha kalachoodamani, arihant puraskar awardee,Parshwanath Upadhye has carved out a niche for himself today as one of the most sought-after male dancers in India.

Winner of eight national awards, an empaneled artist of the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and an 'A grade' artist of the Bangalore Doordarshan Kendra, Parshwanath's prowess in the field of dance is extensive. Parshwanath completed his Arangetram, Vidwath and Alankaar Exams under the able guidance and tutelage of Guru Shri Ravindra Sharma in the traditional Mysore style of Bharathanatyam.

He continues his learning and exploring of the art form under internationally acclaimed dancer duo, Shri Kiran Subramanyam and Smt.Sandhya Kiran alongside working with many reputed dance companies in India and abroad. He has a black belt in karate, is a state level swimmer as well as a trained carnatic vocalist and holds a Master of Arts degree in Kannada Literature from Karnataka University. Under his direction and choreography Punyah dance company's Punyah Krishna , Hara and Paartha are considered the most successful and critically acclaimed productions of recent years.

 

 

 

 


Pancha Bhoota | Five Elements

Date: 26 November 2016

Time: 5:30pm

Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia

Tickets: R100 pp

Pancha Bhoota|Five Elements, SVN’s second major production for 2016, is an exploration of the first five major elements of the world, these are akasa (ether or space), vayu (air), apas (water), agni (fire) and prithvi (earth). Intrinsic to each element is the masculine being Shiva in his different forms, who is in turn activated by the feminine Shakti (supreme power) – this unity then becomes the cause of cosmic creation.

The production opens with the reverberation of the supreme sound AUM – echoing from the infamous damaru (two-headed drum) played by Shiva as he dances his Ananda Tandava, the sound from which it is believed the elements emanate and creation is born. The Pancha Bhoota are displayed through the stylised dexterity of bharatanatyam as well as through innovative exploration of movement itself, where Ganga is praised as the powerful water element and Vayu the puppet master who controls our vital life force through breathe. The various elements gradually unfold throughout the production, culminating in a merging, a dancing together, and an active unity, through the force of Shakti.

Join us in this unfolding of creation through the elements, in blissful union with the divine through dance.

For further information and tickets please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 


 Samyoga: dancing with Shiva Shakti

and the launch of the Sarvavidya Dance Ensemble

Date: 10, 11, 12 June 2016

Time: 7:30pm (Fri), 7:30pm (Sat) and 3pm (Sun)

Venue:  The Fringe at Joburg Theatre

Tickets: R120 pp (Tickets available at Joburg Theatre or Webtickets or call 0861 670 670 or Theatre Box Office)

Samyoga, a Sanskrit word meaning the conjunction of two or more heavenly bodies, is the merging of the divine masculine and feminine known in Hinduism as Shiva Shakti. This dual existence, as understood through Hindu philosophy is what governs the universe. This philosophy states that male and female energies reside within every being; that one aspect cannot exist without the other; and are balanced by their innate dual nature.

An illustration of this duality is the manifestation of Shiva in the form of Ardhanareshwara, in which he and the goddess take on the form of an androgynous being that is half male and half female: Shiva, the male, is consciousness, while Shakti, the female, is primordial energy. For Shiva to become kinetic consciousness, he must be empowered by Shakti. Without Shakti, Shiva’s consciousness is dormant, but when awakened by his Shakti, the universe that is the construct of Shiva’s thoughts is able to become manifest as a constructed reality (Ashley-Farrand 2003).

This production is a portrayal of the merging of these complementary forces in an attempt to portray the magnificence and inevitability of this divine coupling of masculine and feminine. The goddess is shown to manifest as both the graceful, nurturing mother (Lalitha Tripurasundari) yet also exist as the ferocious, destructress (Kali). Shiva appears as the magnificent Nataraja (Lord of Dance) who is the ultimate dancer and is also shown as the fiery challenger to his female counterpart as he dances the Oordhva Tandava.

Join us for a blissful union with the divine through dance as we take you on a journey that connects you with both he and she, light and dark, the physical and the transcendent.

For further information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Panna – 082 491 4376 Tickets available at Joburg Theatre or Webtickets or call 0861 670 670 or Theatre Box Office

 


Presented in Durban (2015)

Samyoga: dancing with Shiva Shakti

Date: 14 and 15 November 2015

Time: 8pm (Sat) and 3pm (Sun)

Venue:  iZulu Theatre, Sibaya Casino

Tickets: R100 pp - available at Computicket soon!!

Samyoga, a Sanskrit word meaning the conjunction of two or more heavenly bodies, is the merging of the divine masculine and feminine known in Hinduism as Shiva Shakti. This dual existence, as understood through Hindu philosophy is what governs the universe. This philosophy states that male and female energies reside within every being; that one aspect cannot exist without the other; and are balanced by their innate dual nature.

 An illustration of this duality is the manifestation of Shiva in the form of Ardhanareshwara, in which he and the goddess take on the form of an androgynous being that is half male and half female: Shiva, the male, is consciousness, while Shakti, the female, is primordial energy. For Shiva to become kinetic consciousness, he must be empowered by Shakti. Without Shakti, Shiva’s consciousness is dormant, but when awakened by his Shakti, the universe that is the construct of Shiva’s thoughts is able to become manifest as a constructed reality (Ashley-Farrand 2003).

This production is a portrayal of the merging of these complementary forces in an attempt to portray the magnificence and inevitability of this divine coupling of masculine and feminine. The goddess is shown to manifest as both the graceful, nurturing mother (Lalitha Tripurasundari) yet also exist as the ferocious, destructress (Kali). Shiva appears as the magnificent Nataraja (Lord of Dance) who is the ultimate dancer and is also shown as the fiery challenger to his female counterpart as he dances the Oordhva Tandava.

Join us for a blissful union with the divine through dance as we take you on a journey that connects you with both he and she, light and dark, the physical and the transcendent.

For further information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Panna – 082 491 4376 Tickets can be purchased at Computicket, Sibaya Box Office or Shoprite Checkers.

 

 


Parinaama | Evolution

Date: 29 August 2015
Time: 5:00 for 5:30pm
Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia
Tickets: R100 per person 

Parinaama | Evolution, the theme of our 2015 production, marks the fifth anniversary of Sarvavidya Natyaalaya.  We hope to take you on an evolutionary journey of particular styles of Indian movement. Dance, from the very beginning was man’s response to Prakriti or nature. In ecstasy he moved his body in tune with nature’s music, dancing in rhythm with the life and beauty all around him.  

As seen in previous productions by SVN, the Hindu concept of the masculine and feminine as inseparable has been portrayed. Shiva and Shakti or Purusha and Prakriti are polar opposites that merge and are ultimately indistinguishable from each other. In Parinaama we subtly draw attention once again to this concept of the merging of these manifestations. This concept of Prakriti is venerated and celebrated through various tribal and folk style dances of India by paying homage to her as Bhumi or earth. Through evolution we explore how man starts to connect with pure consciousness or Shiva through classical movement, inevitably merging spirit and energy as the inseparable Shiva and Kali.

In Parinaama, this evolution of movement from tribal to classical and from earth to consciousness is symbolic of the rising of the Shakti within the human body, which slowly travels upward from the root chakra and finally merges with the Shiva consciousness above the head.

Join us for this celebration of movement, of evolution and ultimately of spiritual connection through dance.

 

 

 

 


Dvitiyam | Duality 


Date: 30 August 2014
Time: 5:00 for 5:30pm
Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia
Tickets: R90 per person 

For further information and tickets please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Dvitiyam, or duality, is the principle where everything exists in binaries, and which is understood by Hindus to govern the way the universe operates. One of the core philosophies within Hinduism is the understanding that male and female energies reside within every being; that one aspect does not exist without the other; and that there is a constant duality that balances these energies.

An example of this duality is the manifestation of Shiva in the form of Ardhanareshwara, in which he and the goddess take on the form of an androgynous being that is half male and half female: Shiva, the male, is consciousness, while Shakti, the female, is primordial energy. For Shiva to become kinetic consciousness, he must be empowered by Shakti. Without Shakti, Shiva’s consciousness is dormant, but when awakened by his Shakti, the universe that is the construct of Shiva’s thoughts is able to become manifest as a constructed reality (Ashley-Farrand 2003). 

This duality is similarly present in almost every aspect of creation: light, for instance, can only exist because there is darkness; each side of the binary depends on the existence of the other. 

This production brings these contrasting forces together in an attempt to portray their magnificence and inevitability. The goddess is shown to exist both as Kali (dark) and Gowri (light), and Krishna is shown as one who playfully teases the milkmaids, yet heroically defeats the ego of the viscous serpent Kalia. Shiva appears as both the magnificent Nataraja (Lord of Dance) and as the destructive being who roams the cremation grounds with his dark consort as he performs his wild dance of anger. As is customary with the Sarvavidya Natyaalaya, an awareness and focus on divine energy is an important aspect of dance, and we hope to impart some of this energy to our audience. 

Join us for an evening of blissful union with the divine through dance as we take you on a journey that connects you with both he and she, light and dark, the physical and the transcendent.

 

 

 


Tandava: dancing with Shiva

Date: 21 September 2013 
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Gandhi Hall, Lenasia
Tickets: R80 per person 

Join this journey into the depths of the ecstatic and vigorous dance of Shiva, the masculine principle of the universe, from whose dance all of creation is manifest. We pay homage to him as the great healer, connect to his spiritual potency as the endless form of light, and praise the majesty and power of his various tandavas as the supreme dancer, Nataraja. The dances will be performed by all students and teachers of the Sarvavidya Natyaalaya. A performance of bharatanatyam and contemporary movement, Tandava: dancing with Shiva hopes to touch its audience with divine light and bliss in this celebration of dance. 

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