North meets South. Masculine meets feminine in Sati: Shiva’s beloved

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Shiva and Sati. Sati: Shiva’s Beloved is a love story about 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).  Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
Shiva and Sati. Sati: Shiva’s Beloved is a love story about 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). Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

What happens when you take two contrasting ideas and merge them into one?

You get a cultural and colourful melting pot of music and movement that is a delight to experience.

Sati: Shiva’s Beloved brought together different geographical areas – North India and South India – as well as male and female incarnations.

It was presented at the Fringe Joburg Theatre on November 10 and 11 by the Sarvavidya Dance Ensemble in collaboration with Manesh Maharaj, the artistic director of Kala Darshan – Institute of Classical music and dance.

The 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. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

The performance tells a love story about 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 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. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Shiva is portrayed as the detached and destructive masculine principle of the universe:. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Through the collaboration the performers 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.

Shakti and Shiva 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. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
The story, as told through this production, plays between the mythological and real, the feminine and masculine, and the spiritual and human. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
The Sarvavidya Dance Ensemble in collaboration with Manesh Maharaj presents Sati: Shiva’s Beloved. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press
Sati depicted during a performance at the Fringe Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Shiva mourns the loss of his lover Sati. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

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