Geeta Chandran transforms into Shakti on stage  
- Pandithar Shivakumar Perumal, Pune 
Photos courtesy: Rajiv Chandran 
January 19, 2008 

The Stein Auditorium at the India Habitat Centre is probably the finest address where art is tastefully presented in India today. Time and again, it has been the venue for the finest of dance and music recitals. As part of the recently convened World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality, the auditorium was the venue of a charged performance by dancer Geeta Chandran, in a classical Bharatanatyam recital titled 'Shakti' on January 5, 2008.  
Geeta presented the well-known Varnana Daru "Maade" in praise of the Goddess Chamundeshwari, a lyrical work of the poet of the royal Court of Mysore, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagvathar, in ragam Kamas, Adi Talam. 
In her varnana (detailed descriptions) of the Goddess, Geeta presented both her finite and infinite forms. Geeta's performance of the Daru-s marked the journey of the Goddess from her human form, concluding with her being portrayed in cosmic terms as the Centre of the Universe – mandala madhyaga. 
The passage of this journey simultaneously showcased the artist growing steadily into being an omnipotent figure and achieving an omnipotent image. Geeta's dance brilliance capturing in classical movements the Goddess’ journey was supreme. Geeta's dance overflows the stage and encompasses the rasikas. She is able to create one-ness with each person in the audience. Her dance becomes a dialogue between the art and the rasika. Geeta has created this dialogue with elegant classicism and in our journey with her we rejoice in admiration seeing the art flow from her nritya to heart-touching abhinaya. This has been an established hallmark of her performance. As the daru varnam concluded, the dancer and the Goddess Chamundeshwari had merged! 
Geeta's concluding presentation was based on a chant in praise of the Devi – the popular "Aigiri Nandini." Despite having heard the piece many, many times, seeing this devotional chant recast into moving images in dance by Geeta Chandran was a moving experience. The chant carries a potent power in itself, but Geeta was able to add to that and bring it alive in her dance. The lyric was transformed into a masterpiece of dancing images as Geeta blossomed into Shakti on stage. The images of the dancer manipulating our emotions between gentleness and ferocity will remain in memory for long. 
Geeta's 'Shakti' was appropriately presented at the World Congress on Psychology and Spirituality since she connected us with the spiritual aspects of life. 
The evening was another big occasion as Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan was conferred the Life Time Achievement Award by the Princeton-based Infinity Foundation. 
For Geeta Chandran, it was a special evening for another reason: her daughter Sharanya, who is also her disciple, conducted Geeta's recital. The Shakti performance was Sharanya's nattuvangam arangetaram and she did a wonderful job.  Sharanya deserves as much praise as all the other team members of the "Shakti" team: vocals - Sudha Raghuraman, mridangam - Lalgudi Sriganesh, flute - G Raghuraman.  

Sivakumar has a passion for the arts and is a freelance writer.