Mesmerising Shakti  
- Kanchan Maradan, UK 

June 28, 2005 

Upasana's Artistic Director Deepa Ganesh’s performance in Manchester on 12th June 2005, at The Lowry Theatre was presented by Milapfest. It was house full with many dignitaries like the Mayor and Mayoress of Salford, Mayor and Mayoress of Manchester and Consul General of India amongst them, apart form many important members of the local authority and community. 

The evening started with Adi Shankara's Ganesha Pancharatnam by the talented, young daughters of Deepa - Vaishnavi and Nivedita, who set the mood for the evening on a beautiful and auspicious note followed by 'Shiva Dhyan' with a radiant, energetic invocation of the cosmic dancer Shiva in a Kailash setting. 

Moving on to the concept of the evening, Dr. Satyendra Kumar Singh wondered what SHAKTI / POWER is. What do we understand by it? Is it political, military, monetary or does love, compassion, devotion, surrendering and faith have power too?   

Following this was a series of dance presentations in search of the ultimate power through the central character of the Divine Mother - The Devi. 

With a rare 1800 AD poetry identifying Shakti-the vanquisher of evil, protective Mother, praised by the Gods and saints, a giver of eternal bliss, Shakti was introduced. In conversation with the goddess, Deepa explores, understands and appreciates Devi's various facets and cascades to understand that she is one amongst us in Navras. In 'Mardhini', when Shakti comes to the rescue when nothing else in the world can help, we experienced the power of The Mother protecting her children from the evil demons. Finally, 'Thillana' celebrated this Shakti within us.   

Deepa enthralled the audience with her fast yet precise command on the technique and abhinaya and her explanations before each item made it more understandable for the audience. The decor was beautiful in its simplicity and the evening left a lasting impression. 

Deepa found a beautiful way of presenting the traditional items in an interesting manner at the same time passing a thoughtful message of unity between the different religions and faiths in different Gods who have different names but are 'One' and the same. She showed how the only way to harness this power was through love and faith which is common in all and it is only total surrender to this power that equips us to overcome any obstacle. 
Kanchan Maradan, disciple of Prerana Shrimali (Jaipur Gharana) is an accomplished Kathak dancer and teacher.