Shivani and Purawai

“This piece is inspired by a traditional Ardhanārīśvaram, a bharatnatyam dance in which two bodies move as one. Representing the everlasting duality of Shiva and Parvati, this piece shares their love as they hold the universe in between and within them. Shiva/Shakti – Eternal Lovers is about the fluidity of their shared and separate identities, the balance between their creation and destruction, and the equality and respect that their relationship holds. We see Shiva’s gentle love and Parvati’s strength and determination; they are eternal reflections of each other.”

Shivani has been trained as a Bharatnatyam dancer for over 20 years. She completed her Arangetram with Avni Vyas at Shivanjali Dance Academy and recently graduated with a Master’s in Performance Studies from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her dissertation focussed on communities of women creating cultural spaces, colonialism in India, and how it affected Bharatnatyam as a whole. Shivani also advocates for the importance of folk arts, such as garba, and teaches various folk dances and prop work that is prominent in Indian culture. Currently, she works as an arts educator and guest speaker, offering workshops about Indian heritage, women’s spaces, dance, and diversity with Dance ‘N’ Culture and The Travelling Stage. Shivani is also a board of directors member of Pratibha Arts. She maintains an active artist practice with Shivanjali Dance, ICA Dance, and other performance companies.

Purawai Vyas, is an emerging dance artist, with over 15 years of training in Bharatanatyam. She has also trained in Ballet, modern/contemporary dance and Kalarippayattu during her undergraduate career and holds a BFA in Dance along with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from York University. Purawai has had the opportunity to dance in the works of highly acclaimed choreographers, including Lata Pada, Atri Nundy, Suma Nair, Parshwanath Upadhye and Nova Bhattacharya. In 2021, Purawai created and presented works in various festivals in the Greater Toronto Area, including CanAsian Dance’s Grit Short Dances Festival, TD Mosaics Festival, and dance: made in canada’s inTO focus. She is passionate about teaching and sharing the art form of Bharatanatyam as a dance teacher at Sampradaya Dance Academy. Currently, she works with Sampradaya Dance Creations and Nova Dance as a company dancer. Purawai is also the co-founder of Kala collective, a dance collective of six south Asian dance artists with a shared training in Bharatanatyam. As an independent artist, Purawai is interested in interdisciplinary rhythmic exchange and is exploring her foundational practice as a means to create contemporary works.

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