Shiva is the name of a Hinduistic god, also known as the King of the Dancers (Nataraja). Indian sculptors portray him as a dancing figure with four arms. The upper right hand holds a drum which symbolizes creation's primal sound (the Big Bang?), the upper left holds fire, the element of destruction. Together they represent the dynamic balance between creation and destruction, life and death, in eternal cycles.
Shiva dances on a dwarf who symbolizes humanity's ignorance. The dance's ceaseless flow creates an infinte variety of patterns that melt into one another, reminding us that the manifold forms in the world are "maya" - not fundamental but illusory and ever-changing. Liberation from "maya" means attaining the ability to perceive the unity of all things.
Rob Waring has attempted to reflect these
ideas in the musical structure of Shiva's Dance. Underlying
cycles er the source of all material in the piece, and serve to unify seemingly
unrelated elements. The piece was composed in 1985 and first performed
at the Festival of Northern Norway the same year by Kjell Samkopf and Rob
Waring on percussion, with Gunnar Berg-Nielsen as sound technician. The
piece requires a huge battery of percussion instruments, synthesizers,
and P.A. system with 8 loudspeakers.