Shovana Narayan
A Profile - Highlights of her Works - Performances - Works - Reviews - Awards - Contact Information

Highlights of her Works

Shovana Narayan - Click to enlarge

Keeping the traditional vocabulary, format of presentation and true to the sense of the word 'Kathak', Shovana's performances speak for the inherent tradition of Kathak. Despite being a traditionalist, she has not let tradition tie her feet down but she has fearlessly and boldly moved forward with the belief that expression is instinctive and spontaneous which not only is affected by the
environment around us but that each one of us also affects the environment around us with our actions and thought processes. This has, therefore, seen her working in close interaction with nationally and internationally known western dancers and musicians. Her choreographic works like "Moonlight Impressionism" to music of Ravel, Beethoven, Mozart & Debussy and "The Dawn After" (with Christian Rovny, a Western classical ballet dancer & Dario Arboleda, a Spanish flamenco dancer), duets with an American tap dancer (Janet Goldberg) and with classical ballerine (Andrea Campianu) and even within the national framework, works like the 'Tridhara', 'Jago Maheswara', 'Khajuraho' (with noted dancers of various Indian classical dance styles), have been successful in bringing out the flavor of all the various dance forms and blending them into one harmonious language.

Her concern for people and humanity, have seen her dancing passionately to various social themes either through new panoramic vistas of interpretations of Kathak's traditional repertoire or through new choreographies. To the idea of Dr.L.M.Singhvi, the well-known jurist, she presented a unique ballet on Human Rights, "Muktilekha" which was a path-breaker of its kind. Her deep concern for society and its problems especially on women's and social issues, were evident through thought provoking creations such as 'Avadhi ka Antim Din', 'Anuttar', 'Mamta', on the emotional hell through which a mother and a girl child has to go through ("Mujhe bhi to Jeene Do"), and many more. Her fearless attitude was witnessed in the astounding staging of a traumatic burning issue of incest at a traditional Kathak dance Festival through 'Toota yeh Vishwas Kyon'. Her far reaching deep concern for environment saw its translation in a dance ballet "Dishantar" way back in 1982 when the idea had not even germinated fully in the consciousness of the world.

Deeply committed, involved and aware of people and their problems, she was deeply involved with the organisation and presentation of the first artists endeavor to help the families affected by the Kargil war.

Shovana is the first dancer who has gone as far as to travel in the interior parts of the Gangetic belt and research and study the forgotten stores and repertoire prevalent in Kathak in the earlier times. By presenting a soliloquy to "Shakuntala", she rejuvenated the narrative tradition of the North-Indian dance form. While following these traditions, the Prima Donna has contemporarised the language of Kathak through choreographies in which the dancer expresses herself on several issues, social as well as philosophical. One of the great success stories of her performances has been the staging of 'Mera Safar', a poem by the well known Urdu poet, Ali Sardar Jafri, delving into the philosophy and metaphysical aspects of life.

She is in fact the first dancer to work on philosophical themes and on the lives of contemporary sages such as Vivekanand, Ramana Maharshi, Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Mahatma Gandhi, with philosopher, Prof. Ramchandra Gandhi. In her works with Dr. Gandhi and in the rendering of the Pavan Varma's poem 'Yudhishtar and Draupadi' with Sunit Tandon (theatre actor), here again she displayed her boldness by being the first dancer to be dancing to texts rendered in the English language, a trend which has now caught on.

She is perhaps, the first dancer to have conceived, conceptualised and brought out a dance video on the philosophy and legend of the immortal Khajuraho temples entitled 'Dance of the Temples'. Again, she was the 'first' dancer to have presented a dance ballet 'Satya ki Khoj' on the works of Guru Gobind Singh in 1999 during the Ter-Centanary celebrations of the Khalsa panth and on the works of 13 women saint-poets ('Bhagtans') from all parts of India in 1997.

However, Shovana's canvass does not end in the medium of dance. Her palette contains other media, including films like "Akbar's Bridge" (Hindi) and "Das Geheimnis des Indisches Tanz" (German), opera like "Ghalib ki Dilli" as well as research works on the development of dance in general and particularly Kathak. Two of her works, "Kathak: Rhythmic Echoes & Reflections" and "The Dance Legacy of Patliputra" have been published and have also received great acclaim. She is a beautiful synthesis of aesthetics, talent, 'sadhana', grace, intellect and commitment. As an eminent dancer and personality, she has served on various Committees and Societies relating to the fields of Arts and finance as well as on the Governing bodies of Motilal Nehru College, Satyavati College, Shyama Prasad Mukherji College and the DPS Society.

Shovana Narayan is a classical example of a true Kathak, multi-faceted, successful and dynamic, and presents a challenge to today's spectator. Her life and her works have made her a role model and peer for millions of girls of the younger generation of today.

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