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Yearwise Summary of Items and Productions

"Ras Rasik Raskhan" - based on the works of Raskhan The eternal 'leelas' of Lord Krishna through the mesmerizing verses of Raskhan formed the core of the production. The evening bespoke secularism as Raskhan was a Muslim and yet was a great devotee of Lord Krishna.

"Kahlil Gibran" On the 119th birth anniversary of the famous mystic poet, philosophical essayist and artist, Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese-American), Shovana Narayan, the renowned Kathak danseuse, stepped out to embrace the thoughts of Gibran in a five part act, through her 'abhinaya', seemingly disparate yet in reality, echoing thoughts that are universal.

"Vishangi" (2000-2001) People always hope for the best, even in the face of adversity. This darkness of adversity resulting in gloom, despair and sagging of spirit is yet always accompanied by yet another emotion for even a serpent girl taught only to kill! The birth of "Vishangi" has been penned down by the eminent Hindi poet Dr Kanhaiya Lal Nandan.

"Sound of Emptiness and Harmony" (2001) with Bhutanese Buddhist Monks of Tashi Dhargye Monastery- (A Symphony of Kathak and Buddhist Chants for World Peace) This production yet again saw the activist and the social consciousness of Shovana surfacing. Following the Kargil war, once again the fact that today we are living in a world torn by tears and strifes, came to the fore and led to the staging of "Sound of Emptiness & Harmony". The cause of such violence is the ego hidden within us which tears apart individuals, groups, communities. This was further strengthened with the ghastly 9/11 attack.

"Nandi" (text researched on Nandi, the bull – vehicle of Lord Shiva) Based on a folk-lore from Deogarh (Jharkhand), it is a beautiful tale of why Nandi refused to be part of Shiva's 'baraat' and what would make him relent.

"Pukar" Delhi had witnessed an unfortunate tragedy in 1999 because of drunken driving. It was around this time that there were discussions about a girl child of a lady prisoner being sent to a rehabilitation home as her father and other family members had washed their hands off the mother and the child. In a stray discussion with a gentleman who was spearheading movements such as "Don't Drink and Drive" and "Say No to Drugs" aimed at spreading awareness among youngsters who were victims of these vice which, in quite a few cases, had led to fatal incidents, the discussion veered to towards children born within the prison walls and to associated important issues.

"Geet Govind" (a special ballet based on Jayadeva's works highlighting the importance and mood of the 'aharya abhinaya')

"Wichhare Paani" (a Punjabi Opera based on the pangs of partition as seen through the eyes of the five rivers of the Indus) This opera was produced and directed by the well-known Punjabi singer Madan Bala Sandhu wherein the dance sequences emoting the characteristic and folk legends associated with each tributary, were delivered by Shovana Narayan and her group. In the finale sequence where the partition takes place and the river becomes blood red, Shovana was dynamic in her red fury.

"Mujhko Bhi to Jeene Do": A dance ballet on girl child and woman empowerment This is the story of a woman's journey in life. This is a ballet on a woman's reflections on her past, present and her future. In a society dominated by traditions and norms which have always endowed man with a higher status amongst both the sexes, the woman is still struggling for survival while also in quest of her own identity.

"Ashtanayika: Women in Love": (special choreography on classical works of verses from Rasmanjari by Bhanudatta of Mithila (15th century) as well as folk songs with a replication of costumes of 3rd century BC).

'Woman in Love' is an experience familiar to most women. Based on the classical referencing to the eight states of the woman in love or the beloved namely the 'nayika', this evening brings out the poignancy, the tenderness and the range of emotions experienced by her in various situations. It is, therefore, not uncommon to see beautiful and poignant translations of the emotions of these 'nayikas' who have served as the central theme of a large number of literateurs, in the common man's songs of the region. This evening's rendering embraces within its folds, not only poetries of classicists like Bhanudutta and Vidyapati but also of patrons such as Maharaja Anand Kishore of Bettiah and the common man's songs. A notable feature was also the unique replication of the costumes of the area as worn by the dancers of yore."

Khajuraho (1999): "The Dance of the Temples" (film) Khajuraho temples are well-known as the Temples of Love. But how many have attempted to understand the philosophy behind its architecture and sculptural placements? Here again, Shovana displayed great insight and deep study which resulted in a video 'Dance of the Temples'.

"Sannata" The eternal inner quest has been a recurring theme in Shovana's works. What has she been seeking? In the constant process of rediscovering herself, the issue of concept of 'freedom' plays a dominant role…. Freedom from the shackles of fear within each one of us! It is a journey of the 'inner self' to the 'inner being'. This is especially relevant today when the world is beset with tears and strifes. Fascinated with this view expressed in the most poignant poem 'Sannata' of the famous Hindi poet, Bhawani Prasad Mishra, Shovana brought together artistes from inter-related disciplines of art from different parts of the country and the world namely French born modern dancer Gilles Chuyen, Carnatic Flautist GS Rajan, theatre actor-director Sunit Tandon and herself to interpret the various characters symbolising the inner conflict within each man in "Sannata" (The Ballad of Freedom).

In the English translation of the Hindi poem, while Sunit Tandon portrayed the narrator who is wandering through the symbolic ruins of an ancient abandoned fort that has been taken over by nature and introspects on disenchantment and disillusionment experienced in life through the story of the arrogant King (Gilles Chuyen), his sensitive wife (Shovana Narayan) and the mystic call of the flute of the inner self to let go (symbolized through the flautist in a triangular relationship).

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