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Yearwise Summary of Items and Productions

"The Clown of Assisi" based on a medieval Christian story in collaboration with Prof Ramchandra Gandhi The dance play revolves around a young orphan boy, Francis, from Assisi, who grows up to be a world famous juggler but becomes arrogant and vain. He is brought back to reform, the hard way, not long before he dies.

"Pralay ki Chhaya" by Jaishankar Prasad Based on a long poem by the great Hindi poet, Jaishankar Prasad, the poem dwells on how pride and arrogance leads to a fall.

"Dushasan Bas Karo" to a poem of Dr LM Singhvi Is there a parallel between the de-robing of Draupadi and environmental consciousness? For the first time in 1990, this unique relationship was brought out by Shovana Narayan in a unique rendition of the eminent jurist Dr LM Singhvi's poem "Dushasana Bas Karo".

Dushasana attempts to de-robe / strip Draupadi in the open royal court in an attempt to humiliate the Pandavas but Draupadi is miraculously saved by Lord Krishna. Draupadi has been symbolically likened to Mother Earth whose environmental cover is being constantly stripped and she is being 'de-robed' by greedy mankind. Who is our Lord Krishna today to deliver Mother Earth from this act?

"Raktamalin Matsarya" (to music only – inspired by Carmen) Two women, adversaries in love, clash with their supporters ending tragically. In this item, full use was made of various rhythmic patterns and formations in the fight sequence.

"Muktilekha" (On Human Rights issues) Man is born free. Each man is equal in dignity and rights. And yet, social structures have forced some into bonded labour and turned few into the ruling class. Shovana raised her voice against such discriminatory society which violates the rights of human beings, for the gain of another in her ballet "Muktilekha" based on concepts provided by eminent jurist Dr LM Singhvi. In this particular ballet, the choreographer in her took up the global issue of human rights and handled it successfully. In fact this production can be counted as "Gesamtkunstwerk" perspective of Richard Wagner.

"Om: Cosmic Dance of Creation" Identified with Shiva in Indian mythology, His Rhythmic Play, the tandava, is the source of all movements within the cosmos. This piece celebrates the birth of movement and hence dance, through the ode to Lord Shiva, considered the Cosmic dancer. For the show at Kamani auditorium, Shovana used two of her old items based on the tandava stuti "Jatatavigalajjala ..." written by Ravana in praise of Lord Shiva and the meditative Riga Vedic Chant of "Om karam bindu sanyuktam" to create the item OM: The Cosmic Dance of Creation. This item, for the first time ever in Kathak, started with all dancers showing their backs to the auditorium (as till then, showing of the back was considered unacceptable).

"Sujata" (1988) The issue of caste discrimination has always moved Shovana. The questions raised by Buddha's initial refusal of taking meal from Sujata raised several questions? Was it to do with her comparatively lower born status or cast than that of the ascetic or was it a gender issue. This enquiry resulted in the dance production "Sujata".

"Tridhara" : Collaborative work with Yamini Krishnamurty and Sonal Mansingh for ICCR To the concept of national collaborative work by Vice President Venkataraman, who himself selected the dancers of three dance styles, the evening "Tridhara" became a reality. Presented by ICCR and the title of the evening was given by Jiwan Pani, the noted Oriya literary figure, the evening featured three renowned dancers of their respective styles - Yamini Krishnamurthy (Bharatanatyam), Sonal Mansingh (Odissi) and Shovana Narayan (Kathak). As the name of the evening suggested, each dancer represented their regions through the life giving river flowing through it namely Cauvery for Bharatanatyam, Narmada/ Mahanadi for Odissi and Ganges for Kathak.

"East Meets West" (1987) with Western Classical Ballerina in Austria For the first time ever, an Indian classical Kathak dancer, Shovana Narayan performed a duet with a Western Classical ballerina, Andrea Campianu in various Austrian Festivals.

Khayal Bandish: Performing to chhota and bada khayal became familiar features in Shovana Narayan's performances such "Kaisi nikasi chandni" or "Meha re ban ban daar daar" etc.

Schubert's "Der Tod und Das Maedchen" During the course of the one hour film on Shovana Narayan by ORF titled "Das Geheimnis des Indisches Tanz" , the German Film Director Joern Thiel, exhibited the improvisatory aspect of Kathak through abhinaya to a German poetry and to Franz Schubert's musical composition "Der Tod und Das Maedchen" (Death and the Little Girl).

"Meera - The Divine Lover" What are the obstacles in the path of divinity? Ego, pride, prejudices, or even a certain lack of sincerity…..? Is divinity to be achieved only by donning the robe of the saints!! These questions are sought to be answered through the episodes in the life of Meera, the princess from Rajasthan.

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