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Yearwise Summary of Items and Productions

"Dhwani-Pratidhwani" - based on footwork only. This piece continued with the seed sown in 1981 in "Nupoor". In "Dhwani-Pratidhwani", the group choreography accentuated various panorama of 'tatkar' through 'laris' and 'tihais' of various 'jatis'. As in Nupoor, only the feet were highlighted with lights while the rest of the body were in darkness. To avoid spilling of light and reflection of light on the costume, a very dark coloured angarkha was utilised. The accompanying music was the sombre 'dhrupad'.

"Thaat Nirupan" For the first time, the ten "thaats" of Hindustani Classical Music (Bilawal, Marwa, Bhairav, Poorvi, Bhairavi, Todi, Asavari, Kalyan, Khamaj, Kafi ) were utilised to showcase the ten aspects and salient features of "nritta" and "nritya" aspects of Kathak dance (Uthaan, Aamad, Thaat, Tora-Tukra, Lari-Tihai, Gat Nikas, Gat Bhava, Paran, Pirmilu, Tatkar).

"Kab Aogey Rama" Continuing the introspective journey, Shovana's next quest was to study the meaning of the term 'Ramatwa'. This issue was analysed in the context of various episodes Lord Rama's life.

Hadi Rani' - based on Rajasthani tale.

"Dishantar" (ballet on environment degradation & associated social ills) With several concerts on till hitherto, unexplored realms of Hindi and Sanskrit literature, the ballet "Dishantar" added a new dimension to the milestones of Shovana and her Asavari group. For the first time, the dance ballet in traditional classical Kathak focussed on the issue of environmental degradation through mindless cutting of trees as also decadent socio-economic conditions prevailing in our society, highlighting issues of bonded labour, ills of caste system, subjugation of women. This ballet brought out the environmentalist and social crusader within Shovana.

"Das Madchen mit den Schwefelholzern" in Austria In the year 1982 began Shovana Narayan's journey of International collaborations. One of Vienna's eminent music composer-teacher Prof Otto Faerber composed evocative music for the moving story of Hans Christian Anderson of a little maiden with the matchstick. Shovana performed this piece marrying traditional Kathak 'abhinaya' to delineate the story set to Western Classical Music to a rapt audience. A Western classical singer sang the German text "mir ist so kalt habe keinen plätzchen" while the musical score was played by a pianist.

"Nupoor" Shovana daringly presented an item highlighting various aspects of footwork, such as 'ladis', tihais', 'chalans', etc, so much a hallmark of Kathak, accentuated by lights only.

'Nartaki Kavi Durbar Mein' This piece explored the dialogue between 'doha' (the self rhyming couplet - eg Kabir, Rahim) and 'choupai' (a quatrain verse eg of Tulsidas). But soon, both face the challenge of 'mukta chhand' poetry.

"NEY: Bansuri" at the Bansuri Festival, Kamani (organised by Raag Rang of Naina Devi) For the first time Sufi couplets of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi ('Ney') was performed on stage by any classical dancer. This programme also explored – again for the first time - Sufi-Vaishnavism parallels through Verses of Rumi and Vaishnav poets Bihari and Surdas.

Ishrat-e-Farda (based on works of Amir Khusro, Kabir, Lal Ded, Rabia-al-Basra) This production was performed at various times and on various occasions and at various venues of Delhi and Lucknow since 1980. First Ishrat-e-Farda was performed to verses of Amir Khusro and Kabir. Later from mid-nineties, verses of Lal Ded and Rabia-al-Basra were added.

"Yama" Eternal pursuit is tinged with romanticism and humanism that touched the hearts and found expression in the poems of today what is known as the 'chhayavaad' period. The young and sensitive Shovana could not remain untouched by such poems and the works of Mahadevi Varma bore fruit in 1980 in a dance sequence called "Yama" (The Night) which featured various moods and symbolisms in this eternal quest of man from her famous collections of "Neehar" (The Mist) and "Yama".

Yashodhara : Sacrifice of the wife of Lord Buddha (by Maithili Sharan Gupt) Ever heard of a woman donating her son as alms to her husband who has become a 'sanyasi'? What emotion does she experience when she is forsaken without provocation by her husband during the dead silence of night, who wishes to search for the Truth? And what pain does motherhood experience when the husband returns after experiencing enlightenment not to accept her but to ask for alms? Shovana took up this heart rending saga of a woman from Indian history. Interest in Hindi literature and social concern led Shovana Narayan to feel the pain of the eminent Hindi poet, Maithili Sharan Gupt's 'Yashodhara'.

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