With World Dance Day around the corner, there is nothing more fitting than conveying the message of unity and harmony. Reflecting this, eminent Kathak danseuse Shovana Narayan will host “Vividh Mat: Perceptions”, a two-day seminar-cum-dance festival, starting from Tuesday at the Rabindra Bhawan.
Presented in collaboration with the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the event will see a combination of well- known dancers and panelists sharing the dais. “As the name implies, Vividh-Mat” will explore the range of perceptions on two topics “Dharma -Adharma” and “Can the Twain Meet”. Both the topics are relevant in current social context and it stresses the need for ideas and people to co exist,” said Narayan, a recepient of the Padma Shri India’s fourth highest civilian honour.
The debate on Dharma and Adharma will be unfolded by performance by Shovana Narayan and Shruti Gupta Chandra on Karna-Kunti Samvad, an intriguing story in Mahabharata.
Later, the topic will be discussed by panelists including dancer Sonal Mansingh, economist Bibek Debroy and senior journalist Saeed Naqvi. The second day will see an evocative piece “Yudhishthir and Draupadi” by Shovana Narayan and theatre actor-director Sunit Tandon. “It is based on a poem of Pavan K. Varma. The performance looks at both viewpoints of Yudhishthir and Draupadi. Both dance sequences give a fourth perspective on the theme of the evening’s seminar,” Narayan said.
A discussion will followed on the topic “Can the Twain Meet” by historian Pushpesh Pant and poet Keki Daruwala, among others. Narayan, who was initiated into Kathak at the age of four, said that the dance form has come a long way from the early days. “It is moving with the times and lot of reconstructions has happened over the years. It was even mentioned in the Mahabharata in Adi Parv and Anushashnik Parv,” said Narayan, a disciple of Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj.
Social themes have always been the central theme of her work. Be it “Dishantar” (environment issues) or “Shunyata” (communal harmony) and “Jehanara” (women’s empowerment), Narayan always used the medium to fight social evils. “I was brought up in a family where lot of literature and social issues were discussed. It has always been the thread of my work,” said the danseuse, who has also used soliloquy, opera and films in Kathak, her all-time passion. However, the veteran dancer does not believe in fusion dance forms.
“What we are seeing in a fusion is a harmonious collage of two art forms. It’s drawing upon the similarities of two art forms such as Spanish Flamenco and Kathak or Kathakali and Flamenco,” she reasoned.
A retired bureaucrat, the dancer also believed that though she spent whole life for dance, she has lot more to do. And passion keeps her going.
“Vividh Mat: Perceptions”, on April 26-27, at Meghdoot Theatre III, Rabindra Bhawan.