Shovana Narayan as a visionary, created a contagious Zest that usually rests on a strong foundation. This strong foundation can only be obtained through hard training, sensitivity, deep thought and intensity. 'Individualistic, contemporary and dynamic' are the attributes of Shovana Narayan. For last three and half decades, she has been mesmerizing her audiences by her performances.
She has performed in many national and international festivals in India as well as abroad. Through her performances she is representing 'a Mughal miniature and is a personification of elegance, sensitivity and grace'. Shovana Narayan was inducted to the art form at the tender age of four. She under went her first training under the illustrious dancer-actress of yester-years, Sadhana Bose at Calcutta. Later on she received training from Guru Kundanlal at Bombay. However she imbibed the style, which is a 'crystallisation of combined techniques acquired from the sophisticated elegance of the Lucknow gharana and the rhythmic precision of the Jaipur School'.
The way Shovana Narayan approaches Kathak, is influenced by the world's culture as a whole. According to her, works, which she is producing, amalgamated in the 'seven colors rainbow'. This dancing persona is a combination of 'a soul-stirring solo performer, a bold and innovative choreographer, a revered guru, a philosopher, a social worker and an activist, an intellectual and researcher' who's main aim is through her books, films to reach the society as a whole. She is deeply concerned for the people and humanity that denotes the 'unique perception and sensitivity'. She always attempted to convey this with her performances. Attributes of 'Hara' and 'Hari' or the 'yin' and 'yang' are being highlighted by her performances.
Shovana Narayan has bagged the honor of being performed with a collaboration of Indian and western dancers of great repute. To mention a few of her production: "Moonlight Impressionism", "The Dawn After" with the dancers from Western classical ballet & Spanish flamenco. Though she has been working with western artists but she was always successful in bringing out the essence of Kathak in all most all the occasion. As a choreographer she can be attributed as a 'unique thinking artiste and an imaginative choreographer'. Her performances is considered to be the traditional hallmark of Kathak that is why some times it reflect, as the natural extension of her inner self and her beliefs. She never compromises with the sensitivity of the society in her performance. The duty towards society always remains in her mind. Thus she through her dances always attempts to draw attention to the burning issues of societies.
Some of notable performances given by Shovana Narayan are: Legends of India Festival, Delhi, 2006; Kathanak Festival, Delhi, 2006; Building Bridges, ICCR, 2005; Kalidas Badal Raag Festival, Ujjain 2005; Shivaratri Festival, Mandi, 2004; Intach's Patiala Heritage Festival, 2004; ICCR Festival, 2004; Kathak-Flamenco, 2003, 2002; Bhakti Pravah, Chinmaya Mission, 2003; Jharkhand Celebrations, Jamshedpur, 2002; Grasim International, 2002; SPICMACAY Virasat estival and Dance Day, 2003, 2002 Dover Lane Music Conference, Calcutta, 2002; Ekaneka Festival, Bangalore, 2002; Uday Shankar Ballet Festival, 2002; Jaipur Chidambaram Festival, 2002; Chidambaram Ekaneka Festival, Bangalore, 2002; Sangeet Natak Akademi Festival of Performing Arts (Meera Festival, 2001, Udaipur; Spic-Macay Festival Programmes, 2000, 2001; Pune Festival, 2004, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1993; Kargil Festival 2000; APPPAN Festival, 2000; Kathak Mahotsava, 2000 (for choreographic works), Calcutta. Some of her international performances are: International Performances Festival of Arts of India, Theatre de la ville, Paris, 1973; Sanskritik Festival of Arts of India, UK, 1976, 1978, 1986; Festival of Arts of India, Switzerland, 1976, 1980; Reykjavik Icelandic Arts Festival, 1982; Special performance for late Prime Minister, Mrs.Indira Gandhi's state tour to USSR, 1982; India Festival, Festival of Arts of India, USSR including Central Asia, 1987-88; Salzburg Landestheatre, Austria, 1987; Carinthian Sommer Festival, Villach, Austria; Finkenstein Sommer Festival, Austria; Programmes in Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland, Feb-March, 1999; World Hindi Conference at London, Manchester, Netherlands, Sept 1999.
Shovana Narayan has choreographed some of her work on the basis of the poems written by famous poets. Surdas, Kalidas, Malik Mohammed Jayasi, Raskhan, Kabir, Bhanudatta, Vidyapati, Balmiki, Padmakar, Ratnakar, Jayadev, Swami Haridas, Tansen, Girdhardas, Mahadevi Verma, Harivansh Rai Bachhan, Jaya Shankar Prasad, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Rabindranath Tagore, Meerabai, Avvaiyar, Dasimayya, Sati Toral-Jesal, Gangasati, Muktabai, Lal Ded, Sahjodasi, Andal, Bahinabai, Mirza Ghalib, Amir Khusro, Mir, Daag, Ali Sardar Jafri, Maulana Jamaluddin Rumi (Persian), Kazi Nasrul Islam (Bengali), Firaq Gorakhpuri to name a few. Shovana Narayan has also pocketed the honor of performing in front of notables, Prince Charles and late Lord Mountbatten of Britain; President Doud of Afghanistan; President Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan of UAE; President Brezhnev, USSR; Yasser Arafat of Palestine; President Rudolf Kirkschlager of Austria; President Carter of USA; H.E.Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran (sister of lateShah of Iran); President of Nigeria; President Mr.Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola; President of Nicaragua; President Dr.Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Prime Ministers of India such as Mrs.Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Atal Behari Vajpayee, I.K.Gujral, Dr Man Mohan Singh & Dy PM, Shri L.K.Advani have also experienced her dancing.
Some of her choreographic works to mention are: 'Begum Hazrat Mahal', 2006; 'Bansuri-Ne', 2006; 'Colours of Devotion', 2005; 'Ko'ham', 2005; 'Aakhir Kyon', 2005; 'Charaiveti, Charaiveti', 2005; 'Mujhko bhi to Jeene Do', 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005; 'Antar Yatra', 2004; 'The Romance of Taj', 2004; 'Shiva Parinay', 2004; 'Ma Sharada', 2003, 2004; 'So says Rabia-al-Basra', 2003, 2004; "Mirdad: A Lighthouse & Haven", 2003; 'Soor ke Krishna', 2003; 'Pranotkarsha'- elevation of spirit, 2003; 'From Darkness to Light', 2003; 'Rasa - Pravaha', 2001; "Sound of Emptiness and Harmony" (A symphony of Kathak and Buddhist Chants), 2001; 'Jago Durga', 2004, 2003, 2002; 'Kahlil Gibran', 2002; 'Raas Rasik Raskhan', 2002; "Kaisee Hori!", 2002; "Shringar", 2002; "Sudamacharita" by Narottamdas, 2002; "Toota Yeh Vishwas Kyon"; "Unmasking of Death" with Dr.Ramchandra Gandhi, 1996; "Padmavati" (based on a short story by Kamla Das),1996; "Anuttar" , based on incidents in the life of Shiva and Parvati, 1996; "The Temptation of Vivekanand" with Dr.Ramchandra Gandhi, 1995; "Mohan and Rambha" with Dr.Ramchandra Gandhi, 1994; "The Sadhu and the Sage" with lyrics and English narration by philosopher, Dr.Ramchandra Gandhi, 1993; "Pralaya ki Chhaya" (poem by Jai Shankar Prasad), 1991; "Raktamalin Matsarya" (only through music), 1995 etc.
In recognizing her talent several awards have been conferred to her. They are: "Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman Award" of Delhi; "Indira Priyadarshini Award"; "Bihar Gaurav Award"; "Bharat Nirman Puraskar" ; "Rajiv Smriti Puraskar"; "Shringar Shiromani Award"; "Oisca Award (Japan)"; "Rajdhani Ratna Award" ; "Dadabhai Naoroji Award"; "IMM award for Excellence". She has also been awarded one of the highest civilian award "Padmashree" in the year 1992 and the most cherished award of artist people, the "Sangeet Natak Akademi Award" for the year 1999-2000. Shovana has also produced films like "Akbar's Bridge" (Hindi) and "Das Geheimnis des Indisches Tanz" (German), operas like "Ghalib ki Dilli" and 'Wicchare Pani', which received appreciation throughout the world.
Shovana Narayan is a synonym of a true kathak dancer who has always been a dynamic person. She became a role model for her successors.