Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan who is currently in Vienna is excited about two milestones in her life—she has just become a proud grandmother for the second time and her well-known dance school Asavari is turning 40 next week. She says, "I started teaching in 1973 soon after Pandit Shambhu Maharaj ji's death to help his family and my dance school Asavari was registered as a society to impart dance teaching in July 1979."
On May 6, Shovana held a mega dance event with performances by some of her most illustrious students like Supriya Sathe granddaughter of former minister Vasant Sathe and attended by culture stalwarts like Chak de actor Jayshree Arora and Suneet Tandon, Director Habitat Centre, and former Doordarshan newsreader to celebrate the twin milestones. Shovana says, “I think there is a lot of interest among the young children. Parents can send them by force for some time but the fact that the children are learning the dance dedicatedly year after year shows their own inner inclination and interest. My first disciple of 1973, Shruti Gupta Chandra is the daughter of well-known Hindi writer and litterateur, Jainendra Kumar Jain. Supriya Sathe is the granddaughter of late Union Minister Vasant Sathe. I am proud of disciples like Shriya Sharan who became one of the top stars of southern cinema and Shruti Chandra who became a well-known painter. Another student Beenu Rajpoot became a film-maker. It is very satisfying to see them combine a passion for dance along with their careers.”
Shovana, who is married to Austrian Dr Herbert Traxi, is looking forward to seeing her grandchildren develop an interest in Kathak. She says, “They will naturally be exposed to Indian Classical dance, Kathak and to Western Classical music. But we will have to see where their natural talents lie. Even their names are transcontinental and transcultural: The elder one is called Lyla which means graceful and charming (in Sanskrit - for it is a derivative of Leela), midnight beauty (Hebrew and Arabic), an Island girl (Scottish). The younger one, the newborn baby girl is named Suri which means Sun Goddess (Sanskrit, in Puranas), arose in Urdu and a princess in Hebrew. Right now, I couldn’t be more delighted with my life!”