On each Scratch Night at the Old Fire Station, local and regional theatre performers, comedians or dance artists perform works in progress for audiences to watch and give feedback on.  This month, DANCE SCRATCH takes place, supported by the wonderful organisation, Oxford Dance Forum (ODF) on Tuesday 21st July.  Dancers get a chance to try out works-in-progress in a safe space; for audiences it is an opportunity to see new dance work and give feedback.  Artists presenting on this occasion are Butoh group Cafe Reason, Paulette Mae, Anuradha Chaturvedi & Meena Anand, and Roosa Leimu-Brown & Anja Meinhardt.

The four dancers in this Bharatanatyam performance – Sapna Shankar, Meena Anand, Aarti Jaganath and Anjana Rajukumar – are senior members of Kala Arpan, the Oxford-based dance organisation for the study, performance and appreciation of Indian classical dance.  Kala Arpan means ‘Offering of Art’, which sums up the main aims of the show: to share ‘the pure essence and joy of dancing’ while adding to our understanding of Bharatanatyam.  Margam: A Traditional Bharatanatyam Repertoire did both in abundance.  Margam means ‘The Path’, a metaphor for the structure and traditional repertoire of a secular Bharatanatyam recital, which began to evolve into its present form in the 18th century.  The informative programme notes told us this is a suite of independent dances, performed in a specific order, to display all components of the dance form(technique, expression and dance-drama). The symbolic and spiritual dimensions of ‘The Path’ are rooted in Bharatanatyam’s temple dance origins over 2000 years ago and the current repertoire has a devotional and celebratory intent inspired by the actions and different manifestations of Hindu deities, devotional poems and songs. (more…)