As part of this year’s Offbeat Festival on 15th July at the Old Fire Station on Oxford’s George Street we were treated to an evening of Kathak dance and music presented as “Going Global”.  The instrumentalists included the amazing tabla player, Master Sanju Sahai, along with violinist Alice Barron, and sitar player and vocalist Debipriya Sircar.  Jaymini Sahai leads the company and is its solo Kathak dancer.  The troupe was sponsored and presented by Aradhana Arts.

The evening began with an introduction by Jaymini Sahai in which she explained that among the eight major Indian dance styles – or forms – Kathak represented best those from the North of the country along with the Panjabi Bhangra.  The famous Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu represented those from southern India along with the dramatic Kathakali dance drama form.   Sahai further explained that all Indian dances are a form of storytelling.  And that, under the Mogul’s rule in Northern India, Kathak dance became a dance for the courts of the emperors and was in this way refined in its gestures.

(more…)