Kathak

Kathak

Kathak is one of the leading forms of Indian classical dance. The ancient art of India derived its name “Kathak” from “Katha” the art of storytelling. The Kathak dancers were excellent narrators and storytellers, and they interpreted incidence from the great epics with gestures and music. Through an aesthetically exquisite and continuously evolving style, these storytellers of the past combined dance and music and became the protagonist of the modern Kathak dance.

During the Hindu period, this performing art of North India was nutured in temples for the glory of God. The dancers were mainly Brahmins and held in high esteem. Kathak dance believed in the Vaishnava philosophy and the Radha Krishna theme, passed through a period of renaissance and for some time became a powerful vehicle of entertainment for the Mogul courts. As a result of fusion of the Indo-Mogul culture, Kathak emerged into a new form of dance. Though the basic graces of the old form were retained, a new idiom was definitely added. The moguls brought their Persian art introducing the geometrical patterns and designs, music and dancing with special emphasis on footwork and intricate rhythmic patterns.

There are three main traditionally called “gharanas” in Kathak – Jaipur gharana, Lucknow gharana, and Benaras gharana each having its own characteristics and peculiarities. Katha today has regained its old glory, its rightful place amongst the classical arts of India.