North Indian Dance
Form - Kathak Dance, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India
Indian Classical Dance of Storytelling
What is Kathak? Kathak
is a very well known and important, classical Indian dance
form of North India. The term "Kathak" is derived
from the word 'Katha' or "story telling".
of Kathak Dance If
we were to trace the origin of this beautiful and elegant
dance, we would go back to the times of ancient India when
nomadic bards or 'Kathakars' travelled between different
villages, reciting and performing tales from mythology &
the scriptures. Usually, these performances were accompanied
by live music, dance, dramatic facial expressions, hand gestures
and acts of mime. Some of the most popular themes included
Radha, Krishna, Shiva, Parvati as well as scenes from daily
life and historical events.
& Popularity When
the Mughals came to India, this art form found a place in
the King's courts. Hence, with time, Kathak became a significant
form of entertainment (and was called "Nautch")
instead of just pure devotion. From then on, the Kathak dance
form started getting its true structure, evolving through
the years. What began as a solo dance performance later diversified
into group performances by troupe of Kathak dancers.
Dance Techniques Today,
Kathak is recognised as a graceful, and elegant dance which
can be performed by men and women. The two main techniques
of this dance include "Nritya" or "pure dance"
and "Abhinaya" or "emotions & expressions".
What is truly spectacular about Kathak is the manner in which
it provides the dancer opportunities for improvisation and
& It's Gharanas The three main gharanas of
the Kathak Dance are - Lucknow Gharana, Jaipur Gharana
& Varanasi Gharana. These gharanas have played an
important role in reviving this beautiful dance form.
In the beginning, most female Kathak dancers wore a long
skirt or the ghagra accompanied by a blouse or choli and
a veil or dupatta. However, after the Mughal influence, the
long skirt and blouse were replaced with the churidar kameez
combination - churidar or tight pants and a long flowing kameez
or angrakha which was tight fitting above the waistline and
loose and flowing, waist down. Male Kathak dancers usually
wear the Kurta & churidaar or pyjama. Optional items include
the cap, bandi, etc.
The Kathak costume
is incomplete without the all-important ghungroos or the
ankle bells. As the dancer moves his/her feet to the sounds
of the Tabla, the ghungroos add their beautiful melody, adding
a special charm to the Kathak performance. Some of the other
ornaments worn by the Kathak dancer include the maang tika,
beautiful and attractive gold and silver ornaments for the
various parts of the body such as the head, neck, hands, fingers,
waist and feet.
During the Kathak
performance, there may be vocal or instrumental music of
of the well known masters of Kathak Dance include
- Birju Maharaj
are Invited Are you a Kathak
Dancer? To add greater value to this page, we invite you
to contribute your picture in your traditional Kathak dance costume
for inclusion on this webpage. We'll surely add your name under
the picture as a token of thanks (Courtesy:) Email us at email@example.com