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Written by: Kirti

Kathak is a North Indian classical dance, meaning storyteller that is dated back to 1550 B.C. The Kathak that is witnessed today evolved from a group of male dancers called the Kathakas.

Over the various periods and invasions in the history of India, Kathak was most influenced by the Moghul reign.

Being that the Moghuls centrally rules over the northern parts of India, Kathak, more so than other dance styles was most affected and slowly entered into the courts. Over hundreds of years, the arts of the two cultures borrowed from one another and ultimately fused into one.

During this period, Kathak was showered with emotional values, variety of movements and intricate footwork, which exemplifies the modern day characteristics of Khatak.

Traditionally danced by both men and women, what distinguish Kathak from other dance forms are its spontaneity, freedom from uniformity and the room for innovation and improvisations. A Kathak dancer is not required to adhere to fixed steps and stages as well. He or she can change the sequence of stages to suit his or her aptitude and style of dancing. At times the drummer weaves a complex design, which is danced by the dancer and thus begins a contest.

Kathak based on bhava (mood), raga (melody) and tala (rhythmic beat) has its compositions based on North Indian classical music. The first category in this dance reflects the religious and the devotional sentiment while the second one reflects a clear cut erotic taste and tang. The dancer himself usually does the singing. The expressional numbers, which are Hindi, Hindustani or Urdu language pertaining to Krishna Leela legends from the Puranas or a love episode, are retold and interpreted through abhinaya, facial expressions and postures.

Sometimes a Kathak item called gatbhava may be without a chant or singing. Here the dancer takes the Radha Krishna episode and interprets it through mime only. The dancer plays various roles whose changes are marked by pirouettes from one side to the other. Kathak is fundamentally a solo performance.

For classes in North Indian Classical Dance - Kathak, Contact:

Ghungroo Dance Academy
Kirti: 082 703 1870


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