About Kathak

Expressive, sharp, alluring and precise, Kathak lives today as an important school of classical dance. Kathak is a North Indian classical dance, which originated over 2000 years ago as a temple dance. Kathak derives its name from ancient “Kathikas” of India, who were professional storytellers and recited verses from the great epics using explanatory gestures and music. The “Kathikas” were affiliated with the temples, and their stories and dances formed part of the daily rituals of worship.

The Mogul invasion of India in the 15th century, however, changed the theme of Kathak. Under the Mogul empire, tempting rewards of gifts and riches lured dancers from the temples to affluent Mogul courts. Here, Kathak was influenced by dancers and musicians from Persia. Temple and court Kathak became two distinct styles in atmosphere, theme costume and music. The temple style described the mythological and spiritual significance, while the court style shifted its attention to rhythmic displays, fast footwork and grandiose pirouettes. The major theme shifted from devotionalism to romanticism. Today, the impressive features of both temple and court Kathak have been integrated into one style that balances both the spiritual and physical aspects into one unified dance form.

The technical aspects of Kathak consist of intensive footwork and a variety of spins. The main attraction of Kathak is improvisation of complex rhythms and syllables and the clarity of fast pirouettes . Kathak is also filled with rich, highly stylized and dramatic expressions.


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