Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian Classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. As mentioned in famous phrase “katha kahe so kathak kahave” the one who tells the story is a Kathak); this dance form traces its roots from the tradition of storytellers.This dance form is also known as ‘Natavari Nrutya’.
Natya Shastra by Sage Bharata and Abhinay Darpan by Nandikeshwara are the guiding scripts for the technique (Nritta) and expression (Nritya) of this dance form.
The structure of a conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. Rhythmic footwork, types of spins and suggestive, subtle expression are the fortes of Kathak.
Traditional Kathak dance presentation includes – Showcasing a Taal(Performing on a specific cycle of beats) in Nrutta section ,Performing on emotion filled compositions in the Nrutya section,also presenting special compositions which are extesions of the Kathakdance Technique eg. Chatrang,Sargam,Tarana,Trivat etc.
‘Ghungroo’ (The Bells) tied to ankles are essential for creating musical sound patterns during Kathak performance. Live Kathak performance is always accompanied by North Indian classical music orchestra. The orchestra includes Tabla (The percussion instrument), Flute (The wind instrument), Sarangi (The string instrument) or Harmonium , Padhant (The person who continuosly recites dance language and keeps track of Taal which is cycle of beats).
There are two types of traditional costumes.
- Ghagra Choli dupatta – Long skirt,blouse,veil influenced by Hindu King’s petronage
- Anarkali kurta,pyjama,topi – Long Frock with Jacket ,skinny long leggings,coat and cap,influenced by Moghal Kings(Nawabs)
Most of the Traditional Kathak dance compositions are presented in Sanskrit ,Hindi and Braj Bhasha(dilect of Hindi) languages.
The Famous Legacies(Gharanas) of Kathak dance –
- The Lacknow Gharana
- The Jaipur Gharana
- The Benaras Gharana
And a few of The Legendary Kathak dancers –
Kalikaprasad Maharaj, Bindadin Maharaj, Acchan Maharaj, Lacchu Maharaj, Shambhu Maharaj , Pt. Birju Maharaj,Pt .Mohan rao Kallianpurkar, Natartaj Gopikrishna, Lt.Pt. Rohini Bhate,Dr Sitara Devi,Roshan Kumari , Smt Damayanti Joshi,Geetanjali Lal,Smt Shovana Narayan, Smt Kumudini Lakhia, Smt Maya Rao, Rajendra Gangani,Chitresh Das,Smt Uma Dogra.