Classical Dance: Kathak

By Atlantis7807 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Kathak is one of the eight classic dancing forms in India. The name itself is stemmed from the Sanskrit word– Katha (Story). The storyteller of a story is called Katthaka in Sanskrit. Hence this dancing form which tells an account via the expressions, as well as body movements, became known as Kathak. The dancing form of Kathak has three primary schools which have their one-of-a-kind style and instruments. The schools called Gharanas are Lucknow Gharana, Banaras Gharana, and Jaipur Gharana. The first 2 Gharanas are the ones from Uttar Pradesh. The Lucknow Gharana has a great deal of Mughal impact reflected in it. The Banaras Gharana highlights a lot of use of the dance flooring, not just for movement of the feet but also a fall down motion which reveals the danseuse embracing the floor.

It was during the Mughal period; in 16th century A.D. that Kathak received Royal backing and was performed in the courts to amuse the Royals. During this period, Kathak received aspects of the blend from other dancing forms like the Persian dance form in which the art of straight leg movements was presented as additionally the spinning movements.

In the following years, Kathak received the royal patronage of the Nawab of Awadh– Wajid Ali Shah which was the main reason behind the production of the Lucknow Gharana in the 19th century. The Lucknow Gharana reached the pinnacle of excellence under the guidance of Thakur Prasad Maharaj, who was the chief court professional dancer in the Nawab’s court. His tradition was continued by his boys- Bindadin Maharaj and also Kalkadin Maharaj.

Around the same time, the Banaras Gharana also progressed. A gentleman developed this Gharana by the name of Janakiprasad. Throughout British rule in India, Kathak became described as a tacky entertainment form related to the profession of immoral ladies. From then on, Kathak saw a sharp decrease in its popularity. Throughout the early 20th century, Kalka Prasad Maharaj, a descendant of Thakur Prasad Maharaj brought Kathak back on the world stage. His future generations continued his work.

There are two styles of doing Kathak. The first one is Nritta, which has a framework of pure dancing in which the performances moves from slow to a quicker speed and afterward getting to an apex at the climax. It frequently has two types of compositions. The much shorter ones are called tukra and also the longer ones are called toda. The 2nd style is called Nritya, which focuses on expressions as the primary setting. This design utilizes pieces of emotions to communicate a story. This performance style is likewise known as Bhaav Bataanaa. The modern-day Kathak utilizes more of Nritya style.


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