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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Kathak

Kathak Dance

Finding its origins from the Ras Leela of Brajbhoomi, Kathak is the traditional dance form of Uttar Pradesh. 

Kathak procured its name from the 'Kathika' or the story-tellers who recited verses from the folk tales, with gestures and music.

During the Mughal era, the dance degenerated into a lascivious style and branched off into court dance. It was also determined by Persian costumes and styles of dancing. The classical style of Kathak was resuscitated by Lady Leela Sokhey in the 20th century.


Some of the hallmarks of Kathak are:

An important attribute of Kathak is the development of different gharanas as it is based on the Hindustani style of music:

  • Lucknow: Reached its pinnacle under the rule of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. It puts more importance on expression and grace.

  • Jaipur: Initiated by Bhanuji, it emphasized fluency, speed, and long rhythmic patterns.

  • Raigarh: It developed under the encouragement of Raja Chakradhar Singh. It is idiosyncratic in its emphasis on percussion music.

  • Banaras: It developed under Janakiprasad. It sees greater use of floor and lays special emphasis on symmetry.

Kathak dance form is characterized by the use of serpentine footwork and pirouettes.


The element of a Kathak recital are:

  • Ananda or the introductory item through which the dancer set to foot into the stage.


  • Todas and Rukdas are small pieces of fast rhythm.

  • Jugalbandi is the main charisma of the Kathak recital which shows a competitive play between the dancer and the tabla player.

  •  Padhant is a special feature in which the dancer recites complicated bols and Illustrates them.

  • Tarana is similar to thillana, which comprises of pure rhythmic movements.


  • Gat bhaav is a dance without any music or chanting (chorus). This is used to outline different mythological episodes.

Kathak is generally accompanied by dhrupad music. Tarana, thumris, and ghazals were also introduced during the Mughal period.



Fig: Kathak Dance






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