Kathak
Passion for DanceWorld Contemporary

A Dance form ethereal in its fluidity, liquid in its grace. Expressions, gestures, music, rhythm, movement all come together and tell stories from ecstatic celebrations of life.It’s effect mystical and mesmerizing, a celebration of all the senses. The dance is ancient – it’s language universal.

  

This is the magic of Kathak!

The word kathak, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Katha’ means the art of storytelling. Thought to be as old as the Aryan civilization, Kathak was born in the temples and told stories of religion and mythology. Later, under the patronage of the Moghuls, Kathak flourished in the royal courts and a growing appreciation of this art led to an enhancement in the dance itself. With the Moghuls influence came more emphasis on intricate technique, mathematically sophisticated footwork and a complex use of rhythm and time measurement. Thus, Kathak emerged stronger with the fusion of the two varying Hindu and Muslim cultures woven into its intricate fabric.

In the 19th century, two schools of or ‘gharanas’ of Kathak emerged. The Lucknow gharana focused more on expressional work and intricate gestures, while the Jaipur gharana excelled in a powerful display of rhythmic technique. During the 20th century, Kathak relinquished its identity as an exclusively solo form and dance drama became its essential ingredient.

The Kathak of today is attuned to the present day’s socially aware climate and is influenced by current thoughts such as socialism, symbolism, realism and Freud’s concept of life force. A western influence is also evident in the costumes, make-up and stage effects. Kathak described as mathematical permutations within a rhythmic cycle, can also be described as mystical. A lot can be said about its mesmerizing beauty, but Kathak is simply, a celebration of all the senses – and only life does justice to bringing its soul alive.