History And Dance Performance Of Kathak Dance In English

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History And Dance Performance Of Kathak Dance In English


  • Kathak dance is a North Indian classical dance. The meaning of the word Kathak is to tell the story in dance form. In ancient times Kathak was known as Kushilav.
  • It is a very ancient style as Kathak is also described in Mahabharata. In the medieval period, it was related to Krishna Katha and dance. In the period of Muslims, this was also done in the court. Dance is a means of telling stories.


  • Kathakas, since ancient times, used to narrate stories from the epics and mythology with some elements of dance.
  • The traditions of Kathakas were hereditary. This dance started emerging from generation to generation. We come to know about these Kathakas from the literary references of the 3rd and 4th centuries.
  • The Rasleela during the time of the Bhakti movement had a tremendous impact on Kathak. Kathak was used to narrate stories from the life of Radha Krishna.
  • In the era of the Mughals, it became more famous because of the straight leg dance of the Persian dancers.
  • 150 on foot wearing ankle bells used to show rhythm work using steps.
  • The affair was also introduced during this period. Flexibility has come in this dance. Tabla and Pakhawaj complement this dance.
  • After this, with the passage of time, this dance has undergone changes with the contribution of many important personalities.

Dance Performance

  • Nritta – Vandana is started with invocation of the deities.
  • Thaat – A traditional performance where the dancer stands on a level with a beautiful posture.
  • Aamad – means ‘entrance’ which is the first introduction of rhythmic speech.
  • Salami – a greeting to the audience in the Muslim style.
  • Kavit – The meaning of the poem is performed in dance.
  • Padan – A dance where not only tabla but also pakhawaj is used.
  • Paramelu – A bol or composition where there is an exposition of nature.
  • Gat – Beautiful behavior is shown here.
  • Ladi – Creation of Tatkar while sharing the words.
  • Tithi – A composition where the tatkar is repeated three times and ends dramatically at the same time.
  • Nritya – Bhava is shown in a particular performance style of the oral piece. This acting style originated in the Mughal court. Because of this it is more suitable for a gathering or court so that the audience can see the nuances of the facial expression of the performer and the dancer.


Lucknow Gharana

  • It was born in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. The Agra style of Kathak dance has a graceful, natural balance.
  • Artistic compositions, thumris, etc. are accompanied by abhinaya, as well as emotional styles such as horis (literal performances) and improvisations.
  • Presently, Pandit Birju Maharaj (son of Acchan Maharajji) is considered the main representative of this Gharana.

Jaipur Gharana

  • He was born in the court of the Kachhwa king of Rajasthan. The more technical aspects of the dance are important here in the form of powerful tatkars, multiple twirls and complex compositions in different taals.
  • Pakhawaj is used a lot here. It is the oldest school of Kathak. Promoter of Jaipur Gharana Bhanu ji (famous Shiva Tandav dancer).

Banaras Gharana

  • Janki Prasad did the prestige of this family. Natvari is exclusively used here and pakhawaj, tabla are less used.
  • There is a difference between thaat and tatkar here. The minimum round is taken from both the right and left sides.

Raigad Gharana

  • Maharaja Chakradhar Singh of Chhattisgarh belonged to this family. A unique ambience was created by the confluence of different genres and artistes from different backgrounds and tabla compositions.
  • Pandit Kartik Ram, Pandit Firtu Maharaj, Pandit Kalyandas Mahant, Pandit Burmanlak are famous dancers of this gharana.