INDIAN DANCE FORM KATHAK
DANCES OF INDIA – KATHAK DANCE
Kathak Dance is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh State, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement.
The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means she who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day kathak. “kathaa kahe so kathak” is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, she who tells a story is a kathak, but which can also be translated, ‘that which tells a story, that is ‘Kathak.’
The structure of a conventional Kathak Dance performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. A short danced composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a toda. There are also compositions consisting solely of footwork. Often the performer will engage in rhythmic ‘play’ with the time-cycle, for example splitting it into triplets or quintuplets which will be marked out on the footwork, so that it is in counterpoint to the rhythm on the percussion.