Kathak is an evolutionary art form which revolves around the concept of storytelling and is one of the most elegant and graceful dance forms. The fascinating aspects of Kathak gives the dancer immense flexibility through sharp yet fluid movements, brisk yet slow paced travelling and movement control by precise breathing technique.
One can witness similarities between other dance forms that hail from other countries like Raqs Sharqi (Egypt), Belly dancing (Middle East), Flamenco (Spain), Tap dance (Ireland) and also Ballet (Russia, France & Italy), particularly the stylized way of travelling, covering the space and the spins show close relationship between these traditions.
History of Kathak
Kathak originated in the villages of India, when villagers shared their life’s experiences with each other by using music, dance and drama. Some of these people started to travel from village to village, kingdom to kingdom spreading their art finally coming to rest in the temples of India. Here they began to enact the stories from the great Indian epics and also started to stylize the art into a classical dance form. The pundits of this art then set the foundations of Kathak and its boundaries got fixed. The discipline to create within a framework routed. The Mughals came from the North-West frontiers, plundering and looting the riches from the temples. Along with the loot the Kathakars were also absorbed into their courts.
The focus of worship was replaced with the appeasement of the Emperor. Text, music, jewellery, costumes and technique of the dance got renovated and evolved rapidly. Kathak developed over the years as the skill was passed on from father to son, guru to shishya. Thus imaged the tradition of guru shishya parampara. Kathak resulted into two main schools: Lucknow and Jaipur gharana. Held within a well defined system of artistic values, the schools display salient features that distinguish them. However, with the passage of time, the demarcations are fast disappearing and with free exchange of the best from each Gharana a third Gharana – generally known as Benaras Gharana – has come to be known.