dance form originated in the north and at
first was very similar to the Bharatanatyam.
Persian and Muslim
influences later altered the dance from a temple ritual to a courtly entertainment.
The influence of the Mughal tradition is evident in this dance form, and it has
a distinct Hindu-Muslim texture.
|The word Kathak, derived from 'Katha',
literally means storyteller. In ancient times,
storytellers used song and dance to embellish their narration. This took the form
of Kathakalakshepam and Harikatha
in southern India, and the form of Kathak in the north. Developed initially as
an offering to the gods, around the 15th century, the dance form underwent a drastic
transition due to the influence of Mughal dance
and music. Thus emerged the Lucknow gharana
or school, distinct from the Jaipur School, which focused on stories of Rajput
valor and popular gods. By the sixteenth century, the tight
churidar pyjama became the staple attire of a Kathak dancer.
||The dances are performed straight-legged
and the ankle bells worn by the
dancers adeptly controlled. Kathak has an exciting and entertaining quality with
intricate footwork and
rapid pirouettes being the dominant and most endearing features of
this style. The costumes and themes of these dances are often similar to those
in Mughal miniature paintings.
Though not similar to the Natyasastra, the principles in Kathak are essentially
the same. Here, the accent is more on footwork as against the emphasis on
hasta mudras or hand formations in Bharatanatyam.