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A Brief Overview of Indian Classical Dance Form

16th Mar, 2022

Kathak is one of the most elegant and oldest dance forms of India. It is an excellent form of art that consists of mesmerizing footwork, inexplicable charm and graceful movements. Among the eight Indian classical dance forms, Kathak is the only one from Northern India. You can join a Kathak dance academy and master this particular and graceful art form. The term Kathak originally came from the Sanskrit word “Katha”, which means storytelling.

Classical dances of India

History of Kathak

Kathak dance form is an amalgamation of three different arts-dance, music and drama. Both Muslims and Hindu communities enjoyed this graceful dance form as court entertainment. Storytellers or Kathakkars traveled from one place to another to spread their art. The Pandits in the temples motivated these storytellers to narrate specific great epics such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas and Puranas through their dance movements.

Three Main Sections of Kathak Dance

Take a look at the three essential sections of a Kathak dance written below:

  • Invocation: In this section, the Kathak artists or Kathakkars offer salutation and prayer to their Guru and God. When the Hindu performances are considered, these artists use several hand gestures known as Mudras. For Muslim events, the dancers use a ‘salami’.
  • Nritta: The pure, elegant and graceful dance that the Kathak artist presents. They begin their dance with graceful and slow movements of their wrists, neck and eyebrows. Artists also display energetic footwork as well, which is worth looking at.
  • Nritya: In this particular section, the Kathak artist narrates a theme or a story through expressions, slow body movements and gestures accompanied by instrumental and vocal music.

Music and Instrument in Kathak

A Kathak performance might require twelve traditional instruments necessary for a specific execution. Some of the commonly utilized instruments include Tabla and Manjira. The tabla blends especially with the foot movements of the artists and creates a satisfying Jugalbaandi. On the other hand, Manjira is a hand instrument used frequently with a Harmonium or Sarangi. Enroll yourself in Kathak dance classes and learn about this unique dance form.

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Some Facts About Kathak

A brief overview of Kathak is mentioned below. Take a look.

  1. Lady Leela Sokhey reintroduced this classical dance form in the twentieth century.
  2. Like Manipuri, Odissi and Bharatanatyam, Kathak creates a magical pure dance sequence by combining several movement units.
  3. Since it is Hindustani Music based, the development of several gharanas is an essential component of Kathak:
    1. Jaipur: It was established in Jaipur by Bhanuji. It emphasizes speed, fluidity and lengthy rhythmic patterns.
    2. Lucknow: Kathak in Lucknow mainly pays attention to grace and expression.
    3. Raigarh: Kathak in Raigarh grew under the sponsorship of Raja Chakradhar Singh. It emphasizes percussion music.
    4. Banaras: Kathak in Banaras built their foundation under the leadership of Janakiprasad. They use more footwork along with a strong emphasis on symmetry.
  4. This form of classical dance is famous for its pirouettes and precise footwork.
  5. Kathak recitals have several components. Some of them are:
    1. The Kathak dancer enters the stage through an initial element known as Ananda.
    2. Thaat means varied and soft movements.
    3. Tukdas and Todas are fast-paced and short pieces.
    4. The main attraction in a Kathak concert is the Jugalbandi. It reflects a competitive and exciting understanding between the tabla player and the dancer.
    5. Tarana starts and ends with rhythmic gestures.
    6. Kramalaya is the central and final part that includes quick and intricate footwork.
    7. Gat bhav refers to a dance performance without music or chanting. Gat bhav describes legendary events.
  6. During the phase of Mughal period, ghazals, taranas and thumris were incorporated.
  7. In Kathak, there are three forms of Tandavas such as:
    1. Shiva Tandava
    2. Krishna Tandava
    3. Ravana Tandava
    4. There is a fourth one-Kalika Tandava which is also used frequently.
  8. The Tandava dance form reflects the male aspects of dancing. It mainly focuses on the movement along with the rhythm. It generally depicts Lord Shiva’s Rudra Bhava. Energetic and sharp movements distinguish it.
  9. Enrolling yourself in a Kathak dance class will enable you to apply these facts mentioned above.

Benefits of Learning Kathak

Learning Kathak Has Several Potential Benefits. Some of them are:

  • Kathak has the capability of making you physically strong and fit. It helps build solid muscles and includes a lot of footwork, hand gestures and eye expressions. If you are into Kathak, you will not gain body weight.
  • Kathak helps you to focus and concentrate. Since this dance form consists of various nuanced movements, you need to master the art.
  • It will help you improve your expressions and learn more about Indian Heritage and Culture.

The Bottom Line

Learning Kathak will make you a better storyteller, and it will enable you to balance your body through footwork. Join a Kathak dance academy now and be an inspiration for thousands of others. For more information click here https://kafqa.com/.

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