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Kathak Footwork-Learn The Techniques of Chakkars or Spins

6th May, 2022

Before you join a class to learn Kathak online, let us discuss the importance of Kathak footwork and how it differentiates itself from other dance forms.

Kathak is one of India's eight major classical dance forms. The word Kathak means "storytelling art." It is also associated with the Kathakas, a group of artists who used dance, sing, and mime to bring the ancient scriptures and epics to life.

Kathak gradually went out of temples and into the courts of Hindu maharajas and Muslim nawabs, beginning as a religious expression. Kathak developed in the Hindu courts of Rajasthan's vast semi-desert, with the Jaipur Gharana (school) emphasising technical mastery of pure dance.

Basic Footwork for Beginners

To the east, at Wajid Ali Shah's court, the dance stressed dramatic and sensual aspects while maintaining the delicacy of the Lucknow Gharana. Fast footwork, lightning pirouettes, rhythmic complexity, dramatic storytelling, improvisation, and poetic expression have become hallmarks of today's kathak art form.

It has evolved into a lovely dance form that incorporates poetry and rhythmic movement. Kathak music is based on the Hindustani music style, a traditional classical style from Northern India. The Tabla, Harmonium, Sitar, and Sarangi are some of the most common instruments employed in this art form.

Kathak is a visually stunning dance form characterised by complex kathak footwork and delicate gestures. Chakkars, or continuous rhythmic spinning, is one of the most spectacular gestures in a performance (pirouettes). They are an important aspect of performing Tukdas and Todas (Kathak dance routines), and mastering them takes time and patience. Depending on the composition and beat cycle, dancers can perform 24 chakkars, 30 chakkars, or even more.

These chakkars are classified into three types based on their amount of complexity, balancing abilities, and speed. Beginners should begin with the first type of chakkar, which involves spinning in five steps and is the easiest to balance. The second style is two-step spinning, which is done to quicker beats and requires more balance and control. Spinning with only one stride or on the heel is the third style, which necessitates extreme precision and accuracy. Not only is the spinning component of this exercise difficult, but so is landing accurately at the end of the several spins on the last beat (sam).

If not done correctly, one may trip and fall, become dizzy, or fail to complete the spins at the correct time and location. Regular practice is essential to acquire this combination of speed and frequency when performing the chakkars.

Following are the Ways To Do Kathak Chakkar Properly -

1. True North

While taking consecutive chakkars on a single area, one must concentrate on one position and name the space around them in definite directions (North, South, East, and West). One must be totally aware of one's body, thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and surroundings.

This constant awareness makes it easier to navigate through space without becoming disoriented. Setting your compass to your True North – the direction in which you want to keep moving – is also the first step in becoming agile for leaders and teams as well.

2. Grounding

Kathak puts a lot of emphasis on grounding force, creating vibrations throughout the body, producing rhythm, and developing mastery over the body, thanks to its precise footwork (tatkar).

Tatkar was first used to establish a spiritual connection between the body and the Earth in order to connect to God. Vocal Tatkar bols (Ta, Thai, Thai, Tat) and foot stamps combine to create these rhythmic sounds. Tatkar creates power and energy flow via the soles of the feet into the body when this combination is appropriately executed, resulting in mind-body harmony.

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This is something that takes years of practice to master. The interesting thing about tatkar is that you don't have to keep an eye on your legs while tapping them on the ground; the ingrained muscle memory takes care of everything, and all you have to do is look ahead, smile, and let your feet lead the way.

3. Flexibility

We focus on moving different body parts independently of one another while we practice Kathak. The body has an inherent understanding of both asymmetry and symmetry. Asymmetrical dancing motions, such as the left hand gracefully pointing in the right direction while the left leg simultaneously stretches in the opposite way, can be executed in a symmetrical ensemble at times.

Similarly, tapping your feet (tatkar) in a synced rhythm without moving your other body parts is an essential exercise for improving your reaction time. This gives for a great deal of flexibility when moving quickly and rhythmically.


If you are planning to enrol your child in a Kathak dance class but because of having a tight schedule, they could not manage time to learn the dance form, then you can certainly look for some online-based platforms to learn Kathak online and with the comfort of home. KAFQA Academy is providing you with the best online kathak classes. So, do not wait anymore! Visit their website and courses offered, and get your child enrolled with them to master Kathak.

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