A publication of the Batish Institute of Indian Music and Fine Arts

Kathak Dance

by Meena Batish

Under Construction

  1. History

  2. My Teacher

  3. Some Famous Katak Dancers

  4. Gharanas

  5. Introduction to the Basics

  6. Tabla Bols vs Kathak Bols

  7. Kathak Attire


Interview with Pt. S. D. Batish

Kathak Dance:

This is a North Indian classical Dance


the fifth veda.... Natya Shastra??? Natya meaning dance shastra meaning treatise. ============================================ All forms of classical dance are based on detailed rules and systemised sequences of movements as laid down in the Bharata Natya Sastra, the ancient book on dance and music and drama. This book was possibly written by Bharat Muni, and has been variously dated between the second century BC and the fifth century AD. The main styles of classical dance are the following. ======================================== The Dance of the Kathakars --------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to ancient myth, the dance of the Kathakars was created by the divine inspiration of the Hindu Trinity of gods Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, after it was brought to their attention that there needed to be a mythological story that would bring consciousness to the people of northern India and give meaning to their lives. The dances are seen to have been a divine collaboration of the gods, Brahma created the "Natya Shastra," a systematic form of dance, while Indian classical dance was created by Shiva. ====================================================== The Kathak dance derives its name from the community of Kathaks, who are the custodians of the traditional art. According to ancient lexicons and literary work, 'katha' once meant narration, though today it is used to refer to 'the art of story-telling.' It is through the medium of Kathakar that knowlede and information was communicated to the people. In Hindu mythology, there are a series of mythological episodes that tell the tale of how dance was created. ================================================================== Kathak is the most prominent style of North Indian classical dance. Its name derives from the sanskrit words for "story" and for "making", thus referring to one main feature of this style, the telling of stories by the means of dance. The dancer represents all the characters of the story with the help of a repertoire of gestures, facial expressions and graceful movements of the limbs. =========================================================== Associated with "Katha" story telling. The happenings of ancient mythalogical heros were told in a story. Kathaks are the story tellers. -------------------------------------- The stories performed in Kathak come from different strata of Indian literature. The oldest are from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Many stories and songs of medieval origin are in praise of Lord Krishna. ==================================================================== Kathak, the dance of North India, literally means storyteller - a reference to those people known as Kathakas who travelled around the country entertaining and educating people with sacred legend, folklore, and mythology. This old form of entertainment later incorporated music, dance, mime, and comedy, thereby becoming a distinct dance form, including sculptered poses, hand gestures or mudras, and most important, facial expression or abhinaya. ================================================================== Kathak originated with the story tellers of Indian temples. "Katha Kahay so Kathak kahaye". One who tells a story is a story teller or a Kathak. This story telling took the form of a dance that was in the praise of the lord and was performed predominantly in temples. ================================================================== `Kathakar' is one who narrates a story. Deriving its name from this and adopting the method of story-telling through its form, the art of `Kathak' has gained universal appeal. ======================================================================= Kathak belongs to North India, and emphasises the telling of stories with the help of mime and body technique. It is danced by both sexes. =================================================================== The Dress: he dances are performed straight-legged and the ankle bells worn by the dancers adeptly controlled. Kathak dance as a court performance art is reflected in its lavish costuming of today. Its first strongly documented period of history extends from a time of royal patronage in the palaces of northern India, roughly between the 16th and 19 centuries. This was an era of great social and political change, from the reign of Mughal emperor, Akbar the Great, through the advent of the British Raj. Throughout the history of northern India, successive invasions and foreign domination have resulted in cultural merges which influenced both the presentation style, and content of a kathak performance. Ankle Bells for sale?? How to design your ankle bells. Precautions to take. Don't dance on cement.... use wood floor. etc. ================================================================= Tandava and Lasyava Tandava=footwork (tatkaar) Laasyava=expression (bhavaarthat)

Both these are equally important for the dancer to emulate.

----------------------------------------------------- Indian dance was first created by Lord Shiva. One of the most vital and sublime forms of Shiva is Nattaraj who creates and destroys through his cosmic dance. Later, his art was passed on to the human world by the yogis, Narad and Bharata Muni, through the treatises known as the Rig Vedas and Natya Sastra. In these books the authors reveal the science of dance and drama according to the principles rooted in Indian philosophy, ancient ritual, and contemplative experience. ============================================================================

Tandava dance of Shiva. In North India mritya

It is said that in order to slay the demon Tripurasur, the dance initiated by the Lord almighty Shiva Shankar, summoned the Veera (heroic) and Raudra (Anger) rasas (emotions). Today this form of Nritya is called Tandava. Some even call this Shiv Tandava. The veera rasa is the dominant emotion but it is also and excellent medium to express rasas of raudra, cruelty, and Anchapalya?? The evocation of the Tandava dance and the rasas brought forth, gives a very powerful message of the victory of good over evil and the resultant attainment of tranquility . During the dance, the destructive forces portrayed by the strong heroic and angery emotions often raises such emotions in its audience, you feel the forces of vengence and the earth shake beneath your feet. It seems as thought the world is coming to an end. You become a believer in the powers that have given us this earth, this life, and our daily pleasures realising the ease with which these powers can snatch all this away. There are many varieties of Tandava. Sanhaar Tandava, Tripura Tandava, Kaalik Tandava etc. The mridanga, pakhavaj or the tabla are the drums of choice that are used to accompany the dancers. The music is usually composed in raga Bhairava. The rhythmic bols selected for this dance are also very powerful and talas used are crooked?? Examples of the bols are TaDaKaTaDaKaDhiTaa - N Ga, DhiTaKa, DiGa, DiLanGa, ToGa, DhiKiTa, TaKaa-Na, TiDaaMa, etc. Lasya It is said that after Lord Shiva Shankar had slain the demon Tripuraasur then to express this happiness and in order to calm Lord Shiva and his wife Goddes Parvati initiated a dance evoking the shrigaar and rasa. This dance is today known to us as Lasya. It has a very soothing and calming quality to it. It is believed that Parvati taught this dance to Usha, the wife of Vaanasur, Usha performed this in Dwarika (the birth place of lord Krishna) and from this place it spread across the land. The tradition of Rasa Mandal began here as lord krishna ???? In order to evoke the shringaar rasa, the upper part of the body is used in creating expressive gestures. The face and the eyes play a powerful role. There are many varieties of Lasya dance. Visham, Vikita, and laghu. The dances of Kathak, Bharatnaatyam, Manipuri etc., are all born from Lasya. This dance exemplifies the mellower, sensual, and the calmer emotions in mankind. It is performed by both men and women. started from the time of Krishna??. His eternal dance with 60,000 gopis is deemed the start of this tradition. Called the Raas Leela tradition.

During the reign of Sarajudaula of Lukhnow his secrect rooms used to have frequent Raas dances to the extent in his ecstacy the nawab would dorn the dress of Radha. The Nawab was arrested at one time with women's clotehs on.

Tansen's Ustadm, Baba Haridaas started three traditions (paramparas) singing, instrumental, and and Kathat dance.

His first shagirdh was Kalka Bindadeen. whose children were Achan Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj. Lachhju Maharaj was a very famous coreographer for the filkm industry aroud the '50s. Lachhju Maharajo have worked with Panditji in Shaam Savera movie.

This is a North Indian tradition --------------------------------------------- that Kathak dance can be either pure or narrative. The narrative dances tell stories, both through the music and motions. Kathak dance originated in northern India =======================================================

Hereo and heroine are primarily actinb out the episodes of the life story of Radha nad consort Krishna.

Mostly court dancers after the demise of the mughal raja, professional songstress and danseuces adopted this art form for display to the general public in theatre as well as red light districts. ----------------------------------------------------------- In the middle ages this dance form was patronized by the Mughal rulers of India who brought to India their liking of dance from Persia. This was an age where the thrust of Kahtak moved from the devotional to entertainment. =============================================================== Kathak has two major techniques : Nritta and Abhinaya. Nritta to put in simple words means pure dance. It is not expressional or interpretative. Abhinaya on the other hand is expressional and attempts to tell a story. There are three major schools of Kathak in India, each originating in one of the three Northern cities of Lucknow, Jaipur or Benaras and named after them. ============================================================ Kathak performances consist of two parts, Nritta and Nritya. The former, the so-called technical part, is a abstract dance with a tremendous sense of rhythm and joy of movement. The beauty of this part of Kathak lies in the exact rendering of the rhythmic patterns, given by the instruments, through graceful body movements and mastery of the artist's footwork. The second part of a Kathak performance is called Nritya, that means abhinaya, which is the explanation of a story or a song through facial expressions, gestures of the hands and symbolic postures of the body. The Kathak style is not totally rigid, however; it allows the artist to use a variety of free movements, thus leaving the interpretation of a story to the dancer's power of imagination and creativity. ======================================================================= Kathak was greatly influenced by the Hindu-Mughal fusion. No longer was the attention given to the temple dance but rather to the courtesan dancer. It is due to this mingling of cultures that Kathak is now composed of fast turns, complicated footwork, and an intricate rhythmic language. ======================================================= [Image] The Kathak dance form originated in the north and at first was very similar to the Bharat Natyam. 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. =================================================================== There are three gharanas of Kathak, the Jaipur, Lucknow and Banaras schools. The gharana of Jaipur stresses technical items like toda and tukda, and ancient story telling. The Lucknow style is famous for graceful expression of romantic feelings. It was to a great extent influenced by the Moghul rulers, who also favoured thumris and ghazals. ========================================================================== the words arein fact a part of the dance, sometimes telling a story, and other times telling her body how to move. =====================================================================

In Rajasthan street kathak dancers are often followed by their husbands playing the dhol drum while they go door to door collecting money.

Alakha Nanda and Sitara Devi are two more that have worked woth Panditji They were sisters.


Alakha Nanda's son gopi krishna has worked in ShantaRam's hit movie Navarang????. A must see. Rent it. ASK SINDER!

Coregraphed in many movies oput of Bombay.

=================================================================== Standard Musical Accompaniment: Bols are wordless syllables woven into compositions (also called bols). They comprise a language on which the kathak repertoire is created, remembered, and passed from generation to generation. Bols are first recited by the dancer. Then, they are precisely reproduced with corresponding sounds created by the bells and footwork, along with body movements, punctuated with gestures and stances. Musical accompaniment for kathak dance includes that of a tabla player, who also recreates the compositions with corresponding strokes on the drums. Example of a Kathak Bol Ta Thai Thai Tat Aa Thai Thai Tata etc. Give Example of Tintal with this.......

Hand Gestures

Mudras?? Gifs of hand mudras.

Other Issues:

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