Kathak Dance Classical Dance of India:
Kathak dance is one of the ancient classical dance forms of India. The dance is the tradition of storytelling with classical dance gestures to understand the theme of the audience quickly. Around 2000 BC, the dance was traditional in Aryan civilised places. Kathak is a Hindi word that means narrating a story.
In ancient times, ‘Kathaks’ were a caste whose professional storytellers wandered from one village to another to narrate the stories from India’s Hindu Mythologies and folklore. Music adds to the dance; the artists perform it and tell the story with dance movements. This type of dance and story narration became memorable to the spectators.
Kathak Dance During Ancient Period:
Kathak dance was effortless, but it has been changed into the present form in later years. Especially during the Vaishnavism movement between the 13th and 16th century AD, the artists adopted the stories of Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as Krishna for Kathak dance. The Kathak stories are awe-inspiring, and the artists had been changed their style of performing Kathak dance. Some kings and local devotees supported the dancers to give Classical dance performances in every village in those days. This period is a significant landmark in the development of Kathak dance, and the Radha and Krishna stories became a playfield to the dancers for their classical dance.
Kathak Dance and Divisions:
Kathak’s dance presentation is divided into three parts. The first one is Natya; this is like a drama; the dancers present the story’s theme before the public. The second one is the Nritta, which means pure dance. In this dance, the artists dance with imaginary movements according to the adopted story for dance. The third one is Nritya, which implies the dancer performs meaningful expressions and mimetic during the classical dance performance. In Nritya, the dancer performs the emotions of the story characters with the infinite bliss of union with God. This classical dance is also divided into two feelings of the stories.
Kathak Dance Style:
The dance revolves around the Radha and Krishna theme and plays Hindustani dance during the classical performance. The dancers wear 200 bells on their feet which are called ghungroos. The musical instruments are Sarangi and Tabla. Traditionally this classical dance is a solo dance, and later group compositions too placed in Kathak dance. In Kathak, the dancers express the Nava-Rasas(nine moods) and the ash-nayikas9Eight states of a maiden in love).
Kathak Dance During Mughal Emperors:
During the reign of the Mughal emperor, dance transformed from a traditional outlook to entertainment. The Mughal courts encouraged the dancers to focus on technical virtuosity. Grace, Charm, and delicacy of women became a vital dance style. The Mughal court Kathak dancers started wearing Pishway and Chudidar instead of Hindu costumes of Lehenga and Choli. Hindu and Muslim traditions have influenced the present Kathak dance.
The dancer tied the ghungroos, small bells, around their ankles. These small bells are woven with solid thread. Learners tied only 25 bell rings. The dancer chooses the costumes for their comfortable dance movements and should be traditional. The costumes have also changed along with the dance style. Traditionally female costumes are Sari and a length choli with an Odhni. The Mughal costume for women is an angarkha and churidar kurta—a small peaked cap and a belt made of Zari and precious stones. The men wear the traditional Hindu dhoti and also wear bandi. The Mughal costume for men is Kurta, along with a churidar.