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 easily about the theme to the audience. Around 2000 BC the dance was a traditional form in Aryan civilised places. Kathak is a Hindi word, which means narrating a story.
In ancient times ‘Kathaks’ were a caste, whose profession storytellers and wandered from one village to another to narrate the stories from the Hindu Mythologies and folklore of India. Music adds to the dance and the artists perform the dance and narrate the story with their dancing movements. This type of dances and story narration became memorable to the spectators.
Kathak Dance During Ancient Period:
Kathak dance was very simple, but in later years it has been changed into the present form. Especially during the Vaishnavism movement between 13th and 16th century AD, the artists adopted the stories of Lord Vishnu incarnation as Krishna for Kathak dance. The Kathak stories are very impressive 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 major landmark in the development of Kathak dance and the Radha, Krishna stories became a playfield to the dancers for their classical dance.
Kathak Dance and Divisions:
Kathak dance presentation is divided into three parts. The first one is Natya, this is like a drama, the dancers present the theme of the story before the public. The second one is the Nritta, which means pure dance. In this dance, the artists perform the dance with imaginary movements according to the adopted story for dance. The third one is Nritya, this means the dancer perform 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 also divided into two emotions of the stories.
Kathak Dance Style:
The dance revolves around the Radha and Krishna theme and played Hindustani dance during the classical dance 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 ashta-nayikas9Eight states of a maiden in love).
Kathak Dance During Mughal Emperors:
During the reign of Mughal emperor, the dance transformed from traditional outlook to entertainment. The Mughal courts encouraged the dancers to focus on technical virtuosity. Grace, Charm, and delicacy of women became an important dance style. The Mughal court Kathak dancers started wearing Pishway and Chudidar instead of Hindu costumes of Lehenga and Choli. The present Kathak dance has been influenced by Hindu and Muslim traditions.
The dancer tied the ghungroos, small bells around their ankles. These small bells are woven with strong thread. Learners tied only 25 bells rings. The dancer chooses the costumes for their comfortable for dance movements and should be traditional. The costumes have also changed along with 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 also worn a belt made of Zari and precious stones. The men wear Hindu traditional dhoti and also wear bandi. The Mughal costume for men is Kurta along with churidar.