Kathak: Dancers, Origin, Forms, and Poses
Kathak Dancers are one of the eight major types of Indian classical dancers. These dancers specialize in performances that tell stories through hand gestures, facial expressions, and intricate footwork. Live music that plays traditional Indian instruments such as the sitar, tabla, and harmonium serenade the Kathak Dancers.
What does Kathak dance refer to?
Kathak dance is a performing art form in which dancers use gestures and expressions to tell stories. It is a North Indian classical dance form that originated in Uttar Pradesh.
Kathak dance originated in the northern regions of India, and its name comes from the Sanskrit word Katha, meaning “story.” They use a variety of techniques to bring their stories to life, including abhinaya (acting), tatkar (footwork), and hasya (comic relief). The Kathak dances are devotional or folk songs, and they often tell stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other Hindu epics.
Kathak is a demanding dance form that requires years of training and practice. The dancers must be able to maintain complex rhythms while performing intricate movements. They must also be able to express a range of emotions through their dances, from joy to sorrow to anger.
Many resources are available online and in libraries, to learn more about kathak dance. You can also find kathak classes at dance studios and community centers worldwide.
What is the name of the instrument used by Kathak dancers?
The sitar is a standard instrument used by Kathak dancers. Other instruments used in kathak performances include the tabla, harmonium, and sarangi.
Forms of Kathak Dance
There are two primary forms of Kathak dance:
- The Lucknow Gharana is known for its graceful and elegant movements.
- The Jaipur Gharana is known for its more energetic and lively style.
Kathak dancers use a variety of hand gestures (mudras) to communicate different emotions and ideas. Some common mudras used in Kathak dance are:
- Bhramari: The bhramari mudra depicts the sound of bees.
- Abhaya: The Abhaya mudra represents fearlessness or protection.
- Pataka: The pataka mudra depicts a weapon or a flame.
- Kapittha: The kapittha mudra represents an elephant’s trunk.
- hasta-chidrāsana: The hasta-chidrāsana is a moving Mudrā where both hands start from the neck, then move circularly outwards.
Kathak is a demanding dance form that requires years of training and practice. Kathak dancers must be able to maintain complex rhythms while performing intricate movements. They must also be able to express a range of emotions through their dances, from joy to sorrow to anger.
Famous Dancers of Kathak
Some famous kathak dancers include:
Birju Maharaj is a world-renowned Kathak dancer and choreographer. He is the Kathak Kendra dance school founder in New Delhi, India.
Pandit Durga Lal
Pandit Durga Lal was a renowned Kathak dancer and choreographer from the Jaipur Gharana. He was known for his intricate footwork and Expressional abhinaya.
Gopi Krishna was a world-famous kathak dancer and choreographer who popularized the Jaipur Gharana of kathak. He founded the Gopikrishna Kathak Dance Academy in Jaipur, India.
Famous Kathak Dance Performances
Kathak dancers often perform solo or duet dances. Some famous kathak dance performances include:
- Birju Maharaj and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma’s Jugalbandi: This performance features two of India’s most renowned musicians, Birju Maharaj and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. The duo performs a series of fast-paced and intricate kathak movements set to live music.
- Gopi Krishna’s “Drum Solo”: In this performance, Gopi Krishna performs a solo kathak dance to the accompaniment of a live tabla player. This dance displays Krishna’s intricate footwork and Expressional abhinaya.
- Pandit Durga Lal’s “Chhandavati”: In this performance, Pandit Durga Lal performs a solo kathak dance set to the raga Chhandavati. Lal’s graceful movements and Expressions tell the story of a young woman waiting for her lover to return.
Kathak is a beautiful and complex dance form that audiences have enjoyed for centuries. To learn more about kathak, many resources are available online and in libraries. You can also find kathak classes at dance studios and community centers worldwide.