Kathak - North Indian classical dance

Kathak is a classical dance style from northern India. Kathak derives its name from the word Katha, which means the art of storying telling . The Kathak that is witnessed today evolved from a group of male dancers called Kathakas.

Expressive motion, rhythmic accuracy, graceful turning, poised stances, technical clarity, hand gestures (mudras) and subtle expression (bhava-abhinaya) are important components of modern Kathak.

Kathak north Indian style of classical dance is characterized by rhythmic footwork accompanied by tinkle of anklets with more than 100 ankle bells, spectacular spins, and the dramatic representation of themes from Hindu mythology as well as those of Persian and Urdu poetry.

It is a narrative dance form characterized by fast footwork (tatkar), spins (chakkar) and innovative use of bhav in abhinaya.

 A short danced composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a tora. A popular tukra type is the chakkarwala tukra, showcasing the signature spins of Kathak.

In Kathak the major part of the interpretive themes were largely centered around Radha Krishna, and retelling incidents in the life of Krishna. 

There are two main schools, or gharanas, of kathak dance, both of which are named after cities in northern India. The Lucknow gharana developed a style of kathak that is characterized by precise, finely detailed movements and an emphasis on the exposition of thumri, a semi classical style of love song. The Jaipur gharana required a mastery of complicated pure dance patterns. Nowadays, however, performers present a blend of kathak based on the styles of both gharanas.

A traditional kathak performance features a solo dancer on a stage, surrounded on all sides by the audience. The repertoire includes amad (the dramatic entrance of the dancer on stage); thaat (a slow, graceful section); tukra, tora, and paran (improvised dance compositions); parhant (rhythmic light steps), and tatkar (footwork


Nritta is a dance of pure rhythm, which visualizes and reproduces music and rhythm by means of abstract gesture of the body, hands and precise use of footwork.


Nritya is the element of dance whose main point is to express emotion and feelings which are conveyed through facial expressions and gestures. Thus it suggests Ras [sentiment] bhava [mood].


Natya is the dramatic element, which has a story in the dramatic dances. It shows emotions and feelings for the story with gestures and poses.