Kathak. What is it?
Having its origin from North India the performer is known as “Kathakar” ,The story tellers. Here “Katha” means “story” and”Kar” means “teller”. The performers of this dance form communicates a story with his/her performance.
This dance form is found in different “Gharanas”. These gharanas are based on the name of three cities, Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow. The Jaipur Gharana focuses on foot movements whereas Banaras and Lucknow Gharana focuses more on facial expressions and creative and graceful hand movements. The Kathakars tells great and epic stories from Hindu mythology through their footwork and their graceful facial expressions and hand movements.
According to its history its roots are traceable to 400BCE. Like all classical dance it also has its roots from the sanskrit text Natyashatra.
During Bhakti movement this dance form came into practice , During the Era of Mughals it was only considered as a element of entertainment for the mughal kings, as only low income families used to perform this dance form,After that during the British colonial rule this dance form faced a decline because at that time the Hinduism was criticized. Then a time came when India gained independence and the dance form revived . It was the time when it get develpoed between two communities Hindu and Muslims community.
Costume of a kathak performer
The type of costume varies for the two communities ,Hindu and Muslim.
In the Hindu community the performer wear a sari in a different style tucking it to the left shoulder and wrap it on the waist and hang outs to the left. Choli(blouse) covers the upper part of the body. The common thing is the tika(bindi) on the forehead complemented by hair jewelry and earrings .
In the Muslim community the performer wears a long coat( Anarkali ) covering the upper body and the hands accompanied by churidar (Fitted pajama) and a duppatta(scarf) and jewelry on the head.
The costume of the male dance is basically a silk dhoti draped around the waist and the upper body may be bare or to be covered with a simple jacket . Male dancers also wear jewelry but lighter than that of a female dancer. Both male and female dancer wear a belt of small bells(Ghungroos) around their ankle , it is compulsory for every Kathak performer.