Kathak – Origin and Style

Kathak – Origin and Style

The Origin

of Kathak is attributed to the traveling bards of ancient northern India. They were known as Kathakars or storytellers. Wandering Kathakars communicated stories from the great epics and ancient mythology. This was done through dance, songs and music.

The term Kathak has been derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha. Kathaka in Sanskrit means “he who tells a story”, or “to do with stories”.

Kathak is found in three distinct forms. These have been named after the cities where the Kathak dance tradition evolved. Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow.



Kathak dance emphasizes rhythmic foot movements, adorned with Ghungroos. The movement is harmonized to the music.

The difference between the sub-traditions is the relative emphasis between acting versus footwork. The Lucknow style emphasizes acting and the Jaipur style is famed for its spectacular footwork.

The legs and torso are generally straight. The story is told based on the gestures of arms and upper body movement, facial expressions, stage movements, bends and turns. The main focus of the dance becomes the eyes and the foot movements. The eyes work as a medium of communication of the story the dancer is trying to communicate.

To read about the definition and history of Dance, https://www.ishaancollege.com/dance-meaning-and-history/