Kathak History: Evolution of Kathak dance

Kathak is one of the prominent and main genres of the Northern part of India. Kathak is the amalgamation of three major art – music, Pure Dance and Drama. Kathak has gone through a major evolution over the period of time that can be traced in Ancient times, the Bhakti movement, the Mughal Period, the British era, and Modern times.

Ancient times: Kathak was originated from Northern India and had its connections with temples where pandits (priests) of the temples recite mythological stories and epics with expressions and hand movements. These priests engage Kathakas to perform the stories from epics of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Purans, and Vedas. Kathakars associate with the travel bards of Northern India and propagate these stories in the temples and kingdoms.

Bhakti Movement: During the Bhakti Movement more emphasis was towards the emotional aspects of the Kathak that resonate with the stories of Radha-Krishna and other devotional deities. The whole new range of Musical form and lyrics incorporated in the Kathak.

Mughal Period: In the Mughal period Kathak experienced huge change, attached to the Muslim courts, and became the source of aristocratic entertainment. In the Mughal period classical form Kathak was emerged and adapted new movements, vocabulary, and inclined towards Mughal art. Kathakars started performing according to the will of Mughal emperors and the use of rapid footwork, Chakars (spin), rhythmic inclination became significant. The devotional part of the Kathak was scattered and shifted to the Mughal courts. Lavish costumes and sensuality were becoming part of the Kathak. During the Mughal period, Kathak underwent a major change in terms of movements, vocabulary, music, costume, jewelry, and techniques of dance. At this point of time, the Urdu language prefaced in Kathak.

British period: During the British period major decline in Kathak can be traced. During this period, Kathak was seen as uncouth entertainment for the British rulers associated with the brothel. At the immersion of the British era, renowned dancers initiated home tutorials by teaching their own family members in order to preserve this art form. Thus from here, the concept of Gharanas emerged and Kathak was divided into 3 major Gharanas i.e. Jaipur Gharana, Lucknow Gharana, Banaras Gharana, and one lesser-known Gharana is Raigarh Gharana. Gharana word is derived from the word “Ghar” which means home.

Modern Era: After the Independence government played a vital role in the recognition and uplift of Kathak. The post-independence government realise that the art form was passing from generation to generation needs to nurtured and introduced to the other people in society. The government established many schools and institutions in the country. Many awards and facilitations were announced by the government and introduced as an Indian Classical dance art in the schools. Indian Classical dancers were promoted and propagated the art throughout the world in cultural exchange programmers ran by the government.

FAQ’S Related Dance: Kathak History: Evolution Of Kathak

Who were the Hindu Raja and Muslim rulers has a major role in the development of Kathak?

In the history, development of Kathak can be traced.

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah: History reminisce the contribution of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Kathak. He learned Kathak from renowned Kathak artist Thakur Prasad Ji. He was also well versed in music and developed many Gat and Thumris.

Raja Chakra Dhar Singh: Just like Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Raja Chakra Dhar Singh has a major contribution to the development of Kathak He was an art lover and wrote four texts.

About the Author: – Neha Khunteta

She is a Kathak Artist and has been associated with it for more than 10 years and the founder of Kathak By Neha the best Kathak dance academy in Jaipur.

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