Kathak is likely one of the foremost genres of historical Indian classical dance and is historically regarded to have originated from the travelling bards of North India referred as Kathakars or storytellers.
These Kathakars wandered round and communicated legendary tales by way of music, dance and songs fairly just like the early Greek theatre. The style developed through the Bhakti motion, the development of theistic devotion which advanced in medieval Hinduism.
The Kathakars talk tales by way of rhythmic foot actions, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye work. This performing artwork that comes with legends from historical mythology and nice Indian epics, particularly from the lifetime of Lord Krishna grew to become fairly common within the courts of North Indian kingdoms.
Three particular types of this style that’s three gharanas (faculties), which largely differ in emphasis given to footwork versus appearing, are extra well-known specifically, the Jaipur gharana, the Benaras gharana and the Lucknow gharana.
Historical past & Evolution
The roots of this dance kind hint again to Sanskrit Hindu textual content on performing arts referred to as ‘Natya Shastra’ written by historical Indian theatrologist and musicologist Bharata Muni.
It’s presumed that the primary full model of the textual content was accomplished between 200 BCE to 200 CE, however some sources point out the timeframe to be round 500 BCE and 500 CE. 1000’s of verses structured in numerous chapters are discovered within the textual content that divides dance in two explicit kinds, specifically ‘nrita’ that’s pure dance which comprise of finesse of hand actions and gestures, and ‘nritya’ that’s solo expressive dance that focuses on expressions.
Russian scholar Natalia Lidova states that ‘Natya Shastra’ describes varied theories of Indian classical dances together with Tandava dance of Lord Shiva, strategies of appearing, standing postures, gestures, primary steps, bhava and rasa. Mary Snodgrass states that the custom of this dance kind is traced again to the 400 BCE. Bharhut, a village within the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, India stands as a consultant of early Indian artwork.
The 2nd century BC panels discovered there illustrates sculptures of dancers in numerous vertical poses with arm positions that resemble Kathak steps, lots of which replicate the ‘pataka hasta’ Mudra. The phrase Kathak is deduced from the Vedic Sanskrit time period ‘Katha’ which implies ‘story’ whereas the time period kathaka that finds place in a number of Hindu epics and texts means the one who tells a narrative.
Textual content-based evaluation signifies Kathak as an historical Indian classical dance kind that presumably originated in Banaras or Varanasi after which unfold its wings in Jaipur, Lucknow and lots of different areas of north and northwest India.
Affiliation with Bhakti Motion
The Lucknow Gharana of Kathak was based by Ishwari Prasad, a devotee of the Bhakti motion. Ishwari lived within the village of Handiya located in southeast Uttar Pradesh.
It’s believed that Lord Krishna got here to his desires and instructed him to develop “dance as a type of worship”. He taught the dance kind to his sons Adguji, Khadguji and Tularamji who once more taught their descendants and the custom continued for greater than six generations thus carrying ahead this wealthy legacy that’s nicely acknowledged because the Lucknow grarana of Kathak by Indian literature on music of each Hindus and Muslims.
The event of Kathak through the period of Bhakti motion predominantly focussed on the legends of Lord Krishna and his everlasting love Radhika or Radha present in texts just like the ‘Bhagavata Purana’ which have been spectacularly carried out by the Kathak artists.
Improvisation within the Mughal Period
This historical classical dance kind that was majorly related to Hindu epics was nicely acknowledged by the courts and nobles of the Mughal interval. The dance carried out in Mughal courts nevertheless tailored a extra erotic kind with out having a lot reference to explicit themes utilized earlier that communicated spiritual or religious ideas.
Improvisations have been made by the dancers predominantly to entertain the Muslim viewers with sensuous and sexual performances which though have been completely different from the age-old dancing idea however contained a refined message in it just like the love of Radha-Krishna.
Finally Central Asian and Persian themes grew to become part of its repertoire. These included replacements of sari with a fancy dress that bared midriff, including a clear veil within the costume that typified those wore by medieval Harem dancers and whirling whereas performing as performed in Sufi dance.
By the point the colonial European officers arrived in India, Kathak already grew to become famed as a courtroom leisure and was extra of a fusion of historical Indian classical dance kind and Persian-Central Asian dance kinds with the dancers being referred as ‘nautch ladies’.
Decline throughout Colonial Rule
Emergence of colonial rule within the 18th century adopted by the institution of of the colonial rule within the 19th century noticed decline of varied classical dance kinds which have been subjected to contemptuous enjoyable and discouragement together with Kathak.
Finally the social stigma related to nautch ladies added with extremely essential and despicable angle from the Christian missionaries and British officers, who held them and the Devadasis of South India as harlots, disgraced such methods. The Anglican missionaries have been essential about Hinduism manifested from the proposition of Reverend James Lengthy who steered that Kathak artists ought to embrace European legends and tales related to Christianity and put off the Indian and Hindu legends.
The Christian missionaries launched anti-dance motion in 1892 to cease such observe.
The ebook ‘The Wrongs of Indian Womanhood’ by Marcus B. Fuller revealed in 1900 caricatured the facial expressions and sensuous gestures emoted throughout Kathak performances in Hindu temples and household capabilities. The nautch ladies weren’t solely disgraced by the newspapers and officers of colonial rule however have been additionally suppressed economically by pressurising their patrons to stop monetary help.
The Madras Presidency underneath the British colonial rule banned the customized of dancing in Hindu temples in 1910. The Indian neighborhood disapproved such ban apprehending persecution of such wealthy and historical Hindu customized on the pretext of social reform. Many classical artwork revivalists questioned in opposition to such discrimination.
Within the midst of such upheaval, the households made effort in preserving this historical dance kind from dying out and continued instructing the shape together with coaching boys. The progress of the Indian freedom motion within the early 20th century noticed an effort amongst Indians to revive nationwide tradition and custom and rediscover the wealthy historical past of India so as to resurrect the very essence of the nation.
The revival motion of Kathak developed each within the Hindu and Muslim gharanas concurrently, particularly within the Kathak-Mishra neighborhood. Kalkaprasad Maharaj performed an instrumental position in drawing worldwide viewership of Kathak within the early 20th century.
The three foremost sections of a Kathak dance are invocation and ‘Nritta’ and ‘Nritya’ talked about in ‘Natya Shastra’ and adopted by all main Indian classical dance kinds. Within the invocation half the dancer presents respect to her guru and musicians onstage and invocation to Hindu gods and goddesses by way of mudras or hand gestures and facial expressions if the group follows Hindu custom.
In case of Muslim teams, the dancer provides a salami or salutation. ‘Nritta represents pure dance the place the dancer initially performs a thath sequence exhibiting elegant and gradual actions of eyebrows, neck and wrists following which she slowly ups her velocity and vitality in multiples as she completes a sequence of bol.
Every bol comprising of quick sections contains spectacular footwork, turns and gestures encompassing tora, tukra, parhant and paran amongst others. She performs to the musical beats and tempos, completely synchronizing her footwork sequences referred to as tatkars, thus making a rhythmic sound with the ghunghru, and often mark completion of every sequence with a pointy flip of head.
In ‘Nritya’ the dancer communicates a narrative, religious themes, message or emotions by way of expressive gestures and slower physique actions harmonised with musical notes and vocals.
As Kathak is common each in Hindu and Muslim communities the costumes of this dance kind are made consistent with traditions of the respective communities. There are two forms of Hindu costumes for feminine dancers.
Whereas the primary one features a sari worn in a singular style complimented with a choli or shirt that covers the higher physique and a shawl or urhni worn in some locations, the opposite costume features a lengthy embroidered skirt with a contrasting choli and a clear urhni.
Costume is nicely complimented with conventional jewelry, often gold, that features those adorning her hair, nostril, ear, neck and hand. Musical anklets referred to as ghunghru manufactured from leather-based straps with small metallic bells hooked up to it are wrapped in her ankles that produce rhythmic sound whereas she performs glorious and spectacular footwork.
Head jewelry adorns her within the second case. Vivid face make-up placed on helps spotlight her facial expressions. Hindu male Kathak dancers often put on a silk dhoti with a silk scarf tied on the higher a part of the physique which often stay naked or could also be lined by a free jacket. Jewelry of male dancers is kind of easy in comparison with their feminine counterparts and are often manufactured from stone.
The costume for Muslim feminine dancers features a skirt together with a good becoming trouser referred to as churidar or pyjama and a protracted coat to cowl the higher physique and palms. A shawl overlaying the top compliments the entire apparel which is accomplished with gentle jewelry.
Devices & Music
A Kathak efficiency might embrace a dozen classical devices relying extra on the impact and depth required for a specific efficiency. Nonetheless some devices are sometimes utilized in a Kathak efficiency just like the tabla that harmonise nicely with the rhythmic foot actions of the dancer and infrequently imitates sound of such footwork actions or vice-versa to create a superb jugalbandi.
A manjira that’s hand cymbals and sarangi or harmonium are additionally used most frequently.
Imminent personalities related to Kathak embrace amongst others the founders of the completely different gharanas or faculties of this type of classical dance specifically Bhanuji of the Jaipur Gharana; Janaki Prasad of the Benaras Gharana; Ishwari Prasad of the Lucknow Gharana; and Raja Chakradhar Singh of the Raigarh Gharana.
Shambhu Maharaj was a famend guru of the Lucknow Gharana. His brothers Lachhu Maharaj and Acchan Maharaj have been additionally stalwarts within the artwork of Kathak. One title that has virtually grow to be synonymous with modern-day Kathak dance is Pandit Birju Maharaj, a scion of the legendary Maharaj household and son of Acchan Maharaj.
He’s thought-about the main advocate of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana. Sitara Devi was one other star of this dance kind described as Nritya Samragini that’s the empress of dance by Rabindranath Tagore and he or she continues to retain her Kathak Queen title even after loss of life. Different eminent Kathak artists embrace Roshan Kumari, Shovana Narayan, Maya Rao and Kumudini Lakhia to call a couple of.