Kathak


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Related to Kathak: Manipuri

Kathak

 

one of the schools of classical Indian dance. Since ancient times, kathak has been cultivated in the Hindu temples of Rajasthan and Hindustan (in the territory of the modern state of Uttar Pradesh), and it was one of the obligatory elements of religious ceremonies. Kathaks (narrators) would relate various stories (kathas) from the life of Vishnu and Krishna, accompanying them with dances. After the conquest of India by Muslim dynasties, the art of kathak fell into decay; however, in the 17th century it was revived at the courts of the rajahs in Rajasthan and the Nawabs of Oudh. The dance is taking on a secular character, and new technical devices are appearing.

Contemporary kathak consists of nritta, which contains complex rhythmical movements and postures, and nritya, which includes song and pantomime. Everyday and lyrical scenes and the portrayal of beasts and animals serve as subjects for the pantomime. In the 1930’s, the Indian dancer Menaka (Leila Sokhey) did performances in the kathak style, such as Deva Vijaya Nritya (dance of the god of victory), Menaka Lasyam (dances of Menaka), and Malavika and Agnimitra. In the early 1970’s, kathak performances were done by the well-known Indian dancers and choreographers Narendra Sharma and Birju Maharaj.

REFERENCE

Ambrose, Kay. Classical Dances and Costumes of India. London [1951].

M. P. BABKINA

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