Kathak | 18 Jan 2020

    • It is one of the classical dances of India.
    • The word Kathak has been derived from the word Katha which means a story. It is primarily performed in Northern India.
    • Evolution:
      • It was primarily a temple or village performance wherein the dancers narrated stories from ancient scriptures.
      • Kathak began evolving into a distinct mode of dance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with the spread of the Bhakti movement.
      • The legends of Radha-Krishna were enacted in folk plays called rasa lila, which combined folk dance with the basic gestures of the kathak story-tellers.
      • Under the Mughal emperors and their nobles, Kathak was performed in the court, where it acquired its present features and developed into a form of dance with a distinctive style.
      • Under the patronage of Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, it grew into a major art form.
    • Dance Style:
      • Usually a solo performance, the dancer often pauses to recite verses followed by their execution through movement.
      • The focus is more on footwork; the movements are skillfully controlled and performed straight legged by dancers wearing ankle-bells.
      • Kathak is the only form of classical dance wedded to Hindustani or the North Indian music.
      • Some prominent dancers include Birju Maharaj, Sitara Devi.

Bhakti Movement

  • The development of Bhakti movement took place in Tamil Nadu between the seventh and ninth centuries.
  • It was reflected in the emotional poems of the Nayanars (devotees of Shiva) and Alvars (devotees of Vishnu). These saints looked upon religion not as a cold formal worship but as a loving bond based upon love between the worshipped and worshipper.
  • They wrote in local languages, Tamil and Telugu and were therefore able to reach out to many people.
  • In course of time, the ideas of the South moved up to the North but it was a very slow process.
  • A more effective method for spreading of the Bhakti ideology was the use of local languages. The Bhakti saints composed their verses in local languages.
  • They also translated Sanskrit works to make them understandable to a wider audience. Examples include Jnanadeva writing in Marathi, Kabir, Surdas and Tulsidas in Hindi, Shankaradeva popularising Assamese, Chaitanya and Chandidas spreading their message in Bengali, Mirabai in Hindi and Rajasthani.

Source: TH