top of page

Kathak Dance

Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance..

  • 1 h
  • Contact Us
  • The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1

Service Description

The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the traveling bards in ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers. [1] The term Kathak is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means "story", and Kathakar which means "the one who tells a story", or "to do with stories".[1][2] Wandering Kathakars communicated stories from the great epics and ancient mythology through dance, songs, and music. [2] Kathak dancers tell various stories through their hand movements and extensive footwork, their body movements and flexibility but most importantly through their facial expressions. Kathak evolved during the Bhakti movement, particularly by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, as well as independently in the courts of north Indian kingdoms. [1][3] Kathak is unique in having both Hindu and Muslim gharanas and cultural elements of these gharanas. [4] Kathak performances include Urdu Ghazals and commonly used instruments brought during the Mughal period. [5] As a result, it is the only Indian classical dance form to feature Islamic elements. [6] Kathak is found in three distinct forms, called "gharanas", named after the cities where the Kathak dance tradition evolved – Jaipur, Banaras, and Lucknow. [7] While the Jaipur Gharana focuses more on the foot movements, the Banaras and Lucknow gharanas focus more on facial expressions and graceful hand movements. Stylistically, the Kathak dance form emphasizes rhythmic foot movements, adorned with small bells (Ghungroo), and the movement harmonized to the music. [3][8] The legs and torso are generally straight, and the story is told through a developed vocabulary based on the gestures of arms and upper body movement, facial expressions, neck movements, eyes and eyebrow movement, 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. With the eyebrows, the dancer gives various facial expressions. [3][9] The difference between the sub-traditions is the relative emphasis between acting versus footwork, with Lucknow style emphasizing acting and Jaipur style famed for its spectacular footwork. [3] Kathak as a performance art has survived and thrived as an oral tradition, innovated and taught and from one generation to another verbally and through practice. [10] It transitioned, adapted, and integrated the tastes of the Mughal courts[11]

Upcoming Sessions

Contact Details

+353 (0)89 468 5565


bottom of page