Kathak - a Divine Spirit


The Cosmic Dance of Lord Shiva i.e. Nataraja, The King Of Dance

With each step He took
He scattered stars in space
With each movement of his outstretched arms
He enveloped space and time
With his long hair flying in the wind
He dances in ecstasy to the to the delight of his devotees


Kathak is one of the seven major classical Indian dance styles. The root of Kathak lies deep in ancient Indian culture in which dance had a special importance from the Vedic period. In those days dance was performed while singing prayers and praises of the God and nature and it's a known fact that our Rishi-Munis from ancient era had scientific knowledge about the art of dance.

In fact human body and dance has an unbroken relation. 'Narayati' means the rhythmic movements of human body has been named as dance. In the ancient tradition of India dance used to perform as a means to meditate about the God, nature and to get mental peace. When the element of entertainment was added it was called as folk dance.

If we go back about three thousand years back in Indian history we get a rich tradition of music-dance and sculptors. The proof of our rich cultural heritage is valuable manuscripts like Bharatmuni's Natyashastra and Abhinay darpan. Deep study of these volumes not only guide us the right path but also showcase the ideal way to lead a culturally prosperous life.

From Vedic period to Ramayan and Mahabharat era, we find the word mentioned as Kathak or kathik. In ancient period music-dance and play were combindly performed that was called "Tauryatrikam". Then the concept of temple was introduced and we find the dance platform in every ancient temple. In the past dance was performed in these temples with utmost devotion. In fact through the temple concept the propagation of dance was done in real sense.

The original creator of dance is Lord Shankara. In Kathak dance style we find a beautiful combination of Tandav and Lasya anga in Kathak. We find the Nrityabol 'Ta thei thei tat' in Kathak which is a combination of Lord Shankar's Veer-rasa mood 'Ta' and Parvatimata's soft note Thei. The other meaning refers that one can get the blessings of the God (e) by touching the sole (Ta) to the surface of the earth (thal).

Lord Krishna also propagated the art of dance through Ras Nritya. Many Natawari -Bol from this Ras-nritya are still performed in Kathak. The kathak performance is incomplete without a dance item of Radha-Krishna.

While the Indian culture was getting settled, classical dance was developed and from that emerged Kathak dance style. In 11th century Mughal invaders attacked Indian culture and destroyed Indian temples crashing the temple based arts. In this period generations of saints and Kirtankars came forward to save Indian culture and traditions. According to history in Mughal period the temple based devotional dance was converted into a form of entertainment. But as the fundamental base of Kathak devotional, they couldn't wipe off the basic stories of Radha-Krishna, Ram-Sita and other mythological references. On the contrary in Munhall period the systematic presentation of pure dance varieties that include Amad That, Nikas, Gat was added and still it's performed on the stage.

VIdeo will be downloaded

Today kathak appears as a rhythm based dance that is performed according to Tabla based Nritya-bol. It's based on classical Hindustani music, has enormous spectrum and it is insperative, pious, subtle, and vigorous dance.

Kathak performance follows the tradition of opening the show with a prayer, lyrics, mythological stories endowed with praises of the deities and the additions like Amad, That, nikas, Tarana, Gazal that has been added to kathak in mughal period are also performed with same furvour.

During last 2-3 centuries many kathak gurus kept the dance traditions alive while it was performed in the royal courts of kings and Nawabs, added some beautiful things in it and introduced the concept of solo performance. In this period various various styles ok kathak evolved which are known as Jaipur, Lucknow and Banaras gharana. We find many able kathak exponents representing these gharanas all over India.  

I represent Jaipur dance style particularly that Dr. Padmashree Roshankumari has developed and popularized in dance sphere. Roshanji is daughter of late Fakir Mohammad and singer Johra Begum Ambalewali. She has been groomed under the tutelage of Guru K.S.More, Pandit Sunder Prasad and Pandit Hanuman Prasad. The specialties of her dance are forceful foot work of Tatkar, clear and elegant body movement, speedy chakris, use of complicated rhythm based compositions. Her skill in producing vigorous and devotional mood gracefully won audience's heart to such extent that none of them could forget her dance till date.

It's my aim to propagate and popularize Guru Roshankumari's dance style and with this intention I have started the work of this video and website.

From ancient period the art of dance has been carried forward through Guru-shishya parampara. Dance is an art that cannot be learned by reading the script, observing others or following other's instructions. It needs a Guru who can transform the art into his disciple's mind and body.