Photo Courtesy Natya
The most widely performed dance in North India is Kathak. The name stems from the word katha, a story or fable. This tradition dates back over 2000 years to Kathakas, the wandering bards and minstrels, who traveled from village to village preaching and bringing to life the meanings and messages of the great mythologies and scriptures through song, dance and commentary. During the medieval period, the Moguls brought this dance into the court setting where it became a popular courtly entertainment, and acquired an emphasis on refined grace along with complex rhythmical development.
Modern-day Kathak is a theater art which has the vigor of dynamic footwork and pin-point spins, the subtle movement of the face and hands, blended with the miming of stories of all kinds. Never simply a silent presentation, it integrates the recitation of syllabic compositions known as bols. It is the only classical dance form that incorporates elements from both Muslim and Hindu culture.