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Kathak is one of the classical dance forms of India (originally from North India). It is a narrative dance form characterized by fast footwork (tatkar), spins (chakkar) and innovative use of bhav in abhinaya. It has today a form that has been influenced at various times in the past by mythological narratives by kathakas, temple dances, the bhakti movement (both Vaishnavism and Shaivite), and Persian influence of the Mughal courts in the 16th century onwards; and these elements are readily discernible. Performers today generally draw their lineage from three major schools of Kathak: the Jaipur gharana, the Lucknow gharana and the Banaras gharana (born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput kings, the Nawab of Oudh, and Varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (and later) Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.

The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means s/he who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day kathak. kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/he who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is Kathak'.

 

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