top of page


Kathak is among the six major classical dances of India (namely- Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Manipuri, Odissi, Kuchipudi) and one of the most dynamic theater arts in the world. The word Kathak is derived from katha, meaning "the art of storytelling." It is also synonymous with the community of artists known as Kathakaars whose hereditary profession was to narrate history while entertaining. With dance, music and mime, these storytellers of ancient India would bring life to great scriptures and epics of ancient times. In particular the great Indian epics of Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas of Sanskrit literature. The movement of hands and body as well as the facial expressiosn they used to enrich the narrative, have given birth to the dance style, Kathak.

Kathak can be divided into Nritya, Abhinaya on one hand and Tandava, Lasya on the other. Nritya and Abhinaya are applicable to the movements in the dance style. Tandava and lasya have to do with the type of numerics that are played on the tabla or executed by the feet. Kathak is unique for its footworks and circle usage.

Themes of Kathak Dance

  • Slokas in Sanskrit | Hindi (Vandana)

  • Bhajan (Devotional songs for Hindu gods and goddesses)

  • Light Classical Songs e.g. Thumri, Dadra, Lori

  • Pure Classical Songs e.g. Paran, Tukda, Tehais, Lori, Jugalbandi, Sawal Jawab

  • Tarana based on Ragaas

  • Dance Drama composition chosen from epics Ramayaa and Mahabharata

  • Any musical (classical) composition.

Accompanying Instruments

Main accompaniments in Kathak are 

  1. Tabla

  2. Sarangi

  3. Pakhawaj

  4. Harmonium

  5. Sitar

  6. Sarrod

  7. Flute


There are two main styles of costumes in Kathak Dance, Muslim and Hindu. 

Muslim Style

In this style ladies used to wear Peshwar (from a lot of lair volume) Chooridar, Pyjama,  Jacket, ehunmi and topi.

Men wore chooridar pyjama, angrakka, dupatta and topi.

Hindu Style

Ladies wore Ghagra and Choli (blouse) with Odni. A Choli is a short blouse and a dupatta is a long piece of fabric about 3 meters long. Men wore a long Kurta and Chooridar with Dupatta wrapped around their waist.

bottom of page