in northwestern and central north India as a story
telling tradition. This tradition was practiced
by wandering monks who sang and enacted mythological
stories in praise of a chosen deity at a public
gathering, in a village square or temple premise.
The performances occurred during social celebrations
like birth, marriage, etc and on days of religious
These storytellers were
called the Kathakars. Hence the name Kathak.
As the tradition gained
popularity, the dance style developed technically
and thematically. A perfect synthesis of the Hindu
story-telling tradition and the Persian dance
style took place in the royal courts of the Mughal
Sultans, allowing Kathak to evolve into a unique
dance form with unusual characteristics like pirouettes
and rhythmic tapping of the feet. The technique
and presentation of Kathak is enhanced with the
aware and sensuous royal Persian etiquette as
well as the spiritually submissive innocence and
beauty from the Hindu religious performance tradition.
Kathak uses very simple
hand gestures and less stylised and closer to
real life expression or abhinaya. Because of the
influence of two distinct cultures, Kathak can
be presented in a Hindu costume or in an adaptation
of a Persian costume.