Kathak was originally a religious dance form. The word is derived from the root Katha (story). Religious stories retold by story-tellers who were attached to the Hindu temples. Later, mime and gesture were added to the oral recitation. Thus there evolved a simple form of expressional dance.

In the 15th and the 16th centuries, Kathak developed into a distinct mode of classical dance. With the advent of Muslim rule, Kathak dance traveled from the temples to the courts. The prominent centres of Kathak were the Hindu courts at Jaipur and the Muslim courts of Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Rampur.

Intricate, fast footwork (tatkar) and fast pirouettes (chakar) are the distinctive feature of the Kathak dance forms of that period, and it was at this time that the use of ankle-bells was introduced so that the sounds and rhythms produced by the dancer became a counterpoint to those of the drums.

During the nineteenth century, there was a revival of Kathak dance. One of the princely patrons who encouraged this revival was Wajid Ali Shah, the tenth and last Nawab of Awadh (Oudh), who ruled Awadh from its capital Lucknow between 1847 and 1856. His patronage led to the establishment of the Lucknow gharana of Kathak dance, noted for its revived emphasis of expressionism and gesture. It is within the Lucknow tradition that Pratap Prawar's own guru, Pandit Birju Maharaj, received his formation and training.

Kathak is a fine example of the composite culture of India, in which the Hindu and Muslim genius in art has had a glorious fusion. Kathak is also the only form of classical dance in which Hindustani music is used.

See also article on Kathak dance in the on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia

Authentic Kathak Dance Classes with Guru Pratap Pawar

Pratap Pawar is a performance artist and choreographer, whose works range from classical Kathak to contemporary fusion; from solo performance to group dance drama.

Padmashri Pratap Pawar has trained over 700 students over the past three decades in Ghana and Trinadad. Currently he conducts bi-annual workshops in Toronto, Canada, where a very large number of students are undertaking training. Pratap has undertaken a lot of work in bringing together different cultures by blending Indian dance with Flamenco, Caribbean, modern dance, etc. For this he has received great acclaim worldwide.