Kathak: Aesthetics, History and Influences

in Module
Published on: 22 November 2018

Siddhi Goel

Siddhi Goel is a Kathak dancer based in Delhi. She holds an M.A. Arts and Aesthetics, from School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, where she focussed on Dance History and Performance Studies. She has also completed her Diploma (Hons) in Kathak from Kathak Kendra. A disciple of Pandit Jai Kishan Maharaj, she has been learning Kathak for over 15 years and performing actively since the past 5 years. Apart from dancing, her work interest lies in arts management and curation.

Kathak is commonly regarded as one of the seven state-recognised classical dance forms of India and is the only one from North India. It is known for its technical virtuosity, fluid movements, footwork, sharp spins and versatile range of abhinaya. Because of its past associations with courtesan dance, performances in courts and intimate spaces like baithaks, Kathak inherits a courtly elegance in its presentation, confrontational and almost flamboyant directness with the audience, and the highly intimate and interactive nature of its performance. This module questions the category of classical and folk by examining the history of this dance form, with a special focus on the history of Kathak from the late 16th to early 20th century. In addition, the module has a wide range of videos, images and interviews with senior Gurus highlighting the rich aesthetics of Kathak.