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Kathak: Aesthetics, History and Influences

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.

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