Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from North India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers.
These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories.
Prevalent in the North as a classical dance form, Kathak has a long history. Nurtured in the holy precincts of the Hindu temples, Kathak has over the centuries attained refinement and enriched itself with various hues and embellishments
Kathak means a story teller and it developed as a dance form in which a solo dancer tells and interprets stories from mythology. In nritya, the expressional numbers called gats are danced by delicate glances of the eye and by using the art of mime. Themes from life are taken like enacting simple chores of carrying water from the well or walking gracefully, covering a face with a veil and looking through it in a tantalising manner at the lover. Also, to the lyrics, expressions are shown evoking the rasa or emotion in the spectators, who, if the musical traditions are shared along with the songs, enjoy it by expressing their appreciation with a round of applause.
The costume of Kathak: Women usually wear Lehnga Choli and Dupatta while performing Kathak. Male dancers wear Churidar Paijama, Kurta and Angarkha and tie a Dupatta in the waist.