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. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features ofPersian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era.There are three major schools or gharanas of Kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: the gharanas of Jaipur, Lucknow andBanaras (born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput kings, the Nawab of Oudh, and Varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (and later)Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.
The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in Sanskrit means s/he who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly कत्थक katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day कथकkathak. kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/he who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is Kathak'.
IDDA offers an intensive certificate course in the basic and advanced nuances of Kathak, taught by Smt. Ila Dalal (For a detailed profile of Mrs.Ila Dalal, please visit 'The Faculty'.)