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Kathak: The Classical Dance of India, Part 2 of 3

2021-06-03
Limba:English

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As we discovered in the previous episode, Kathak is one of India’s ancient dance forms. The word “Kathak” comes from the Sanskrit word, “Katha” meaning “story.” It was initially created to tell stories by travelling bards. Over time, stories concerning Lord Krishna from legends and scriptures were added to the dance, along with artistic and religious elements from both Hinduism and Islam. From the common people to the nobles of the royal courts, Kathak has long been appreciated by all. Ms. Nayyar first discusses the basic movements, rituals, and formalities of Kathak dance.

"Lord Krishna would dance. So, it’s said that the Kathak is based on the 'raaslila,' which means the playfulness between Krishna and his friends, his girlfriends. So, the dancers consider that the 'raaslila' was a very, very eminent part of this Kathak dance, and it's originated through Lord Krishna, but there is no proof to it. But we still prefer going through Krishna’s way and enacting his stories and enacting the playful exchange between Krishna and the gopis (cow-herd girls)."

"Before performing, we start with 'Guru Pranam,' which is just greeting our Guru and taking blessings from him. And then we start with touching the floor because we dance on the floor, taking blessings of the floor, of the air and sky, and of the entire universe. And we start with that particular pranam. And then we start with 'laykari,' which is the basic footwork in Kathak, and which is also the warm-up, and then the warm-up movements. And then we go into a particular piece that we want to perform. "

To properly present the Kathak dance, a dancer needs to pay attention to the details of the makeup and accessories in order to have a polished and complete look. Ms. Nayyar kindly offered another dance presentation, a “Sargam,” followed by a “Thumri” piece, and gave an explanation of the presentation. "The Thumri that I am going to perform today is, again, the playful exchange between Radha and Krishna."

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