Kathak is a north Indian classical dance style that has its origin in the ancient art of mime and storytelling. With the advent of Mughal rule in India Kathak moved from the courtyards of temples to the courts of Kings and Nawabs. The expressions too evolved from divine to amorous.
The contemporary Kathak is a result of much experimentation done with traditional form reflecting the richness imparted to it over several centuries. A typical Kathak rendition includes execution of intricate rhythm patterns by foot taps, fast pirouettes and thematic representation of Abinaya or emotive expression based on traditional themes.
Lucknow school of Kathak or Lucknow Gharana as it is most popularly known is one of three main school of tradition of Kathak. Named after the north Indian city of Lucknow, it is most noted for its grace, beauty and subtlety of expression. It is a an amalgamation of divine expressions of Hindu culture and exotic Persian thought, emerging as a versatile dance form with emphasis on the dancers ability to render infinite nuances.
It has two distinct styles - traditional temple Kathak and more exotic Darbari Kathak, While temple Kathak draws its inspiration from ancient Sanskrit poetry, literature of vaishnavaiasm and devotional love poetry of medieval era, darbari Kathak reflects a more evocative bent with compositions based on romatic urdu poetry or more philosophical Sufi poetry composed in Persian in combination with local north Indian dialects like awadhi and braj.
Subtle in expression, vivid in its simplicity and understated in it elegance Lucknow Kathak is one of the most versatile dance traditions of India.
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