The beautiful Indian Classical dance, Kathak, is a derivative of the word katha meaning ‘story’. The graceful, spontaneous dance that is characterised by rhythmic footwork, has its origin perhaps in the narrative tradition of the village minstrel, the kathakaar, or the ‘story-teller’ who sang out the heroic tales and legends of a bygone age, dramatising the lyrics with subtle gestures and expressions. This form of narrative entertainment blossomed into the intricately patterned dance form we know today as Kathak, absorbing in the process the aesthetic principle of the Natya Shastra.

Over the many years different styles of the dance form emerged and merged and many schools or gharanas were formed. Continuity of tradition was maintained by the guru shisya parampara where the disciple carried on the art as learnt from the master with reverence and dedication.

Of the various gharanas that nurtured the art of Kathak, the pride of place goes to the Lucknow school and its great master Pt Bindadin Maharaj. His sons, Acchan Maharaj, Lacchu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj stunned audiences with their brilliant skills and helped popularise Kathak. Today, the family line as well as the Lucknow gharana of Bindadin is distinguished by Padma Vibhushan Pt Birju Maharaj, the last word in contemporary Kathak.















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