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Monday, April 22, 2024

Debunking falsehoods and learning more about the obscure details of the well-known dance technique Kathak


In addition to being the name of a traditional North Indian dance, Kathaka also refers to a group of musicians and dancers that perform for a living. They were dispersed over the Indian subcontinent, according to the documents that were accessible. Numerous invasions and onslaughts, mostly in the country's north, not only changed the geopolitical and cultural landscape but also spawned a mosaic culture, which in turn contributed to the survival of myths and tales. There is much to learn about this lovely dance style, from its roots to the dexterous footwork and hand movements.Let's explore some lesser-known facets of Kathak and dispel some common misconceptions about it.
Kathak dance myths and realities
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Prof. Ranjana Srivastava, former dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts (FPA) at BHU Varanasi in India and head of the dance department, revealed some little-known facts regarding this well-known dance technique.
1. The urban legend “Katha Kahe so Kathaka Kahave”
Fact: The kathas and katha vachaks, two narrative traditions from the Indian subcontinent, are very rich, diverse, and admirable. All Indian traditional dances, including Kathaka Dance, include 'kathas' (tales) in their repertory. All dance styles are narrative art forms. When one reads the Nirukta of Yaska Muni, which cites “Kathakaya Acharya,” the special significance given to “kathas” (tales) in Kathaka Dance form, as per the myth, aka saying, above, becomes obvious.
2. Myth: Kathaka was raised in Wajid Ali Shah's court after being raised in temples where she was born.
Fact: Dhrupada Nritya, which has a very long history of lineage, is where what we now recognize as Kathak dance sprang from. The courts mentioned are often considered to be those of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Oudh, albeit this is only partly accurate. It is possible that various regional and traditional forms, as well as the courts of the Hindu Rajas, contributed.
3. Myth: When Lord Krishna danced on the head of the poisonous serpent Kaalia, the sounds 'taa' – 'thei' – 'tatta' were made.
The myth is aligned symbolically, providing a logical justification for the widely held belief that Lord Krishna emerged from the Yamuna's waters dancing on the hood of the serpent “Kalia,” subduing the snake and its ego with one foot placed on its hood and the other foot pointing upward, making the sounds “taa” “thei” “tatta,” and implying that he is the Lord of the three worlds, “akasha,” “patala,”
The three separate noises 'taa' – 'thei' – 'tatta' were made by Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as 'Vaman' avataar when he conquered the three realms as 'Trivikrama' – Vishnu's foot landing on three different elements: Earth. However, research and discoveries point to a more rational explanation. The fundamental mnemonic syllables of the Kathaka dance were captured in three different sounds produced by the combination of Water and Space.
4. Myth: The “amada” compositions, which are performed by the dancer as he or she approaches the stage, are based on the mnemonic words “taa,” “thei,” and “tatta.”
Fact: The first three fundamental syllables of Kathaka dance are “taa,” “thei,” and “tatta.” As a result, compositions of Kathaka dance that include these three basic syllables are referred to as “amadas.”
Myth: “Tattkara” is often thought to as footwork. the ghoongroos and the noises made by the dancers' feet.
In actuality, the words “tattakar” and “akara” are etymologically related. Brahma, who is both bright and formless, is also referred to as “tatta” in Sanskrit, while “akara” denotes form or shape. Dancing is thus the skill of using sounds and motions to give Brahama, or “aakara,” to the “Nirakara,” form and shape.
The linking of the exoteric and esoteric realms of experience, where the “tattakara” in Kathaka serves as both the departure and arrival point, is made possible through art.


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