Kathak evolved in Northern India during the Bhakti movement around the eighth century CE. Kathakaars or storytellers performed this style of dance in various temples telling stories from Indian mythology. They were wandering minstrels who popularized this form all over North India. Kathak is mainly characterized by extremely complex footwork and pirouettes. It is a very graceful form of dance without much rigidity. There are three main schools in Kathak – Lucknow, Benaras, and Jaipur gharanas. Guru Nirmala Madhava is part of the Lucknow gharana.

My ideals of classical dance

I don’t believe that classical dance is a rigid form where there is no scope for any kind of change. I believe that there should be clarity in technique, a great confidence in your performance, and a steady control of mind and body. Abhinaya is also a vital part of classical dance. It is an expression of emotion that can best be expressed when you tap into your own fount of feelings and emotions. You need to get over your inhibitions and remain true to the storyline of your performance. Abhinaya requires a calmness in mind while performing. You also need to learn effective breathing techniques that enable to enhance your effectiveness while emoting. I believe it is essential for all Indian classical dance performers to have a good understanding of Natya Shastra and Abhinaya Darpana, the bibles of classical dance.