or Tukras, which comprises a series of successive rhythmic designs danced to
the drum. At this stage the dancer performs many Paranas in perfect
combination with the drummer"s rhythm and syllables. The basis of
composition of Kathak is the Hindustani Classical music, and Kathak builds
up on bhava, raga and thala. The expressional numbers, which are in Hindi,
Hindustani or Urdu language pertaining to Krishna Leela legends from the
Puranas or a love episode, are narrated and interpreted through abhinaya,
facial expressions and postures. Sometimes a Kathak item called gatbhava
may be without a chant or singing. Here the dancer takes the Radha–Krishna
episode and interprets it through mime only. The excitement in a typical
Kathak performance is the jugalbandi, which is the interactive and
competitive play between the dancer and the tabla player. Kathak is
fundamentally a solo performance with a strong emphasis on footwork and
rhythm. Dancers wear tight-fitting churidars under angarkhas, achkans or
kurtas, with long strings of bells wound firmly around the ankles. Jaipur,
Lucknow and Benaras are the famous Gharanas of Kathak. Famous
exponents of Kathak dance form are: Kalka Prasad, Binda Din, Shambhu
Maharaj, Lachchu Maharaj, Achchan Maharaj, Birju Maharaj, Munalal
Shukla and Reba Vidhyarthi (all of Lucknow Gharana); Roshan Kumari,
Mohan Rao Kalyanpurkar, Durgalal and Rajendra Gangani (all of Jaipur
Gharana); Gopi Krishna, Sitara Devi, Sunayana Hazarilal, Uma Sharma,
Kumudini Lakhia, Maulik Shah, Ishira Parikh and Neelima Azeem (all of
Benaras gharana).
Archaeological evidences suggest that Odissi is one of the oldest surviving
dance forms. Temple dancers, known as Maharis, used to perform this
traditional dance in the temples of Orissa as a religious rite and while offering
to the deity. It finds a mention in the inscriptions, is depicted on sculptures in
temples like the Brahmeswara and the dancing hall of the Sun Temple at
Konark. It is with the help of these and the text of the Abhinaya Chandrika
that Odissi was revived and revitalised in the 1950s in India. The style of
Odissi is very similar to that of Bharatanatyam in its use of the basic
movements of the head, hands and body.