In northern India, kathak (pure dance and narrative) was initially interpreted by men, who still hold occasional female roles.

Originally religious kathak evolved during the Islamic period to a more entertaining; kathak today is a synthesis of two sources: sacred and secular.

The storytellers (kathakara) were attached to temples in Uttar Pradesh, birthplace of Krishna. The sacred texts, the Ramayana and the Bhagavad-Gita, and were sung mimés to be forwarded to an illiterate public. After the introduction mercy, the passages of pure dance and narrative alternates, and the circular movements of the hands and wrists give this art a characteristic style. The dance begins gradually and the pace is accelerating. Less rigid than the Bharata natyam, kathak leaves little room for improvisation. The dancer must have exceptional physical and must keep a grace despite the speed of her dancing. In addition kathak draws primarily on the movement of the feet than hands. The kathak is characterized by the movements of these various flips and postures called statuary!

There are two major varieties of Manipuri: haroba lai, performed by a mixed couple of dancers during the holy month of chaitra (March-April) and rasa lila, which tells the love of Krishna, Radha and vachères.

Some famous performers kathak
Shambhu Maharaj, Sunder Prasad, Birju Maharaj, Damayanti Joshi, Gopi Krishan and more recently the contemporary dancer and choreographer Akram Khan British.


* Devi Amala "Dance of India: Kathak", in Danser, No. 9, ed. SPER, Paris, 1984, pp. 42 SS.
* Jayadeva, trad. Nicole Menant, Gita Govinda: dance and love poem, Ed Alain Mazeran art, Paris, 1988. [Book illustrated with beautiful photos dances-bharata natyam, Manipuri, kathak, odissi.]
* Leela Venkataraman, Avinash Pasricha, Indian classical dance, a tradition in transition, Lodi Publishing, 2003.


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