Kathak, a major classical dance form of North India, literally means a storyteller or kathakar. In ancient India there were 'Kathakars' or bards who used to recite religious and mythological tales along with the accompaniments, music, mime and dance. This classical dance form which had its origin in simple story telling came to be known as 'Kathak'. What distinguishes kathak from other Indian classical dance forms is its spontaneity, freedom from uniformity and a lot of room for improvisation and innovations
Wajid Ali Shah
times there is a sort of concert during which the drummer weaves
and plays a complex design which in turn is danced by the dancer,
specially in the item which is technically known as 'Jugal Bhandi'.
It is a kind of friendly challenge and competition between the two
(dancer and drummer) which is full of innovations and
Kathak has been best preserved in the cities of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan. During the medieval period, kathak suffered a lot in stylization and formalization. Persian and Muslim influences made kathak from a temple ritual to a courtly entertainment. During this period it was called as 'Nautch'. Gradually from this the Kathak dance form evolved and gained much of its polish, grace and elegance. The contribution of Lucknow Gharana and Jaipur Gharana has been the greatest in the revival of kathak dance form