Com©international, Shashwati Harmalkar
Kathak dance is a prominent classical dance of northern India. Indian dances have seen enormous changes in the past few years, but the fact that remains is not only has there been a change in the movements and "abhinay prakar" or expressions but also light and stage management and the costumes. Kathak performing artists or the "kathakkas" as they were called were actually story tellers and were earlier the messengers of the king. Gradually this art of storytelling changed its track to become
more » ... ia's most performed classical dance.In 10 th century this dance became a way of tribute to the almighty and was popularly performed by the devdasis in various temples. Though they were not openly performed for the devotees at first but only for the idols of the deity. Since the dance was performed in privacy, there was no need of stage and light. It was assumed that the dance was performed to depict ones bhakti or devotion towards the god and for the god's entertainment hence costume and jewellery were given special weightage. Blunt colours like red or green in fully covered lehenga; choli and dupatta were selected with loads of gold jewellery of all kinds. After Nadir shah's invasion and establishment of Mughal Empire in India, Kathak dance saw a drastic change. Temples were looted and devdasis abducted. All of this resulted in a shift of kathak from the temples to the King's courts. This is where kathak first became a performing art and form of entertainment than as a medium of bhakti. Now that it had become a performing art, it had become essential to add aesthetics to it. For the same, light system was managed depending on the position of the sun and size of shadows. Kathak was then a solo form of art. Special floors for dancing were specially constructed at the orders of king in various places. For example a bouncing dance floor was built at lalbagh, Indore for the dancers which started bouncing when a particular number of couples danced on it. Kathak from an Indian dance changed to a Mughal dance form as far as the costume is considered. Colours like turquoise, green were used more. Dancers focused more on wearing angarkhas or frock like dresses with a head gear on top and a long dupatta. Heavy accessories were encouraged then. Head gears like chapka became popular. Muslim attire became a part of dance. There was a decline in the sanctity of kathak dance. Earlier kathak was a dance of god while now it was brought to the courts before the kings and became a mere source of entertainment. With the passage of time vocal instrumental and dance all this branches of music are not only inter related but also inter dependent.