Kathak is one of six distinct styles of Indian classical dance.

Kathak is one of six distinct styles of Indian classical dance. It has roots in story telling..the word “katha” comes from Sanskrit for story. Although it originated in the temples of ancient India, Kathak was adopted in the courts of Mughal kings. As many as 150 ankle bells ( ghungru ) are worn to emphasize the flamboyant and intricate footwork. Kathak resembles Spanish flamenco dancing apparently because it was exported via the Romani people, thought to have originated and migrated from the Indian subcontinent around the 11th century!

Kathak incorporates three styles: natya , expressive or dramatic dance; nritta , pure and abstract dance which is often highly rhythmical; and nritya , the fusion of these two elements.

The link I chose is an exuberant, more modern interpretation. If you like it, check out a more classical clip from the same dancers, Nirupama and Rajendra: Dance India 2010

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12 Responses to Kathak is one of six distinct styles of Indian classical dance.

  1. Sherri Vance says:


    Amazing! I love not only the dance, but the voices as well.


  2. Curious to see how it compares to flamenco, which has less intricate hand/arm movements, but is a lot more passionate, funny how it has evolved differently… sara baras solea por bulerias


    Thanks for sharing, very nice, I love dancing!


  3. Great link! It absolutely resembles flamenco except in flamenco they use the shoes to emphasize the footwork and the castanets to emphasize the handwork. Judging from just that clip, I’d also argue that flamenco, when danced in partners, is more “joined” instead of parallel. Really pretty though.

  4. Kapil Ranade says:


    And – the traditional interpretation – by the Emperor of Kathak in person!


    Kathak by Birju Maharaj

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks, Kapil! I’m at work, so I’ll wait until later to check them out. Madeline Muñoz-Bustamante and Daniela Huguet Taylor , the similarities between the two dance forms are in the percussive footwork, emphasis on the vertical axis and the complicated swirls. I found the migration pattern of the gypsies fascinating..apparently, they left the NW part of India beginning in the 9th century and in Persia (Iran) split into two groups..one going south via Palestine, Egypt, Morocco and through the Gibralter strait, and the other via Hungary to Spain. Apparently, the genetics and linguistics of the Romani bear out the lineage…and dance!


  6. If you think about it, the complicated swirls also continued outwards into salsa as well. It’s so neat to see the evolution of things, even dance. Part of my dad’s family more than likely came from the East into Spain at some point but we’ve never been able to trace it fully. It may have been Gypsy or even part of the Moorish invasion. Ugh is my history nerd showing? 😉

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    Science nerds ❤ history nerds 🙂 Evolution of anything is fascinating..human behavior in particular!


  8. They are definitely similar, you can tell they’re family. 🙂


  9. Growing up, I always thought that the Middle Eastern oud and Spanish guitar sounded similar. Many years later, I learned that the Spanish guitar indeed has roots in the Moorish occupations of the Iberian peninsula, and of course the Middle Eastern oud that the Moors certainly brought with them. I always wondered, though, how the flamenco came into being. Now I know, thank you.

  10. Tom Lee says:


    Rajini Rao I looks like of modern Bollywood dancing, to some degree, is influenced by this traditional dancing form. Nice dances. Wondering if I can take a class somewhere here in the U.S. . 🙂

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Maria Luisa A , you forgot to add Indian 🙂

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