It has its root in Katha story. A band of story tellers who were attached to temples in North India, narrated stories from epics. Later, they added mime & gesture to their recitation. The next stage in its evolution came in the 15th & 16th centuries A.D. with the popularisation of the Radha-Krishna legend. With the advent of the Muslim rule, it was taken out from the temples to the courts. Jaipur, Lucknow & Benaras became the centres. While Jaipur gave predominance to pure dance with emphasis on rhythm, the Lucknow one drifted into erotics.
Benaras also stuck to pure dance but it provided for the sensuous aspect by delineating episodes from the Radha-Krishna legend. The patron king of Lucknow style was Wajid Ali Shah who spent extravagantly on art. The Kathak dance goes through a regular format mostly concentrating on rhythm, variously called Tatkar, Paltas, Thoras, Amad & Parans. Binda Din Maharaj, Kalkadin, Aachan Maharaj, Gopi Krishna & Birju Maharaj are but a few maestros in this line.


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