Kathak: A Theoretical and Practical Guide

Cover of the book Kathak Volume 1

Authors: Marami Medhi & Debasish Talukdar
Publisher: Anshika Publication, Lucknow
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 180; Price: 499

Kathak is undoubtedly the most popular classical dance style of north India. Over the centuries, it has evolved and developed as a distinct form of classical dance with emphasis on intricate rhythmic footwork and stylized circular movements, which is considered the highlight and also creates a fine spectacle, whenever a Kathak performance is witnessed. Pertaining to the storytelling tradition, the word ‘Kathak’ is derived from the word kathakaar (storyteller). Hence, like other classical dance styles of India, varied stories from Hindu mythology are interpreted in the Kathak style through the medium of hasta mudras (hand gestures), expressions and varied bodily movements.

Kathak has been an integral part of Indian cinema for several years, particularly in Hindi cinema. Some of the most popular movies featuring Kathak are Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Kamalahasan’s Suryavamsam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. These movies popularised Kathak to such an extent that many youth have come forward to learn this unique classical dance.

This brilliant book, Kathak Volume 1, A Theoretical and Practical Guide, written by accomplished Kathak exponent from Assam, Marami Medhi, and tabla maestro Debasish Talukdar, also from Assam, is a useful guide to students of Kathak dance.

With an extensive coverage of the varied aspects of Kathak in 29 chapters, the book also features beautiful colour pictures as well. The varied chapters concern the syllabus of:

  • Bhatkahande Sangeet Vidyapith and Prayag Sangeet Samiti
  • Different types of Fine Arts, Natyopatti and Nrityopatti Katha, Natan Bheda
  • Eight types of classical dances
  • Gharanas of Kathak
  • Usage of various parts of the body and the varied looks, single and double-hand gestures
  • Merits and demerits of a Kathak (qualities necessary for a dancer)
  • Varied Kathak terms or definition
  • Significance of ghungroo (dancing bells)
  • Different types of taals (rhythm), laya and laykari
  • Different types of musical instruments and the importance of tabla, sangeet gayaki
  • Different types of music, Taal Paddhati, as founded by Pt V. N. Bhatkhande and Pt V. D. Paluskar
  • Profiles of great mentors and exponents of Kathak
  • National awards and the repertoire of a Kathak performance and much more.

Marami Medhi says, “From the beginning of my Kathak journey, I was facing many problems regarding the collection of theoretical content. As a result, I decided to write this book as it is very useful for all students of Kathak and all the readers who would like to know as to what is Kathak dance.”

Marami Medhi, an accomplished Kathak exponent, founded Sur Sangam in Guwahati to take the legacy forward and also to inspire young aspirants to learn Kathak. Born on 8 November 1965 in Tura, Meghalaya district, Marami was initially trained by Guru Charoo Bardoloi and learned further from Dr Surendra Saikia of Kathak Kendra, U.P. Sangeet Natak Akedemi, Lucknow, and has attended the workshop of the legendary Pt Birju Maharaj. She completed her Nritya Nipun (M. Music) in 1994 and is an ‘A’ grade artist of Doordarshan. She was awarded a two-year fellowship in 2000 from the Department of Culture, Government of India, and is an empanelled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Marami has performed for some of the most prestigious festivals both in India and abroad like the Kathak Samaroh in Lucknow, Vasantotsav, New Delhi, Khajuraho Festival, etc. Debasish is a young and dynamic tabla maestro, music researcher and vocalist. He is the disciple of Ustad Julfikar Hussain of Lucknow Gharana.

Available on Amazon India

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