Kathak is a classical dance form originated in the Northern part of India. Originally the dance used to be performed by the nomadic bards in village squares and temple areas. These are also referred as story tellers or kathakas. These dances are based on the mythological and moral stories from the sacred scriptures expressing the stories with beautiful recitals, hand gestures and facial expressions. Slowly the art has been shifted to the royal courts due to patronage of the rulers of that period. The dance style became more for entertainment missing the story part. In the Mughal period Kathak has been developed as a sophisticated dance form and the dancers refined the art of dancing with rhythm and stylized mime.
The dance is characterized by rhythmic foot work matching to the percussion instruments like Tabla, Pakhawaj, and dancer performing the dance in a very talented manner displaying a rhythmic wizardry. The movements include a rapid spin of the body ending with a still pose. The interpretative part is the stories of Radha and Krishna. Recognized schools are located in Lucknow, Banaras and Jaipur where the dance is further refined and developed to a high standard. The dance form is now recognized by people allover the world. Kathak reflects both Hindu and Muslim cultures
In the Kathak dance the dancers give importance to the foot work performing more straight legged wearing ankle bells. Contrary to this, in Bharatanatyam the dancers give importance to the hasta mudras. Kathak dances are performed by both men and women. The dancers in Kathak can change their steps according to their skill and style. The famous Kathak dancers are Birju Maharaj and Uma Sharma.
Hridev Ray, Nepal
Proving his merits with the dynamic dance style – Hridev Ray is an ideal example of masculinity entwined with graceful movements amongst the current generation of Kathak dancer. Hridev Ray is a brightest disciple of Guru Nandini Singh Ji and has been learning Kathak at Shri Ram Bharathiya Kalakendra since 2001. Ever since then supported by his Guru Sri Nandini Singh Ji he completed his diploma course at Sri. Ram Bharathiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi. Hridev Ray is a senior diploma, Prabhakar and Praveen Degree holder from Prayag Sangeet Samithi Allahabad.
Hridev has given numerous performances. On November 2004 he gave his first performance; solo Kathak dance at Talkatora Stadium. In the same year he took part in the Mithalia Mahotsav in Nepal (2004-2007) attracted by much audience. He performed dance in Gita Jayanthi Samaroh (2003-2007) with great Guru Sonalman Singh Ji at Kurushetra, Haryana. He also gave performances in Brahan Natyanjali 2007 (Brahadeeswara temple Tanjavur), Hari Das Maha Sammelan in Mathura Vrindavan, Kumbha Mela Utsav, Allahabad with his own Guru Smt. Nandini Singh Ji and in Minjar Mela Mahotsav in Chamba (Himachal Pradesh). On 3rd April 2008 he participated in Padit Durgalal Dance Mahotsav. In the same year he performed in Delhi Art and Cultural International Festival on 4th December 2008. In 2009 he gave performance in Kal Ke Kalakar Surshringar. In 2010 at Bharath Nrithyotsav – International Indian Classical Dance Festival 2010 by Nataraj Music & Dance Academy, Visakhapatnam.