Want to Learn Kathak? Here's Everything You Need to Know

From Mughal-e-Azam to Kalank and from Sufism to worship of Lord Ganesha, Kathak seems to have no boundaries.

The word Kathak comes from ‘Katha’ which means story and Kathak dancers are often called Kathakars or the storytellers. It is one of the 8 classical dance forms of India finding its origins in the northern part of the country. It got popular during the Bhakti movement (15th century CE) and has undergone many changes over the years.

Traditionally, a Kathak dance troupe is accompanied by 2 to 10 musical instruments and a vocalist.

Needless to say, today Kathak is one of the most critically and commercially successful Indian Classical dance forms.

Now- if you’re planning to join a dance class but are confused where and how to get started, we’ve got you! This article answers some common questions one might face before beginning their Kathak journey. And here we go...

Leena Malakar
Leena Malakar, Empaneled Artist, ICCR- India

1. What’s the right age to start learning Kathak?

While many dancers start learning at 6 or 7 years of age, the best time to start learning any new dance style is the moment you find determination to do so. In today’s day and age, teachers are willing to guide you through the process. With passion in your heart, be fearless and leap onto this journey. Rabindranath Tagore began painting when he was in his sixties. What's your excuse?

2. Is there a difference between a Guru and a teacher?

Defined beautifully in Sanskrit, a teacher is the one who gives you information and imparts knowledge and skills along the way. A Guru is like a mentor, one who enables the wisdom in you, leading you from darkness to light. It is important to have both in your life. It is always advised to begin your classical arts journey with a teacher. As you go in your craft- reaching out to a guru is the way to go.

Moreover, most gurus prefer students who have an intermediate or an advanced level knowledge of their craft.