Kathak, the vibrant Classical dance of the Northern part of the Indian land. Its subtlety, its grace, its precision, its elegance, its mystery still enchants people today even thousands of years later since its inception.

Its roots in the Natya Shastra (The bible of dance), divinely discovered by the Sage Bharata, Kathak began as stories (Kathas) of the Gods and Goddesses (Devi, Devtas) danced in devotional (Bhakti) ecstasy by story tellers (Kathakars) in the temples. They recounted tales of Krishna playing with the Gopis, Shiva?s supernatural powers, Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, Devi?s ferocious and divine love for all. This is where the Jaipur Gharana of Kathak took its roots from and evolved today to a powerful classical form of dance. Till today it is known for its scintillating rhythmic technique of footwork, stunningly fast spins, and devotional and graceful surrender to the Gods. The Lucknow Gharana added a dimension of subtlety, style, and elegance to the dance as later in time the courts of the Moghul Emperor?s were filled with the sound of ghungroos from brilliant kathak performances done for the royalty. There the nuances of how to stand, how to entice with the eyes, how to finish with stylistic perfection was developed and perfected. Today Kathak is a diverse art form of both these gharanas where an accomplished dancer can display virtuosity of perfect rhythmic technique, smooth spins, unusual elegance of arms, dazzling footwork, poised stances, subtle glances, and depth of expression. She can lose herself and take the audience into any imaginative story or era through her Abhinaya.

Kathak can be performed to the following:

  • Invocation of the Gods -Stuti of Shiva, Durga, Ganesha, Vishnu, Ganga ? Astha has performed a Shiva Tandava and Shiva stuti to the Dhrupad style of singing.
  • Thumri/Kajri/Chaiti ? the playful singing style of the UP area that recounts the evocative and playful games of Krishna, expresses the pangs love and separation of the Radha and the Gopis, celebrates the seasons of love?"Meri Suno Shyam, chado ancharva kaha manle pyaare hoon teri Cheeeeli?".
  • Tarana ? a celebratory and mesmerizing display of the dynamic movements of Kathak usually in a faster pace and climacting with the ever popular jaw dropping spins of Kathak.
  • Ghazal ? Sufi Urdu poetry that transports one to timeless mystical romance with the Beloved and the pain of separation. "Dil se har ek muabala karke chale the saaf hum, kehne me unke saamne baat badal badal gayee".
  • Sargam ? the notes of singing (Sa Re Ga) meet the movements of the dancer.

Design: Daalcheeni