Kathak is said to have originated in the temples of North India before finding its way into the royal courts of Awadh and Jaipur. Known as the dance of story tellers, Kathak comes from the word Kathakaar, the village minstrel who used subtle gestures and movements to enhance the dramatic element of the narrative. The narrative was most often from mythological legends.
During the Mughal period, artistes served in courts for royal entertainment. It is during this time that the dazzling court Kathak, with its exotic costumes, Persian influence and intricate footwork, developed and flourished.
This graceful and spontaneous dance form reveals the poetry, mythology and spiritual ethos of its roots and also, importantly, India's rich Hindu-Muslim heritage. It is, of all the classical dance styles of the country, pre-eminently the one which renders tala, or the rhythmic aspect, as a central focus in its repertoire.