Kathak Dress – Makeup, Jewelry, Ornament, 3 Main Gharana.

The Enchanting Dress of Kathak Dance :

             Kathak dress is a traditional attire worn by practitioners of Kathak. The Kathak dress is an essential part of the Kathak performance and reflects the cultural and artistic heritage of the dance. Kathak Dress, a classical dance form originating from northern India, boasts a mesmerizing dress that serves as an integral part of the performance. This attire not only reflects the cultural heritage but also adds a distinctly artistic touch to the dance. It is important to note that the specifics of the Kathak dress may vary based on factors such as the dancer’s preference, regional variations, and the thematic focus of the performance.

             This attire plays a vital role in amplifying the visual and artistic impact of the Kathak dance, contributing significantly to the narrative and emotional depth conveyed through the performance.

Kathak Dress - Makeup, Jewelry, Ornament, 3 Main Gharana.

Let’s delve into the components that make up the captivating Kathak dress.


1. Anarkali-style kathak Kurta :

Anarkali-style kathak Dress kurta is a long, flowy tunic that is often fitted at the top and flares out towards the bottom. It usually has Elaborate embroidery, intricate designs, and captivating embellishments adorn the Kathak dress kurta, showcasing the rich cultural aesthetic traditions of India. The use of sequins, beads, and other decorative elements adds to its allure.

2. Churidar or Wide-Legged Kathak Dress Pants :

Kathak dancers wear either churidar pants ( fitted trousers gathered at the ankles ) or wide-legged pants while dancing as Kathak dresses. These pants allow for the graceful execution of movements and complex dance steps.

3. Kathak Dress Graceful Dupatta :

graceful kathak dress dupatta, a long scarf or shawl-like cloth, is draped elegantly over the shoulder or around the neck. This element introduces an element of drama and grace to the dancer’s movements, and it can be skillfully incorporated into various aspects of the performance.

4. Kathak Dress Makeup :

kathak dress To accentuate expressions and features, Kathak dancers typically wear makeup that complements their performance Kathak Dancer use foundation and powder in makeup. Lipstick on lips, ointment on cheeks. Mascara is applied to the eyes. If there is a Mughal dress, there is no dot on the head and if there is a Rajasthani dress, there is a dot on the head.

5. Kathak Dress Hairstyling :

Hair is usually styled in a neat bun or adorned with decorative hairpins and accessories, completing the polished look.

6. Kathak Dress Elegant Jewelry :

Traditional Indian jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bangles, and anklets, contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the Kathak dress. These adornments enhance the dancer’s appearance and lend an air of sophistication to the performance.

7. Kathak Dress Ghungroos :

Ghungroos are strings of small bells that are tied around the ankles of the dancer. Adding a rhythmic auditory dimension to the dance, ghungroos are strings of small bells tied around the dancer’s ankles. As the dancer moves, these bells produce an enchanting sound that harmonizes with the kathak dance, creating a musical synergy.


Ornament – Abhushana :

No. Abhushana
1. Bindi or Tika
2. Jhumka
3. Hara
4. Hathaphula
( the ornament on the palm with chains connected to each finger rings )
5. Payajeba
( silver anklet )


Kathak Dance :

      Kathak dance originated in Vrajbhoomi, North India. The storytellers danced a little in the spirit of storytelling in temples and thus, Kathak dance was born.

These dances are performed in a confined space, so the rhythmic movement of the feet, as well as the circular motion, is more noticeable.

In the Ramayana, Valmiki mentions a class that travels from one village to another and tells stories to people. From the art of storytelling, two dance styles were born, Kathak of North India. And Andhra’s Bhagwad Mela plays.

Gradually Kathak dances took place in Vaishnava temples in the form of Rasleela. Vaishnavas identify Krishna as Natwar. Hence, Kathak is also often referred to as the ‘Natwari’ dance. Later these artists moved towards Rajasthan and many new elements were introduced into the dance there. After the Muslim invasions in North India, during the Mughal rule, Kathak dances, which were performed in temples as devotion to God, began to be entertained by kings. Thus, Kathak dance entertains the heart. Instrumentalists become disheartened by the dance and lose respect for it.

      The telling of a story by a narrator even today is one of our entertaining arts. From these storytellers of old originated Kathak of North India. The Muslim invasion of North India had a serious impact on this art. Many Moghul rulers brought dancing girls from Persia to entertain guests at Court performances. Soon these dancers began to borrow from their local environment and it was mainly Kathak that they borrowed from.

        Dance ad music had always been an aspect of storytelling. The stories were mostly of Krishna and Radha in the Natvari style as it was then called, but as the dance was taken to the Muslim courts, it naturally had to become more entertaining and less religious, the emphasis was laid more on Nritta, the pure dance aspect with elaborate and exerting footwork.

The Kathak dance had its centers in Lucknow and in Jaipur. The main dancer at Lucknow at the court of the ruler Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh was Thakur Prasad. His two sons Bindu Din and Kalka Prasad were mainly responsible for enriching this art. The Nawab himself was a connoisseur of art and the story goes that once a year he held a festival of dance and music which went on for ten days and nights. The Nawab himself took part in the performances.

In Jaipur, a devotee of Lord Shiva called Bhanuj had a vision of the Tandava dance which he taught to his son, and thereafter this art was handed down from generation to generation. The regional stylistic difference in Kathak which flowered and developed in different courts, provinces, or regions came to be called Gharana.

Centuries later, due to the efforts of the artists, the dance floor was revived and today it is a place of honor.


There are 3 main Gharana :

1. Benaras Gharana :

The Kathak bolas are used in this style rather than the tabla or pakhavaj bolas the emphasis is on softness and emotion.

2. Jaipur Gharana :

There was a Shiva devotee named Bhanuji in Jaipur who used to have dandavas in his dreams. This is what they have taught their sons and thus, this art has been preserved from generation to generation. Which became famous as Jaipur Gharana.

The Jaipur Gharana places more emphasis on the rhythm of the foot.

Lucknow gives more importance to the ‘Bhava performance’ of the house, but now Kathak is introduced with both song and bhava performance.

A style developed by the dancers, and musicians of Jaipur where there is more emphasis on rhythm and vigorous dancing. The main sentiment is valor.

Kathak is the terminology of dance. Salami, Toda, Tatakara, Pelta, Tirtha, Chakradhar, Toda, Paran, Gat, Thumri, etc. fall in the dance section. When Thumri Bhava and Past Bhava get into the dance. Rhythm and rhythm are very important in Kathak, hence Kathak means “to play tabla with feet”.

3. Lucknow Gharana :

A graceful style with an emphasis on expression and emotion. The main sentiment is love The style is based mainly on nritya and tabala syllables.

Repertoire or Nirtyakrama – includes Vandana, (Ganesh. Guru, Rangamanch) Salami, Thata, Gata (beginning of abhinaya) Kavita (dance using poetry) Toda (rhythmic tabala bols) Parana (vigorous composition played on Pakhavaja) Then there are nritya items Dadara, Ghazals, Thumari, etc. and Tarana a musical composition with intricate footwork. Lastly Tatakara the essence of all movements in Kathak.

The Lucknow Gharana was started by two brothers named Kalkadin and Bindadin. Two dancers were Wajid Ali Shah fond who took refuge in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow. Then his three sons Shambhu Maharaj, Achhan Maharaj, and Lachhu Maharaj performed the Kathak dance.

Birju Maharaj, son of Shambhu Maharaj is also a great dancer of Kathak dance.

Costume – Pahanava Acakana and chudidar worn by men.

Angarakha – long skirt type dress with long sleeves (Rajput style was worn by both men and women). Ghagra, choli and duppta worn by women.

Coga – a dress of Moghul times and topi a head cap worn by male dancers in the Mughal style.

       Kathak dance has two different costumes. In Mughal attire, the dancer wears a long-sleeved frock, pajamas below, and a coat or jacket over the frock. It is embroidered beautifully together. The cap is worn on the head.

Sometimes a scarf is sewn with a hat. So sometimes it is tied at the waist.

Another dress is the Rajasthani dress. The dancer wears a Chaniya, a blouse, and a scarf. All of these have continued work. And in between, there are beautiful carvings.

Bhushan includes a long pearl necklace and a short necklace. Wear earrings, headbands, bracelets, or bracelets. Wear a waistband and a scarf at the waist.


📌Music The Kathak dance is inextricably bound with classical Hindusthani music instruments used are :

No. Music Instruments
1. Ghungaru
2. Harmonium
3. Bansuri
4. Pakhavaj
5. Sarangi
6. Sitar
7. Tabala


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