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Kathak is one of the eight forms of indian classical dances, originated from northern india. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern india, known as kathaks, or storytellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of persian dance and central asian dance, which were imported by the royal courts of the mughal era.

There are three major schools or gharanas of kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: The gharanas of jaipur, lucknow and banaras (Born in the courts of the kachwaha rajput kings, the nawab of oudh, and varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (And later) Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.

The name kathak is derived from the sanskrit word katha meaning story, and katthaka in sanskrit means s/He who tells a story, or to do with stories. The name of the form is properly katthak, with the geminated dental to show a derived form, but this has since simplified to modern-day kathak. Kathaa kahe so kathak is a saying many teachers pass on to their pupils, which is generally translated, 's/He who tells a story, is a kathak', but which can also be translated, 'that which tells a story, that is kathak'.


MONISA NAYAK is an accomplished Kathak performer of the Jaipur Gharana who has dedicated herself to perfecting her art form. Her excellent command of rhythm, as well as her natural flair for profound expression, mark her performances and are critically acclaimed by connoisseurs.

A disciple of Pandit Rajendra Gangani, and a Post graduate from the national institute – the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi and an A- Grade artiste of Delhi Doordarshan, Monisa is an empanelled artiste of the ICCR, Govt. of India. She has performed widely in major festivals within and outside the country. In recognition of her prodigious talent, versatility and dedication to the art form, she has been awarded the Sanatana Nritya Puraskar. Presently Monisa is teaching at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya,New Delhi

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Taken on September 30, 2010