KATHAK (from Uttar Pradesh, northern India): in the beginning, it was very similar to Bharatanatyam. Persian and Muslim influences later altered the ritual dance of a temple to a courtly entertainment. Mughal influence is evident, with a distinctive texture Hindu-Muslim. Katha literally means storyteller. To embellish these narrations, the dance was used in a mimetic recital about mythological passages that the dancer effected in ecstasy. This took the form of Kathakalakshepam and Harikatha in southern India, and the form of Kathak in the north. Towards the 15th century this art underwent a drastic transition by the Mughal influence, from being exposed in the temples to be enjoyed in the most sumptuous Mughal palaces. It then acquired sophistication and a lively, bright character, being elevated to a unique and distinctive style of classical dance. For the 16th century, the form-fitting churidar pyjamas became the main dress of the Kathak dancer.
This form of dance represents life and is based on the philosophy of the trinity: creation (Brahma), preservation (Vishnu), and destruction (Shiva-Mahesh). The attitude is rarely static and has a continuous flow of movements similar to the flow of life. This exciting dance is characterized by the intricate footwork and fast pirouettes. It runs with straight legs and skillfully controlling ankle bells. In contrast to the Bharatanatyam, where they emphasize hasta mudras or hands forms, in the Kathak footwork is accentuated.