Ved Institute of Performing Arts

Aditi Kathak Dance Classes & Institute in Mumbai |


  • Gat Nikas — these depict simple stories. In Gat Bhava dancer portrays two or more characters with a half-turn. This role playing is generalized under various gats like makhan chori, paniya bharan, chedchad, ghungat (veil), murli (flute), matki (pot), etc. where Krishna is symbolized by murli or crown and Radha by ghungat or matki.
  • Kavita — These are poems set in rhythmic cycle narrating mythological episodes like kaliya, govardhan lila, etc. where the Dancer expresses the words of the kavita with appropriate hand gestures and symbols.
  • Thumri — These are semi-classical music compositions exhaustively covering the entire gamut of emotions, situations, expressions and episodes of Krishna legends. A thumri may showcase love of Krishna and Radha depicting them together on a swing or in a boat or playing rasa or highlight their anxiety and distress during the period of separation. Thumri highlights the prowess of a Kathak dancer and are dealt with a lot of subtlety.
  • Aamad: Aamad is a persian word, which means an “entrance”. This piece is danced in the beginning of the performance and is composed of the characteristic patterns of Natwari bols, which are the basic syllables of Kathak dance.

    Aavartan: A cycle of any taal is called an Aavartan or an Aavriti.

    Chaugun: Fourth speed. Four beats into one beat or four time the speed of the basic time cycle. For example: 1 2 3 4  5 6 7 8.

    Doon: Double speed. Two beats into one beat or double time the speed of the basic time cycle. For example: 1 2 3 4.

    Hastak: The hand movements in Kathak are called Hastak.

    Kathak Nritya: Kathak is one of the leading forms of Indian classical dance Kathak is a North Indian classical dance form. This ancient art of India derived its name “Kathak” from “Katha”, the art of story telling. (For more on Kathak, please read History of Kathak ).

    Khali: Khali is also called "Phank". The word khali means empty. Khali is the rest point of a Tal. The Tabla player stops playing left Tabla on the syllables of Khali. Khali is denoted by the sign "0".

    Laya : Rhythm or tempo. Laya is a continuous movement in space of time. Music and dance without Laya is like a body without bones.

    There are mainly three kinds of Layas.

    • Laya Vilambit : The slow tempo
    • Laya Madhyam: The moderate or medium tempo
    • Laya Drut : The fast tempo.

    Matra: Beats. A taal is divided into Vibhags or parts.  Each Vibhag has a set of beats which are called 'Matras'.  Matras are division in a time cycle. For example; the constant interval between the seconds is Laya, the time which measures sixty minutes is Tal, and the seconds are the beats or matras.

    Nritya: Dance. 

    Padhant: Padhant means recitation. Normally dancers recite the tabla bol followed by the toda bol before dancing. This helps the musicians set the laya.

    Salami: The word “salami” literally means salutation. While performing salami, the dancer honors the audience by saluting it in a special manner. Salami is performed in the beginning of the performance.

    Sum: It is the first beat of any tal.  Kathak Dancers returning on the "Sum" after completing a time cycle.Sum is accented more than any other beats. Sum is denoted by the sign ‘X’.

    Taali: Taali is also called Bhari. Taali means clapping. Besides "Sum", each taal has beats where you clap.  Example, in Teen Taal, you clap on the 1, 5 and 13th matras.

    Tal: Tal is a very important concept in Classical Indian dance and music. Tal is a group of certain beats. Tal is a measurement of time which calculates the number of beats utilized in certain time period. It is said that Bharat Muni discovered the 32 kinds of Tal in a song of a lark.

    Tatkar: The dance syllables that are produced from stomping are called Tatkar. The word “Tatkar” is about 700 years old. In Kathak dance the main syllables of Tatkar are: Ta thai thai tat, aa thai thai tat. Kathak dancers usually perform many variations of this basic Tatkar.

    Thaat: Thaat in general means decoration or a gracefiul attitude. Thaat is a stylized pose, which brings in a line waist, hips, thighs, neck, aims, chest, and feet. The dancer moves limbs of his or her body gracefully in a slow tempo.

    Thah : Slow speed. One beat for every beat. For example: 1 2. 

    Theka : The syllables of any Tal played on Tabla is called a Theka of that particular Tal. Theka is a ground for all rhythmic variations and has a character of it’s own. It has a significant structural unity

    Tihai: Concluding movements or a dance phrase repeated three times.

    Toras: Toras are group of the basic Kathak syllables that usually start on sum(the first beat) and after two or more cycles end on Sum. Toras have several varieties of rhythmic patterns.

    Vibhag: The divisions of a Taal are called Vibhag.  The sign for Vibhag is a small straight vertical line.

  • Jhumar is a beautiful peace of jewelry worn on the hair. The word "Jhumar" comes fromJhum/Jhoom, which means Swaying. The songs evoke a quality which reminds of swaying.

Go Back