Components of a Typical Kathak Performance

Swati Wangnoo Tiwari is an accomplished choreographer and Kathak dancer, who has been performing Kathak for over 15 years. Set out below are some of the facets of Kathak dance she proposes to showcase in a solo Kathak dancer performance. A typical performance lasts between 45 minutes to 90 minutes.

  • Vandana, the dancer begins with an invocation to the gods; (to see Swati perform a vandana, please click here)
  • Thaat, the first composition of a traditional performance; the dancer performs short plays with the time-cycle, finishing on “sam” in a statuesque standing (thaat) pose; (to see Swati perform a thaat, please click here)
  • Aamad, from the Persian word meaning 'entry'; the first introduction of spoken rhythmic pattern or bol (words) in to the performance; (to see Swati perform an Aamad, please click here)
  • Kavitt, a poem set on a time-cycle; the dancer will perform movements that echo the meaning of the poem; (to see Swati perform a Kavitt, please click here)
  • Paran, a composition using bols from the pakhawaj instead of only dance or tabla bols; (to see Swati perform a Paran, please click here)
  • Parmelu, a composition using bols (words or sounds) reminiscent of sounds from nature, such as kukuthere (birds), jhijhikita (sound of ghunghru), tigdadigdig (strut of peacock) etc.; (to see Swati perform a Parmelu, please click here)
  • Gat, from the word for 'gait, walk' showing abstract visually beautiful gaits or scenes from daily life; (to see Swati perform a Gat, please click here)
  • Lari, a footwork composition consisting of variations on a theme, and ending in a tihai; (to see Swati perform a Lari, please click here)
  • Tihai, usually a footwork composition consisting of a long set of bols repeated thrice so that the very last bol ends dramatically on 'sam'. ; (to see Swati perform a Tihai, please click here)