Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Katha' which means the at of story telling.A class of professional tellers recited Epics and stories with Abhinaya.They are referred to as' Kathakas,Granthikas,Pathaka's.Kathak is among the six major classical dances of India and one of the most dynamic theater arts in the world. The word Kathak is derived from katha, meaning "the art of storytelling." It is also synonymous with the community of artists known as Kathakas whose hereditary profession it was to narrate history while entertaining. With dance, music and mime these storytellers of ancient India would bring to life the great scriptures and epic so ancient times, especially the great Indian epics - the Mahabharata and the Ramayana - and the Puranas of Sanskrit literature.
From its early form as a devotional expression dedicated to the Hindu gods, Kathak gradually moved out of the temples and into the courts of the rulers; the Hindu maharajas and the Muslim nawabs (kings). With these rulers' cultural wealth and preoccupation with lavish entertainment, a class of dancing girls and courtesans emerged to entertain the palaces. Much later, during the mid-1800's, Kathak enjoyed a renaissance and gained prominence among the kings and zamindars (feudal overlords) not only as a form of entertainment, but as a classical art form. In the Hindu courts of the vast semi-desert of the principality of Rajasthan, kathak developed in the 'Jaipur gharana' (school), a regional style emphasizing the technical mastery of pure dance. Around the 1800s to the east in the court of Wajid Ali Shah, the [last nawab of Oudh] and himself a student of Kathak, the dance emphasized dramatic and sensuous expression and developed into the style characteristic of the Lucknow gharana. This gharana is said to have originated with Wajid Ali Shah's court dancer Thakur Prasadji.
The lineage of Kathak dance can be traced from generation to generation, father to son, guru to disciple. Thakur Prasadji's nephews, Binda Din Maharaj and Kalka Prasad, excelled in the study of Kathak. Binda Din's three nephews, Achhan, Lacchu and Shambhu Maharaj, helped carry the Kathak tradition into the twentieth century. Achhan Maharaj, and upon his death, Shambhu Maharaj, had among his many disciples Ram Narayan Misra and Prohlad Das Gurus of Prof.Kishwar Bhatt t Nrityo Bharoti in Kolkata.
Nritya:Abhinay as in Katha kahe so kathak.The popular Raslilas in Braj of Mathura.The Natyashastra tradition where a solo dancer enacts the content of a story with four Abhinayas i:e angika,vachika,aharika and sattvika.Natya- Refers to learning the art of storytelling.'In most of my thumri compositions like 'Kahe Rokt Dagar Pyare' and 'Dagar Chalata',Guru Pia Majumdar performs compositions by Kalka Prasad and Bin Da Din Maharaj.