The art of telling stories through dance is as unique and beautiful as the postures of Kathak dance, and so are its costumes. Kathak is a word derived from Sanskrit, one of the country’s eight classical dance forms. It means story, and Kathakar means storyteller. This word has combined to become Kathak, in which the story is told through dance.
According to historians, earlier women used to do Kathak by wearing saris, ghagra, choli, and chunari, while men wore kurta-pyjama. At the same time, Muslim dancers used to wear tunics, kurtas, and pyjamas. Kathak Dresses can be called Hindu costumes, Muslim costumes, temple costumes, or court dresses.
Here are some of the Kathak costumes/dresses:
- Angrakha kurta
It is a beautiful dress that has its own identity in Kathak. Angrakha is a Sanskrit word that means bodyguard, a one-sided, cord-tied kurta worn by both men and women. The perimeter of women’s tunic is more. Its length can be up to or more than the knee.
Many Kathak dancers dance wearing Anarkali kurta, pyjama. This beautiful kurta gained great fame from the movie Mughal-e-Azam. Madhubala wore an Anarkali kurta, short jacket and churidar in the song, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya.
Straight cut kurtas, achkans and caps are also worn in Kathak. Pandit Birju Maharaj used to do Kathak by wearing a tunic as well as achkan and pyjama. In the Lucknow Gharana, fabrics like muslin, silk, and brocade are used for the costumes of Kathak.
- Cap, Turban or Scarf
In ancient times, Kathak dancers needed to wear small caps on their heads. However, some well-known dancers of Lucknow’s gharanas were exempted from this, which they used to say – Topi Maaf.
- Dhoti, Churidar, and pyjamas
All dancers wear these in Kathak. The general public also wears them. These days frizzy pyjamas (skirt-like, girded pyjamas touching the ground) are in trend. Famous Kathak dancer Shambhu Maharaj has also performed wearing it. At the same time, even the narrator of Ayodhya performed in a dhoti jacket with an angrakha kurta. The churidar pyjamas here are a favourite of women across the country.
Mandatory accessories for Kathak:
It is basically for the forehead and adds a great charm to the face of the performer.
There are many varieties of necklaces that are made beautiful from the glorious beads.
- Ghungroos/Dancing bells
These are the most mandatory accessories of the Kathak. The dance can’t be performed without wearing them.
- Flower Gajra
The Gajras are beautiful hair accessories available in both natural and artificial ways.
The bangles add a charming look to the performer.