Both bharatanatyam and kathak are very much different from each other not only by there meaning but they both have different characteristics.
Bharatanatyam vs Kathak
The difference between Bharatanatyam and Kathak is that Bharatanatyam is a dance that is generally evolved or based on Shiva’s stories. On the other hand, Kathak evolves or is based on tales or stories of Radha and Krishna.
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The word Bha in Bharatanatyam means emotion, which is also called bhava, RA means music, which is also called Raaga, Ta means rhythm, which is also called Taal, and Natyam, which means dance. So the word Bharatanatyam means to dance with rhythm, expression, and music and is strongly related to Natyashastra, which means the scripture of classical Indian dance.
Kathak’s word has its roots from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha; it also means Kathak and “story,” which means to tell a story. It is also considered as one of the forms out of eight significant forms in Indian classical dance.
|Parameter of Comparison||Bharatanatyam||Kathak|
|Meaning||The term Bharatanatyam is a type of classical dance that has rhythm, expression, and music in it.||The word Kathak has come from Vedic Sanskrit Katha, which means story and Kathak.|
|Originated||Bharatanatyam mainly practices in southern India.||Kathak is mainly practiced in northern India.|
|Instruments||In Bharatanatyam dance, the instruments mainly come in use are mridangam, nagaswaram, and veena.||In Kathak, the instruments mainly come in use are bansuri, tabla, sarangi, and sarod.|
|Costumes||In Bharatanatyam, dresses and jewelry are very grand and gorgeous.||In Kathak, dress and jewelry are mainly simple ones.|
|Movement||In Bharatanatyam dance, there are many hip movements and many mudras.||In Kathak dance, the dancer dances in a standing position throughout; there is no hip movement.|
|Main difference||It is mainly evolved or based on the story of Shiva.||It is mainly evolved or based on a story of a lord Radha and Krishna.|
What is Bharatanatyam?
Bharatanatyam is considered an art that is performed by temple dancers, and Carnatic music is played during the dance. This dance is also performed in the court of the south Indian king.
The dancers use many hip movements and mudras while dancing. Because of the movement, half of the stage space has been used by the dancers.
The movement which Bharatanatyam dancers perform resembles the movement of fire or flame. Bharatanatyam dance is based or evolved around the stories of Lord Shiva.
It is a dance where dancers have more sitting posture or bent knee posture dance. The dancers were unique costumes, which are of different varieties and unique jewelry depending upon the dancers’ performance.
The dresses worn by the dancers do not restrict the movement during the dances. The dresses in the Bharatanatyam are very elegant and grand.
The dancers do heavy makeup and hair so that they look good. Different types of instruments are played in Bharatanatyam, just like mridangam, veena, violin, and nagaswaram.
It is also believed that Bharatanatyam has been created by S.Krishna Iyer in the mid-thirties which was later spread by Rukmini Devi Arundale. Bharatanatyam’s history has been originated in the 2nd century through a text in Natya Shastra and Muni.
What is Kathak?
Kathak is an Indian classical dance usually performed by dancers in the Muslim king’s court. People used to believe that kathak dance tells the story about Rassalila, which is done by Radha and Krishna in a forest.
In Kathak, the dancing movement is always standing posture throughout the performance. It also has no or limited hip movement in dance.
As Kathak tells the story of Radha and Krishna, and people believe that performing the part of Krishna, the dancer sometimes appears dreamy and closes the eyes slightly as they do not make eye contact with anyone. The costume which dancers wear while performing is usually for women and dhotis for men.
The long skirt and top, also known as lehenga and choli, are also worn by the female kathak dancers. During the Mughal period, male Kathak dancers also wore kurta churidar with a cap.
There are also different instruments played while dancing—some instruments like sarod, sarangi, sitar, bansuri, ghungaru, and harmonium. Kathak is mainly originated during the bhakti movement.
This classical dance was also traced back to 400 BC whose earlier sage name was Natya shastra.
Main Differences Between Bharatanatyam and Kathak
- Both are different types of Indian classical dance, which are performed in other parts of a country.
- Bharatanatyam mainly practices in southern India. On the other hand, Kathak is mainly practiced in northern India.
- Bharatanatyam mainly evolved or was based on stories of Shiva. On the other hand, Kathak evolves or is based on Radha and Krishna’s tales or stories.
- In Bharatanatyam dance, there are many hip movements and many mudras. On the other hand, kathak dance the dancer dance in a standing position throughout; there is no hip movement.
- In Bharatanatyam, dresses and jewelry are very grand and gorgeous and have a unique style. On the other hand, kathak dresses and jewelry are mainly simple ones. Women wear saree and menswear dhoti while dancing.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.