Kathak

I love dancing. I made up little dances as a child, and then took Irish dance in high school (like Riverdance, only I quit before we got to the noise-making hardshoe part). In college, for my P.E. requirement, I took ballroom dance. Now I take Persian dance classes.

What I’ve been salivating over, though, is kathak.

File:Kathak 3511900193 986f6440f6 b retouched.jpg

(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

It’s beautiful and graceful and completely mesmerizing. I’ve been watching YouTube videos, trying to learn by myself.  I have had little success.

WonderHusband, who constantly lives up to that title, was sneaky for Christmas and emailed a lady with the Taal School of Dance waaaaaay outside the city, and while I thought I would be getting, well, I don’t know what i thought he was scheming for Christmas, he went and bought two hours of kathak lessons. What’s more, he included BloglessLea in the bargain. So we all packed into the car on Saturday and drove waaaaaaay outside the city and for two awesome hours, we learned the basics of kathak (the husbands went shopping).

Like, whoa. I wish the school wasn’t an hour and a half away, because I had forgotten how much I miss studio dance classes. The instructor even let me write the bols down, and so far I’ve memorized the five todas she taught us, the two taals we learned, and the accompanying movements. I’ve been practicing without bells at home, and then with bells (WH bought us each a pair of those, too):

Called ghungroos, they’re a string of brass bells that you wrap around your ankles to make sound when you  move. These are different than Bharata Natayam bells, which are bells sewn to a padded cuff. Kathak ghungroos are a long cotton rope crocheted into a simple chain with bells at every link. These are 50 bell ghungroos. As a kathak dancer practices and progresses, they use more bells, as many as 150 for experienced kathak dancers.

At the moment, 50 make my legs pretty sleepy. We’re on the lookout for an instructor closer to the city. I can’t wait to learn more!

About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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7 Responses to Kathak

  1. ela says:

    Laura, I want to ask you a question. When we Indians or eastern wear western clothes we see no need to justify our actions? Why do white woman need to justify the need to wear a sari or practise hinduism?

    • HappyGoth says:

      I can only speak to my own experience, but I guess it’s because I feel guilty about it, since it’s not a thing my culture owns, and I’m sort of taking it without permission (a bad analogy, but it’s the best description for the feeling). So I feel I have to justify it somehow, so I don’t feel bad. I don’t wear saris very often, because of that guilty feeling. But if I’d grown up in an Indian family or as part of Indian culture? I probably wouldn’t feel that feeling. I’ve also never faced discrimination for it, either, so that adds to the feeling. And then I don’t want to stop wearing the sari, so I make excuses to justify my actions.

      In reality, I should probably just wear the darn thing and (a) stop when told that I’m being offensive and (b) give proper credit to Indian culture when someone compliments the garment or asks about it. It’s complicated.

      But I’m not sure I have a good answer for that question, because I only know why I do that. I’m not sure that helps? Sorry for the egregiously late reply; somehow I missed this! I promise I was not ignoring you!

  2. mouse says:

    Wow.. awesome! Could you tell me where the dance studio is? I’ve heard that there was one in Norcross but haven’t been out there to check it out.

  3. Jaclyn says:

    That looks super fun! I miss dancing…

  4. ela says:

    Good luck Laura. Kathak is a dance form of north India .It was encouraged during the Moghul rule.

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