THE WORLDS OF KATHAK: Dancing for God, King and Commoner

The classical Kathak repertoire includes Sanskrit devotional hymns in praise of Hindu deities; suites of abstract dances from the durbar and mehfil (courts and poetry gatherings) in a variety of rhymic cycles; poetic genres such as kavitghazalbhajan and thumri in north Indian languages including Hindi, Urdu, Braj, Maithili and Aavadhi; and fast rhythmic poetry called bol paran which sounds like American rap.

Though she frequently performs classical Kathak in its traditional solo form, Janaki has also performed with outstanding fellow Kathak dancers, including the late Pandit Durga Lal, Rachna Sarang, Prabha Marathe, Geetanjali Lal, Sandhya Desai, Jai Syed Asghar Tirmizi, Rani Khannam, the late Gora Singh, Shibli Mohammad, Satnarine Balkaransingh, Abha Bhatnagar Roy, Najma Ayashah and Anup Kumar Das. Each partnership has enriched Janaki’s understanding of Kathak’s movement vocabulary, stylistic variations and poetic repertoire.