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The dance syllables that are produced from footwork are called Tatkaar. In Kathak dance the main syllables of Tatkaar are: Ta Thei Thei Tat, Aa Thei Thei Tat. Kathak dancers usually perform many variations of Tatkaar such as Kadhi Tatkaar, heal Tatkaar, Vazan Tatkaar etc.


Padhant means recitation. Normally dancers recite the tabla bol followed by the toda bol before dancing. This helps the musicians set the laya.


Sum is the first beat of an aavartan.  Kathak Dancers returning on the "Sum" after completing a time cycle. Sum is accented more than any other beat. Sum is denoted by the sign ‘X’.


Taali is also called Bhari. Taali means clapping. Besides "Sum", each taal has beats where you clap.  Example, in Teen Taal, you clap on the 1, 5 and 13th matras.


Khali is also called "Phank". The word khali means empty. Khali is the rest point of a Tal. The Tabla player stops playing left Tabla on the syllables of Khali. Khali is denoted by the sign "0".


Beats. A taal is divided into Vibhags or parts.  Each Vibhag has a set of beats which are called 'Matras'.  Matras are division in a time cycle. For example; the constant interval between the seconds is Laya, the time which measures sixty minutes is Tal, and the seconds are the beats or matras.

Nritya: Dance.


The divisions of a Taal are called Vibhag.  The sign for Vibhag is a small straight vertical line.


A cycle of any taal is called an Aavartan or an Aavriti.

Laya :

Rhythm or tempo. Laya is a continuous movement in space of time. Music and dance without Laya is like a body without bones.

There are mainly three kinds of Layas.

  • Laya Vilambit : The slow tempo

  • Laya Madhyam: The moderate or medium tempo

  • Laya Drut : The fast tempo.

Chaugun: Fourth speed. Four beats into one beat or four time the speed of the basic time cycle. For example: 1 2 3 4  5 6 7 8.

Dugun: Double speed. Two beats into one beat or double time the speed of the basic time cycle. For example: 1 2 3 4.

Hastak: The hand movements in Kathak are called Hastak.

Kathak Nritya:

Kathak is one of the leading forms of Indian classical dance Kathak is a North Indian classical dance form. This ancient art of India derived its name “Kathak” from “Katha”, the art of story telling. (For more on Kathak, please read History of Kathak ).


.Aamad: Aamad is a persian word, which means an “entrance”. This piece is danced in the beginning of the performance and is composed of the characteristic patterns of Natwari bols, which are the basic syllables of Kathak dance.


Salami: The word “salami” literally means salutation. While performing salami, the dancer honors the audience by saluting it in a special manner. Salami is performed in the beginning of the performance.

Taal: Tal is a very important concept in Classical Indian dance and music. Tal is a group of certain beats. Tal is a measurement of time which calculates the number of beats utilized in certain time period. It is said that Bharat Muni discovered the 32 kinds of Tal in a song of a lark.


Thaat: Thaat in general means decoration or a gracefiul attitude. Thaat is a stylized pose, which brings in a line waist, hips, thighs, neck, aims, chest, and feet. The dancer moves limbs of his or her body gracefully in a slow tempo.


Thah : Slow speed. One beat for every beat. For example: 1 2.

Theka : The syllables of any Tal played on Tabla is called a Theka of that particular Tal. Theka is a ground for all rhythmic variations and has a character of it’s own. It has a significant structural unity

Tihai: Concluding movements or a dance phrase repeated three times.

Toras: Toras are group of the basic Kathak syllables that usually start on sum(the first beat) and after two or more cycles end on Sum. Toras have several varieties of rhythmic patterns.

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