May 12th to May 17th, 2018

A classical dance form of North India, Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘katha’ (story) and ‘kathakar’ (story-teller). The form is traced back to the 4th century BC, where temple priests of the Indo-Gangetic belt would recite and enact mythological and moral stories through rhythmic foot movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye work.

Kathak is not just a dance though. It is a process of meditation, which helps to train the mind and body to be aware of  rhythmic composition, as well as its meaning and interpretations.  Hence, in Indian tradition, this dance form has been known as a form of worship.

We will begin the Journey of Kathak at Vana with Shivani Varma, who will be in residence from the 12th until the 17th of May. Shivani has a distinct ability to communicate the nuances of Kathak via dance as well as discourse. Shivani has been actively pursuing the life of a stage dancer for the past decade across India and the world. Her endeavor is to impart her cultural wisdom with the next generation of dancers and patrons, as well as to share the supreme devotion attached to her classical dance form.

She will perform with classical musicians the evening of May 12, showcasing the technical aspect of the form, as well as an emotive and expressive composition, depicting a story. On the following 5 days, she will lead a daily lesson that will introduce basic footwork, hand gestures and movements related to Kathak; the opening session will briefly introduce the theoretical aspects of the dance form. It would be fun to learn a short choreographed routine to a popular song during the course besides learning traditional wisdom of Kathak over few informal sessions with Shivani.

To book your retreat at Vana or to express interest to attend Shivani Varma’s Kathak sessions at Vana, please email Retreat Reservations at [email protected] or call us on +91 135 3911114. You may also decide to attend after your arrival at the Retreat.