Comparing dance forms: Kathak and Flamenco

Although Kathak and Flamenco both originate from different countries—India and Spain, respectively—some commonly shared features can be observed in both dance forms. Some techniques and body movements, such as hands, arms, feet, whole body movements, turns and positions are similar. Some similarities at the structural level are also seen, such as footwork and full body movements.

Kathak dance form is a way of presenting positive spiritual feelings and is performed by Hindu devotees of North India. Whereas, Flamenco dance form is meant to portray human suffering or depression and is performed in southern Spain; it is most often performed by Andalusian Gypsy people. Both dance forms have the same motive—to promote their respective traditions. Kathak, in the older as well as in the contemporary era, is performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship. During old times Kathak was also performed in village courtyards. Similarly, Flamenco traditionally appeared in the courtyards of Gypsy families. Both Kathak and Flamenco dance forms are amalgamations of several cultures.

Later, Kathak moved to extravagant courts of the Mughal Nawab and Flamenco moved to the smoky rooms owned by non-Gypsies. By the 20th century, both Kathak and Flamenco dancers started giving theatre performances in front of large audiences. Though Flamenco is more popular than Kathak, both dance forms are internationally recognized.

The two common religious influences both dance forms share are Indian and Muslim. Both dance forms have similarly complex footwork. Costumes of both the dance forms are fascinating to the audience. The flare in both the dance forms is also similar.



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