The following traditional story of ancient Hindu gods demonstrates the intention structuring the roots of classical Indian dance or Nat. When the world was still, the great Shiva Nattaraj danced the universe into existence with his mighty step and cosmic drum. As time passed, the humans and the gods appealed to Lord Bhrama for a form of entertainment that could elevate the performers as well as the audiences into exalted states of consciousness. Bhrama then appeared to the sage Bharata Muni, who recorded the Natiya Shastra, Bhrama's exact instructions on the organic science of dance and drama.

Beginning with the ecstatic expression of gypsies and temple devotees, Kathak, literally translated as "storytelling" has evolved over thousands of years. With time and history, it has developed into a highly refined system of rhythm and movement, capable of communicating complex human dynamics as well as abstract form and composition.

During the Middle Ages, the Mughal dominion of India impacted Kathak with a shift in focus and style. Mughul art and music aimed at patterns and precision, creating a new, richly textured dimension to the scope of Kathak dance. It has since been preserved by particular gharanas or families still alive today. Three main schools are Lucknow, Jaipur, and Benares. Regional differences lend perspective and flavor to the different styles. Pundit Birju Maharaj, master of the Lucknow gharana, is the foremost authority on the perfect execution of Kathak, in addition to being the lineage foundation for Nyika Nritta.

Indian dance was originally designed to enrich people's lives by arousing aesthetic centers of pleasure with skill and concentration. Listening, watching and participating in a state of relaxed body and mind, artists and audiences are enabled to embark on a spiritual odyssey of sound, sight, and vibration. Its versatility allows for a gamut of stage presentation, with a range of artistic applications to educate, entertain, and mystify.

Integrating with the present, Mudra has adapted the ancient sciences of movement to provide an energizing method of transcendence. With eyes in both worlds, Mudra unveils the limitless potential available when the science and wisdom of sacred arts join with the electric power of technology. The final result is a dazzling experience for any audience or classroom.


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