Tag Archive: Q and A

Where did the capital of Nepal get its name?

The name “Kathmandu” originated from two words, kath – meaning wood – and mando – or mandap, meaning house – as most of the buildings were constructed from wood, and then beautifully ornamented. The capital was still called “Kantipur” up until the seventeenth century. No one can overstate the religious, cultural, and traditional importance of the Valley to the people, and Kathmandu as the heart of the country. This is why many hill groups in the upper elevations still often say, “Nepal jaanne” (I am going to Nepal) when they set off for the capital.

What is tatkar?

Tatkar is footwork. The patterns and styles vary greatly and emphasis is placed on producing a sound from the feet as well as from the ghungharoos (bells). Most Kathak performances feature tatkar, which highlights a dancer’s technical skill, stamina, and artistry. Often, a dancer will sing a series of bols, or syllabic sounds, in a particular taal, or rhythmic cycle, followed by the tatkar.

What is a hasta mudra?

There are two types of hasta mudras, or hand signs, in Kathak dance. Asanyukt mudras use one hand; sanyukt mudras use both hands. The most commonly recognized asanyukt mudra is pataka, which keeps all of the fingers of the right hand straight, with the thumb touching the first finger.



A pataka can be used to show blessings, to stop someone, or to break something, and meanings vary from ‘no’ to representing the wind and a river.

Where did Bollywood dance originate?

The origins of Bollywood lie in Urdu theater and street plays known as nautanki. Many of the basic steps, of which there are over seven hundred, are derived from classical Indian dance. Bollywood is a highly aerobic style of modern dance that has gained popularity primarily due to the explosion of Bollywood films across the globe. Today, many choreographers create a style of dance known as “fusion,” which integrates steps from both classical and Bollywood dance.

What is a chakkar?

A chakkar is a fast spin. It requires good balance control, proper position, stamina, and speed to be correctly executed. Young dancers begin to practice chakkars at an early age, starting with a nine-count circle, then moving down in counts until they have perfected the circle of one. Experienced artists have been known to perform over one hundred continuous chakkars and then come to a complete and total stop. The chakkar is one of the famed elements in Jaipur Gharana Kathak dance.

What is the namaskar we do at the beginning and end of each class, and what does it mean?

Dancers traditionally do the namaskar which is both a greeting and an invocation to the god, asking for help, and also forgiveness from Mother Earth for pounding on her. All dances are done barefoot, as leather is not worn by Hindus. There are many different forms and styles of namaskar, depending on the artist’s preference and training.

NDS Introduces “Haptako Prashna ra Uttar” – Weekly Question and Answer Segment

Join us every week for a new fast fact about dance, religion, culture, music, and heritage from the Himalayan region and the Indian subcontinent. We will explore the most commonly asked questions, and bring you unusual facts and interesting topics.