In addition to our popular Bollyzone and KarmaFit classes,the JKU Instructor team is also offering new specialty classes exclusively available to Academy students! These classes, which span both Western and Indian dance styles, are immersive programs in Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Ballet, or Hip Hop.
Kathak originated as a story-telling art form in northern India. The word Katha, which dates back to Vedic times, is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning story. Kathak developed in Hindu temples as a means of portraying epic Hindu tales, and later found a place in Mughal courts. Nomadic dancers and wandering storytellers, soon began spreading Kathak throughout India, transforming the art form into a more accessible, multi-disciplined, entertainment tradition, in addition to an established classical dance.
Kathak is characterized by the contrast between pulsating footwork, fast spins (chakkars), and sudden stillness, and fluid body movements, graceful hand placements, and facial expressions (abhinaya) that demonstrate Kathak’s diverse cultural influences.
Like Kathak, Bharatanatyam too tells a story, with abstract and expressive movement. It is often known as India's oldest classical dance form, and evolved over centuries in the temples and royal courts of Southern India. It's significance lies in its name: 'Bha' - Bhavam meaning expession, 'Ra' Ragam meaning melody and 'Ta' - Thalam meaning Rhythm. It is also characterized by three distinct elements: Nritta - pure dance form, Nritya - facial expressions and Natya - dramatic form.
Bharatanatyam specifically highlights the beauty of strong lines and linear spatial patterns in a dancer's body, which, along with intricately expressive hand gestures (mudras) and exquisite facial expressions, make the dance form extremely dynamic and powerful.
Although Ballet is a Western classical dance, it has many similarities with traditional Indian dance styles. With origins in the French and Italian Renaissance periods and royal courts, Ballet has become famous all across the world in many cultures and societies, and is often a popular theatrical story-telling performance.
Ballet, like Kathak and Bharatanatyam, requires both grace and precision, with a combination of formalized steps and intricate, expressive gestures. Some typical movements include basic training exercises (plié and battement), jumping and leaping steps (entrechat and jeté), or turns (pirouette and tour en l’air.) Ballet provides a strong foundation for dancers, emphasizing fitness, flexibility, and posture, while encouraging balance, coordination, and dedication.
Hip hop is a more urban, commercial dance style that evolved from hip hop culture and has deep historical, social, and cultural roots. It is distinctly American, but has a variety of influences, ranging from jazz to African dance. It originated among youth in the streets of Bronx, New York in the 1970s, and has become a movement that represents the youth and the freedom to learn, grow, and evolve.
Although authentic hip hop traditionally included the primary elements of breaking, locking, popping, and isolation, today's modern hybrids often incorporate other styles as well (lyrical hip-hop, jazz-funk, hip hop heels, bolly-funk). Hip hop has become increasingly popular in the past decades due to its innovative, unconventional style. Hip hop requires rhythm and practice, and equips a dancer to bust out moves and impress audiences on the dance floor, on stage, or on set!
All four of these styles are prominent influences in modern Bollywood dance. Want to learn more? Our specialty classes immerse students in a program covering the theory, history, technique, and performance of the class-specific style. Stay tuned for registration info and be sure to check our website!