How To Learn Kathak On Your Own

How To Learn Kathak On Your Own

When you learn to become more active, you will eventually start learning about the more exotic dances and techniques people enjoy like Kathak.

One of the most well-known and toughest dances to learn is the Kathak, a traditional dance from India that is several hundred years old. 

To learn Kathak on your own, you will need to rely on resources provided through YouTube videos and dance instruction books. You will have to find someone who already knows all the stances and movements to ensure that you execute each one properly and precisely. 

Many people may not be able to learn it as the process requires several years of practice and that you are physically fit.

To understand the challenges of learning Kathak, we recommend that you spend the time to research every technique and that you seek out others who have learned the dance. 

How To Learn Kathak On Your Own?

We will first learn the three things you will need to use to learn Kathak on your own, whether at

gymnasiums, dance studios, or at home.

Many assume that just about anything can be learned entirely on your own, but this is not true for Kathak’s graceful and fast movements. 

We always recommend keeping that in mind, as most dances you can learn will require you to be physically monitored.

However, you can still do several things and learn without going to a dance studio full of people already experienced in the dance. 

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Online Dance Videos

There are varying sources online where you can watch videos that will teach you each step of Kathak, from YouTube to paid services like Udemy.

Each of these will be able to show you the basic moves and guide you through some of the things that you will need to practice on repeat. 

While you can learn Kathak and the intricacies through videos, you will naturally make mistakes as there is no onen else around to give you feedback. 

This is often the biggest challenge of learning through videos, as you don’t always know when you are making small movement mistakes that others can easily see. 

Virtual Teachers

Virtual Teachers

As Kathak is now being taught worldwide, you can find online services with virtual teachers.

This means that the teacher can be sitting on the other side of the world while watching your movements as you move through each one, giving valuable guidance. 

Learning on your own can be as simple as watching a few videos, but Kathak requires that someone gives you detailed feedback on where to improve.

Having one person perfect the dance will drastically increase your overall skill. 

Instruction Manuals

As Kathak is a dance that has been done for hundreds of years, you can use many physical resources to learn the dance.

Kathak has different styles; throughout the years, most of these have been written down and illustrated for you to learn the dance. 

You will still need someone to look at your movement when learning Kathak through books or other manuals.

Instruction manuals may also have mistakes in them that have not been corrected or even have some missing steps in them, as the authors made the manual as companions to actual classes. 

Is Kathak Easy To Learn?

Kathak is one of the most difficult dances to learn, with many taking nearly a decade to be considered basic masters of the dance.

With different dance styles from different regions, most people who learn dance can never truly master every single variation. 

We recommend you consider this when you start the journey, as you may practice the dance for several years and still not be considered a master.

Even people that have practiced the dance since they were young are most likely still learning new moves and are trying to perfect each step. 

This is why you often won’t see many practicing Kathak or are discouraged from learning the dance.

Unlike many other dances, Kathak does not allow you to simply freestyle and create moves that are unique to you without it moving into a different type of dance. 

Is It Worth Learning Kathak On Your Own?

While practicing the Kathak on your own will increase your focus and overall health, it is not worth learning Kathak entirely on your own.

Not only will the mistakes you learn early on become permanent, but you may not be able to know when you have mastered a new move in the dance. 

Most people that learn Kathak do so at dance studios, allowing them to learn each move with complete precision while being guided.

This has meant that learning Kathak alone does not give you all the benefits the dance should give you. 

We always recommend learners of Kathak to consider this when learning any dance form, as being told and shown how to learn something is always better.

Many people learn bad habits when they try to learn everything on their own, causing long-term problems to their overall ability. 

– > Check this article: Is It Possible To Teach Yourself How To Dance

How Many Years Does It Take To Learn Kathak?

Depending on your age and overall fitness, Kathak will take many different lengths to learn. To make it easier, we have broken it up into a split of three, children, young adults, and adults. 

Doing this will allow you to know when it is best to start and what results you can expect, as many people are surprised by how fast others can outlearn them.

We always recommend that you keep this in mind, no matter what you are learning, as those who are more skilled may learn things faster.

For Children

Generally, children must be seven years old to start learning Kathak seriously, and it should take around 7 to 10 years to learn the full form.

Students who are more physically active and willing to practice repeated steps learn the form faster as they mature. 

Often students will have to perform the basics during shows but will only be required to do basic Kathak forms for most of their early dance career.

Many children who have started learning Kathak only fully master every form once they reach their late teens or even young adulthood. 

For Young Adults

For Young Adults

If you are starting from a complete dance beginner, it can take well over ten years or more to learn every form of Kathak.

Those already well-versed in dancing and physical activity may learn every Kathak form in seven years, considered masters after this period. 

Many physically active young adults will be able to learn Kathak faster than those who have spent most of their life only at normal fitness levels.

Often the biggest challenge for young adults is the strain put on their bodies while constantly doing the required exercises. 

Adults And Older

Adults are usually only able to learn every Kathak form within 10 to 12 years; not only is there a physical barrier they need to overcome but a time problem.

Adults who had not practiced Kathak when they were young take so long because they can only practice once a week.

As life, work, kids, and other responsibilities decrease the time to practice; you may take much longer to complete all the required forms.

However, even just learning the basic movements and repeating them until you have mastered them, you will already become much healthier. 

Why Does It Usually Take So Long To Learn Kathak?

Simply put, there are seven levels of Kathak, each with a time requirement that you must move through. Just the first level takes up to a year to master for those fully committed, with each subsequent level taking almost as long or even up to two years to learn. 

Before you can officially progress on to the next level, you will usually have to show that you have mastered the one level you are currently on. 

Many studios specifically require that you show your complete mastery of every previous level that you have gone through, making repeated practice integral. 

Further, depending on who your master is or where you are learning Kathak dancing, there may even be more levels for you to learn.

Those who have learned one style of Kathak usually need to learn new basics when trying to learn a different style, creating a nearly infinite loop. 

Can You Learn Kathak Online For Free

Can You Learn Kathak Online For Free?

Through YouTube, you can learn most of the basics of Kathak entirely for free on YouTube while some of the more complicated levels are usually behind paywalls.

As you move through the levels, you will want to find someone to look over your movement to ensure you are learning properly. 

You will often find that the teachers on YouTube have links to their unique courses for which you can sign up. If you have found someone capable of teaching you in a style you are comfortable in, then it is probably a fantastic idea to sign up for their paid lessons. 

While you can most likely find a free way to learn almost everything for free on the internet, these always bring limitations to your progress.

When you have paid for a course or online training sessions, you will receive feedback from someone with years of experience. 

Where To Learn Kathak?

You will need to consider two places when looking for a place that will teach you how to do Kathak. While you can use many online sources, we always recommend that you eventually move to a specialized school or studio to be taught physically. 

Many assume that once they have mastered something at home, they can be considered a master in almost any other situation.

However, with Kathak, there are certifications that you need to receive before you can call yourself a master, with many regulatory bodies checking on anyone who calls themselves a Kathak master. 

Special Schools

The first place you should try looking into when trying to learn Kathak from master’s is to go to a specialized school, with most cities having several to choose from.

We recommend you do a quick Google search to see which ones are closest to you and where to start looking. 

Once you have a school, you will find that they teach many different levels and are usually quite open about teaching Kathak to anyone interested.

As the dance requires several years to master, you may find that many of those who start the journey with you are not able to complete the journey with you. 

Dance Studios

Dance Studios

Many dance studios have started including Kathak as part of their classes. We always recommend looking into these as well, as most dance studios will have a more relaxed atmosphere, especially if you are learning Kathak for purely health benefits. 

Dance studios will also allow you to learn other types of dances, with many teachers using techniques from other dances to help their students learn.

Further, a dance studio may also be more affordable to learn from than a specialized school, with the only downside being that it may take you much longer to learn. 

Why Is It So Hard To Learn Kathak On Your Own?

We can explain if you are still wondering why people say that Kathak is hard to learn on your own when you have found perfectly usable free videos online.

Many assume that every dance is easy to learn, especially if they have only been taught the most popular dances. 

However, Kathak is considered one of the most difficult dances in the world to learn and master, with many people learning for years and never becoming masters.

We always recommend that you consider each aspect of Kathak before assuming you have mastered it within a few months. 

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Fitness Level

Kathak is a fast-paced dance that requires you to move constantly for several minutes at a time, which means that you will need to be fit to dance properly.

However, even dancers who have perfected other forms find Kathak difficult and taxing. 

This is always one of the main reasons that adults find it difficult to learn, as the physical requirements of the dance mean they have to start spending much more time just exercising.

As you become more fit and versatile, you will be able to learn new techniques, but many people take years to get fit enough to do all the basics. 

Precision

Precision

As fast-paced as Kathak is, the difficulty increases as you need to also move with extreme precision, whereas many other dances allow for some relaxed movements.

Kathak demands exact stops and quick movements into the next stance, requiring you to hold unusual positions with precision repeatedly. 

Most people who have mastered Kathak have muscles capable of holding them in complete stillness while also being able to move at lightning speed.

Allowing them to complete the dance even when most other people would have collapsed from the exertion. 

Fine Motor Technique

The precision required to move fast and then slow is combined with the challenge of having to move with fine motor skills.

As your body and arms move, you will have to move your head and hands in exact and controlled manners, which can take years to learn. 

This is the last part that makes Kathak so difficult to learn and why many may never be able to master it completely.

With many people only focusing on the large movements, they usually do not focus on the fine motor skills they continually need to consider and adjust. 

How To Find Someone To Teach You Kathak?

As Kathak is now being taught in schools and studios worldwide, the best way to find someone to teach you is to do a simple Google search.

However, another option is to ask someone at a nearby and trusted dance studio if they may know someone who can teach you to do Kathak. 

Word of mouth is often the only way many people get new people to teach and help through the Kathak process.

This may mean that you are being taught one-on-one by the teacher, allowing you to progress much faster than you would in a larger group. 

We always recommend you ask those around you and do some online research to find out where you can learn the dance.

If you are unsure about the teacher, you can find out who the official registries are to learn who the best possible teachers are. 

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Conclusion

Learning Kathak on your own is not always viable, especially if you do not have someone to tell you where your Kathak movements are wrong.

Further, you may not be able to master each step to the required level to move onto that Kathak form’s next level. 

Always remember, dancing alone only works when you know what you are doing! 

References

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