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Riddham Kathak School

Courses Offered

  • Guru Shishya Parampara Kathak Training (Currently Online)

(As per syllabus by Akhila Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, Miraj)

  • Short Term Courses (ONLY ONLINE)
  • Kathak Connoisseur (Lecture- Online)

(Understand the Kathak Tradition and appreciate the art in an informed manner)

  • Kathak Learning and Performance : Tradition & Technique (Lec-Dem, Currently Online)
  • Kathak Intensive (Currently Online)

(Customized courses/workshops/lessons for Intermediate/Advanced level students and Kathak dancers)

About Riddham

Riddham Kathak School is one of the few Kathak schools in Bengaluru offering training in Kathak through a beautiful synthesis of the Guru-Shishya parampara and academic education. At Riddham a disciple experiences a healthy Guru-Shishya relationship which enables learning in a methodological manner without it being stressful. The Riddham ensemble formed with a select group of disciples has performed in various events such as Chinna Kala Nadam, Chinnara Kalarava, Sutra festival, Keshav Kalpa, Nakshatra the festival of rising stars, The youth arts and cultural festival, Sankranti Sandadi at Shilparamam Hyderabad, DD Chandana and classical dance competitions in and around Bangalore receiving many accolades and prizes in group as well as solo performances. Riddham was established on 4th December 2012 by Smt Sampada Pillai. Amongst the highly rated Kathak schools in Bangalore, Riddham means ‘enriched’ and brings forth to you Kathak in the Lucknow-Jaipur gharana with a graceful, exquisite, beautiful and aesthetically rich repertoire of Late Guru Pandita Dr. Rohini Bhate. With Guru Rohini ji’s blessing, Sampada Pillai aims at sharing this enrichment with her disciples and audiences.

Katha kahe so Kathak Kahave – Kathak comes from the word ‘Katha’ which means a story. It is an ancient art of story-telling attached to the temples of North India. The Kathaks were a group of storytellers or rhapsodists who would recite mythological stories with an added element of mime and gesture thus forming a simple expressional dance. Having gone through many cultural upheavals Kathak has evolved beautifully as a perfect dance having virtuosity, technique, complexities of rhythm and deeply expressional dances.
Presentation of Kathak differs from other Indian Classical Dance styles. The first section which is a ‘Vandana’ is common to all. This is an invocatory dance directed not only towards a particular Hindu God or Goddess but to abstract elements such as Space, Earth or Energy – Sun. The second part is the ‘technique’ where the dancer forms a time cycle with the percussionist and then fills it up with rhythmic phrases that are visually presented. The third part are the ‘Thematic dances’ which combine mimetic acting with the dance known as Abhinaya.

Kathak has come from the word ‘Katha’ which means ‘story’. Katha Kahe so Kathak Kehlave which means one who tells a story, that is a Kathak. A group of professional storytellers attached to the temples of north India would recite the epics and mythological stories through simple dance movements, mime and gesture and facial expression. This simple form of expressional dance later developed into Kathak. In the 15th and 16th century A.D. the Radha-Krishna legend was popular and Kathak developed under the patronage given by the temples. In this period Raas Lilas also developed. With the Mughal rule in the 16th century A.D. it was taken from the temple to the court and developed in two ways – one that represented the Hindu courts of Rajasthan and the other by Muslim courts of Delhi, Agra and Lucknow. The skills, techniques and knowledge of the art of Kathak resulted into two main gharanas – The Lucknow gharana, well known for its graceful and delicate dancing and deep abhinaya and the Jaipur gharana, famous for its forceful dancing and rhythmic excellence. There is a third one called the Benares gharana which specialized in dancing to only the ‘Natawari Bols’. Each gharana has its well defined system, style and features. The contribution of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1847 A.D. to 1856 A.D.) is very important as he gave great support to the exponents of the Lucknow gharana. However under the Mughal rule, Kathak lost its devotional aspect and became a dance for entertainment. The courtesans kept alive the art of Kathak but the the dance was aimed at pleasing the King. With the British invasion the dance was looked down upon and was in danger of extinction. In the struggle for independence there was also a movement where all the Indian art forms were salvaged and revived and Kathak too received a renewed patronage. Kathak went through many cultural upheavals and has now evolved into a beautifully perfect style having virtuosity and technique.
  1. Kathak by Dr. Sunil Kothari (English)
  2. Laheja by Dr. Rohini Bhate (Marath & Hindi)
  3. Ang Kavya by Padmavibhushan Guru Pt. Birju Maharaj (English)
  4. Attendance, India’s only yearbook on dance by Prof. Ashish Mohan Khokar (English)
  5. Kathak dance syllabi (and numerous other publications) by Padmashri Dr. Puru Dhadeech (Hindi)
  6. Movement in Stills by Reena Shah (English)
  7. Nayika Bheda in Kathak by Chethana Jyotishi (English)
  8. Birju Maharaj, The Master Through My Eyes by Saswati Sen (English)
  9. Abhinaya themes in Indian Classical Dance by Ojasi Sukhatankar (English)
  10. Indias Kathak Dance, Past Present & Future by Reginald Massey (English)
  11. Kathak Nritya Parampara Mein Pt. Lacchu Maharaj by Mandvi Singh (Hindi)
  12. Kathak Nritya Parampara Mein Raigarh Durbar by Mandvi Singh (Hindi)
  13. Bells of Change- Kathak Dance, Women and Modernity in India by Pallabi Chakravarthy (English)
  14. Abhinaya Themes of Indian Classical Kathak Dance by Ojasi Sukhtankar (English)
  15. Kathak The world Of Shovana Narayan by Kamal K Mishra (English)
  16. Swinging Syllables Aesthetics of Kathak Dance by Sushil Kumar Saxena (English)
  17. Kathak by Shovana Narayan (English)
  18. Kathak Dance Through Ages by Projesh Banerjee (English)
  19. Karthik Ram Raigarh Mein Kathak by Chethana Jyotishi (Hindi)
  20. Dance in Thumri by Projesh Banerjee (English)
  21. Thumri in Historical and Stylistic Perspectives by Peter Manuel (English)
  22. Movements in Still: The dance and life of Kumudini Lakhia by Reena Shah (English)

Sampada Pillai has always had a keen interest in the academics and aesthetics of art. To enhance this further and generate a similar interest or a curiosity on not just Kathak but all art forms both performing and fine, she commenced the Samvad series at Riddham. Through Samvad disciples get an opportunity to listen and interact with professionals from different genres of art forms. These sessions held once every three or four months are complimentary to Riddham students and their family members. Eminent personalities such as renowned dance scholar and critic Prof. Ashish Mohan Khokar have visited twice and shared his invaluable knowledge and insights on dance. Acclaimed dancers Smt Sarita Mishra (Odissi), Shri Tushar and Smt Pooja Bhat (Kathak), Smt Swapna Rajendra Kumar (Mohiniattam) and Dr. Padmaja Suresh (Bharatanatyam), have given us their valuable time and shared their wealth of knowledge with all the students. 


Riddham has organized Master workshops with specific content keeping the different age groups of students in mind. The Master workshop series commenced in the year 2018 with Guru Smt. Durga Arya ji (senior disciple of Padmavibhushan Guru Pt. Birju Maharaj ji). Students learnt about the Lucknow gharana and its nuances through some choicest compositions selected by Durga didi. The second master workshop was held in 2019 on the Abhinaydarpan. This being the oldest treatise and completely dedicated to Indian classical dance it was inevitable that students explored the content. The workshop titled Abhinaydarpan – Mirroring Kathak was conducted by Smt. Rujuta Soman an eminent Kathak exponent. It was based Late Guru Dr. Rohini Bhate jis deep research on the techniques and grammar of Abhinaydarpan and its relation to Kathak.

Specialized training offered

  • Gandharva Mahavidyalaya syllabus
  • Nritta, Nritya, Abhinaya
  • Late Dr. Rohini Bhate ji’s repertoire
  • Short term Courses/Workshops/Lec-Dems


Mrs. Amber Conlon

Todays kids are becoming increasingly insular with gadgets. They hardly go out to play and its becoming difficult to get them interested in any field. My daughter was no different before she met Ms. Sampada. Alisha has developed keen interest in dancing and the credit goes to the school. We also believe it will help her in various facets of life.

Its wonderful and I’m very delighted I found this Kathak school. And today I am a part of it .This Kathak has brought back my passion into my life …Its the Kathak school for serious Kathak learners . Sampada mam is extremely dedicated ,beautiful, passionate and a complete dancer and guru. She is very motivational & encourages us every moment to make us perfect with every bit and step of Kathak. This is for serious passionate Kathak Learner out there ..Thank you so much Sampada ma’am.  

Ms Niharika Naidu