The change of dancing style in Kathak, has reflected in the costume and performance dress of the dancers which has changed with the passage of time. Kathak, a traditional dance of North India, is blend of Hindu and Muslim cultures. This mixture of culture is reflected in its costumes. Costumes in Kathak are often similar to that shown in the Mughal Miniature Paintings. Kathak costume for the female dancer comprises a long pleated `Kurta` (Shirt) worn over Pyjama, a brocaded cap and a `Dupatta.`
Traditional Hindu costume sometimes consists of a Sari, to allow greater freedom of movement during dance. Commonly, the costume is a Lehenga-Choli combination, with an optional Odhni or Veil. The Lehenga is loose ankle-length skirt, and the Choli is a tight fitting blouse, usually short-sleeved. Both can be embroidered or decorated. The lehenga is sometimes adapted to a special dance variety, similar to a long Ghaghra
, so that during spins, the skirt flares out dramatically. During the Mughal era costume for women consists of an Angarkha (from the Sanskrit Anga-Rakshaka meaning `Limb-Keeper`) on the upper body. The design is similar to a Churidaar Kameez, but is somewhat tighter fitting above the waist, and the `skirt` portion explicitly cut on the round to enhance the flare of the lower half during spins. Beneath this, the legs are covered by the churidaar or figure hugging trousers folded up giving the look of cloth bangles.
The traditional costume for men is to be bare-chested. The male dancer wears either `Dhoti` (Loincloth) and `Kurta` (Shirt) or a long shirt over a pyjama. The fabric used for the costume is light, usually silk. The Mughal costume is like Kurta-Churidar. The kurta can be a simple one, but is usually at least knee-length. Men may also wear an Angarkha. Particularly older variety costumes include the small peaked cap too.
The jewellery consists of bangles, earrings, a decorative belt, and ornaments worn on the hair and fingers. The major ornament is the `Ghungaroo`, chain of about 100-150 tiny bells worn over the ankles. `Ghungaroo` is used for producing sounds synchronous with the rhythm produced by the percussion instruments