Originating from Northern India, Kathak has gained immense popularity for its sparkling footwork, fast whirling movements and subtle abhinaya or mimetic dance. It almost never fails to capture the audience and this ability is probably because of its long history in the courts of emperors and kings.
The word "Kathak" is derived from the name given to its practitioners "Kathakars".
Katha meaning story and it's practitioners being those who told these stories. They told stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Puranas.
There is a popular saying that Katha kahe so kathak, (one who tells a story is a kathak). Etymologically the word kathaka is related to katha, the art of storytelling. From literary evidence it appears that in ancient times a class of professional story-tellers recited the epics and the mythological stories with an added eliment of abhinaya-acting. While reciting they sang, danced and acted. The art was handed down from one generation to the next generation in a hereditary manner as an oral tradition.