S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Friday, 9 November 2018

Chitresh Das

Birthdays & Anniversaries

9.11.1944 - 4.1.2015
Chitresh Das is a pioneer in introducing Kathak to the United States of America. His dream is to break through cultural barriers and ensure the continuation of the Kathak tradition at its highest artistic level.

His mission began in 1970 when he received a Whitney Fellowship through the University of Maryland to teach Kathak even while he was studying Modern dance. A year later, he was invited by sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan to establish a Kathak dance programme at the renowned Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. While there, Chitresh Das created three major dance-dramas in the Kathak idiom, with over 40 musicians and dancers participating— the first venture of the kind in the Indo-American performing arts scene.

Das founded his own dance company and school called Chhandam in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 1980. It now has additional branches in Boston and Toronto.

Trained from age nine Mishra, Chitresh was schooled in both major Kathak traditions and absorbed each in his artistry: the graceful and sensual elements of the Lucknow school, as well as the dynamic and powerful rhythms and movements of the Jaipur school. His performing career was launched in India when he was invited by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar to perform at the Rimpa Festival in Varanasi.

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