Chitresh Das Dance Company Archive

Chitresh Das Dance Company Performances

Shiva

Shiva embodies Chitresh Das’ powerful vision of the numinous forces surrounding and pervading the concept of Lord Shiva. In Shiva, Das explored the world of the Shiva-worshipping tantrics, the ascetics who renounce everything in order to seek a connection to the divine through intensive yogic practices andrituals, including chanting and deep meditation. The various techniques practiced, many of which are viewed as extreme by Indian society, enable the tantric to test his or her ability to see the divine in everything, such as meditating while sitting on dead bodies, eating scraps to survive, and eating and drinking out of human skulls. Das grew up in Kolkata, India, a center of tantra. He was fascinated by the tantric sadhus he saw while visiting holy cities and temples as a child with his family. Inspired by his own experience and curiosity, he created this work on tantrics, innovating far beyond traditional kathak subject matter.

Z Space, San Francisco [World Premiere, 2013]
Cal Performances , Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley [2016]
//Conceived and Choreographed by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Original Music Score composed by Jayanta Banerjee
//Lighting Design by Dave Robertson
//Performed by Chitresh Das Dance Company - Charlotte Moraga, Seibi Lee, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Rachna Nivas, Anjali Nath, Antara Bhardwaj, Labonee Mohana, Cimeron Ahluwalia, Ritu Mathur, Shefali Jain, Poonam Narkar, Preeti Mann 

//Photo credit: Margo Moritz 

Pancha Jati

In Pancha Jati, Das brings together North and South Indian percussion and world-class musicians to create an explosive performance rooted in the ancient energy of India with movement that is both austere and lush. Unlike traditional kathak performances, this work features only pure dance and no narrative story. Here the story is one of movement, rhythm and music. Many sections are without accompaniment, highlighting the dancers’ roles as percussionists through footwork and recitation.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco [Re-choreographed, 2014] 
//Conceived, Choreographed, Composed by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Music Direction by Jayanta Banerjee
//Lighting Design by Matthew Antaky
//Performed by Chitresh Das Dance Company - Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Rachna Nivas, Rina Mehta, Antara Bhardwaj, Labonee Mohanta
//Photo courtesy of SfBay

Sita Haran

In this dramatic staging, Pandit Chitresh Das retells the timeless story of the Ramayana, focusing on the episode of Princess Sita’s abduction by the King of Lanka, Ravan, followed by Ram and Lakshman’s search for her. The stoty is told in the dynamic Kathak style with compelling abhinaya (expression), movement, music, rhythm and multi-media. Das digs deeply into this popular tale, exploring the contradictions and complexities inherent in the characters’ personalities, while also revealing their depth and humanity. Das unveils what makes this story relevant even today.

Cowell Theatre, San Francisco [World Premiere, 2009]
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco [2010]
Birla Sabhaghar, Kolkata, India [2010]
Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, Arizona [2013]
Wellesley College, Boston [2013]
//Conceived, Choreographed, Composed by Pandit Chitresh Das

//Original Score arranged by Jayanta Banerjee
//Multimedia, Jim French
//Lighting Design, Dave Robertson
//Performed by Chitresh Das Dance Company - Charlotte Moraga, Seibi Lee, Joanna Meinl, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Rachna Nivas, Rina Mehta, Anjali Nath, Cimeron Ahluwalia, Antara Bhardwaj, Labonee Mohanta, Poonam Narkar,
Neerja Sinha
//Photo credit: Brooke Duthie 

Sampurnam

Meaning wholeness or complete, Sampurnam is an exploration into the boundaries and depth of Kathak’s percussive footwork that become the bodies voice, swift and sharp movement, and into the energy and vitality of ancient India through shlokam, or chanted verse.

Cowell Theater, San Francisco [World Premiere, 2004]
//Conceived and choreographed by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Performed by Pandit Chitresh Das and CDDC Members - Charlotte Moraga, Jaiwanti Das Pamnani, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Seibi Lee, Joanna Meinl, Leah Brown, Rachna Nivas, Rina Mehta, Anjali Nath, Cimeron Ahluwalia
//Musicians – Abijit Banerjee (tabla), Kousic Sen (tabla), Swampnamoy Banejee (sarod), Mala Ganguly (vocal)
//Photos credit: Marty Sohl

Yatra: Journey from India to Spain

Yatra: Journey from India to Spain is a collaboration between kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das and Spanish flamenco artist Antonio Hidalgo Paz in an innovative, spirited work exploring the historical context of their two respective classical art forms. Featuring live Indian classical musicians alongside Flamenco musician. Presented in partnership with 3rdi South Asian Film Festival and featuring multi-media connecting the performance into a narrative of artistic journey and shared heritage.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco [World Premiere, 2014]
//Conceived by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Co-created by Pandit Chitresh Das and Antonio Hidalgo Paz
//Musical Artists: Debashis Sarkar, Jayanta Banerjee, Satyaprakash Misra, Francisco Orozco
//Multi-media by Alka Raghuram
//Additional performers, Chitresh Das Dance Company - Charlotte Moraga, Seibi Lee, Rachna Nivas, Labonee Mohanta, Cimeron Ahluwalia
//Photos credit: Matt Sumner

 

Darbar

Darbar (translated as “the court”) highlights the artistic renaissance that took place in the courts of North India as well as the methodology of divide and rule utilized by the British to conquer India and eventually dissolve the same courts. The story is loosely based on that of king Wajid Ali Shah, a ruler known both for his decadence and for his revival of kathak. Ali Shah, so distracted by his indulgences, failed to notice that his general was being tempted by the British to betray him. Darbar is both a representation of the rich artistic and cultural legacy of the courts of North India as well as a statement about the responsibility of power and the risk of corruption—concepts still relevant today.

//Asian Art Museum,San Francisco [2012]
//Conceived and Choreographed by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Performed by Chitresh Das Dance Company
//Set and Lighting Design: Matthew Antaky
//Photo credit:  Margo Moritz and Matt Sumner

 

India Jazz Suites

“Alone, they’re captivating. Together, they’re magic.”
– Allan Ulrich, Voice of Dance

India Jazz Suites (called Fastest Feet in Rhythm in India), featuring Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith, was an explosive collaboration between one of India’s foremost kathak masters and one of the world’s fastest, Emmy-award winning tap dancers. The result was high entertainment which crossed all boundaries of age, race, and culture – a blast of incredible speed and power, grace and beauty, epic storytelling and the pure joy of dance. After premiering in San Francisco in 2005, India Jazz Suites received extensive critical acclaim and toured globally for 10 years, including 6 tours to India with its last India tour being funded by a joint initiative between the U.S. State Department and Indian government. It was chosen as the #1 Dance Performance by the San Francisco Chronicle, listed in Top Picks by the Boston Globe, won the Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Izzie) for Best Ensemble Performance of the Year. India Jazz Suites led to the making of a documentary Upaj:Improvise, which screened at film festivals worldwide and aired nationally in the U.S. on PBS.

Toured worldwide to over 30 cities and venues across U.S., Canada, India, Australia [2005-2015]
//Conceived by Pandit Chitresh Das
//Co-created by Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith
//Photo credit for some photos Marty Sohl

East As Center

East as Center was a collaboration between North Indian Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, Balinese master Ni Ketut Arini, and South Indian Kathakali master P. Govindan Kutty. In East as Center, presented at ODC Theater during Das’s artistic residency, each master portrayed distinct characters in stories excerpted from the Ramayana, with a cast that included disciples of each respective master as well as live Balinese, South and North Indian classical music.

ODC Theater, San Francisco [World Premiere 2003]
East Coast Tour [2005]
//Conceived by Pandit Chitresh Das, co-collaborators Ni Ketut Arini, P. Govindan Kutty
//Additional dancers: Charlotte Moraga, Jaiwanti Das-Pamnani, Surajit Sarkar, Kompiang Metri Davies, Farah Yasmeen Shaikh, Seibi Lee, Joanna Meinl, Rachna Nivas

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