Chitresh Das is a master artist North Indian Kathak. Trained by his
guru, Pandit Ram Narayan Misra, from the age of nine, his schooling embodied
the Lucknow school's graceful and sensual elements and the Jaipur school’s
dynamic and powerful rhythm and movements. His performance at the first
Rimpa Festival in Beneras by invitation from Pandit Ravi Shankar launched
his performing career in India, where he went on to be featured in many
of India’s celebrated festivals. This includes the current year’s Kathak Mahotsav,
India’s most prestigious Kathak festival in New Delhi. He has since
toured internationally, performing as a solo artist and also with the
Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) throughout the United States, Europe,
and Asia. He has performed in America’s most esteemed venues, including
the Olympic games, the Kennedy Center, the World Music Institute and countless
Pandit Das' contributions to the American arts scene began in 1970 when
he received a Whitney Fellowship through the University of Maryland to
teach Kathak. In 1971, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan invited him to establish a Kathak
dance program at the renowned Ali Akbar College of Music in California.
His own school, Chhandam, founded in 1980, now has branches in the San
Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Toronto, and Calcutta, India. CDDC tours with
Pandit Das annually in India and both solo and company performances are
regularly featured on Indian national television.
for his innovative and traditional works, Pandit Das has received
numerous awards and grants from California Arts Council, California
State University, Olympic Arts Festival, National Endowment for the
Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation and
the Irvine Fellowship in Dance. In addition to his own school, Pandit
Das is on the faculty of San Francisco State University and in 2003 was
guest faculty at Stanford University. He taught twice at the West
Bengal State Academy and represented the state of Bengal in tours
CDDC is comprised of dancers whose abilities exemplify Chitresh Das’
emphasis on the technical, graceful and dramatic aspects of Kathak dance.
Principal Company members are established artists in their own right,
performing internationally with a repertoire ranging from the rhythms of
North and South India (Pancha Jati), stories and images
of the lavish courts of India (Darbar) to the pure dance energy of Tarana.
Pandit Chitresh Das and his company offer master classes, lecture demonstrations,
workshops and residencies through his non-profit organization, Chhandam.
Jaiwanti Das-Pamnani began dancing at the age of 8 in the Fiji Islands
where she grew up. She has danced with CDDC for nine years, where she
first discovered her true passion for dance. Among the concerts that she
has performed in with the CDDC are the MidSummer Arts Festival in San
Francisco's Stern Grove, UC San Diego's 19th Annual Performance Art Series,
in London at the Brahma Kumari National Conference, and with Chitresh
Das' annual tour of India. Jaiwanti is a senior instructor at the Chhandam
School of Kathak Dance, managing the San Bruno branch of the school.
Charlotte Moraga, originally from Florida, began dancing at the age of
nine. Formerly a professional Jazz dancer, she finds Kathak the most exhilarating
and challenging dance form she has encountered. Since joining CDDC in
'92 she has performed with great acclaim across the U.S., India, and Bali
at the International Bali Arts Festival. Charlotte is a senior instructor
at the Chhandam School of Kathak dance and Director of the Chitresh Das
Youth Company. Charlotte has been instrumental in developing CDDC's involvement
in arts education programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.