Early Life of Pandit Chitresh Das
Pandit Chitresh Das, born on 9th November in the year 1944 was a classical dancer of the North Indian style of Kathak. He was born in Kolkata. He belonged to parents Nrityacharya Prohlad Das and Smt. Nilima Das. His parents founded "Nritya Bharati," one of Indias first institutions for dance that housed teachers of several classical and folk styles. Pandit Chitresh Das was amongst the Indian diaspora in America. Growing up in his parents' dance school in Kolkata, Pandit Chitresh Das was surrounded by great literary artists, poets, dancers, and gurus of the times. He got his encouragement from his mother. Pandit Chitresh Das began his study of Kathak at the age of 9 under Pandit Ram Narayan Misra, a well-known disciple of Shambhu and Acchchan Maharaj. Pandit Chitresh Das was schooled in both major Kathak traditions, embodying each in his artistry: the graceful and sensual elements of the Lucknow school combined with the dynamic and powerful rhythms and movements of the Jaipur School. Chitresh Das was graduated from Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata and earned his M.A. in dance from Prayag Sangit Samiti in Allahabad.
Early Career of Pandit Chitresh Das
Pandit Chitresh Das has performed extensively throughout America, India and Europe, touring both as a solo artist, in combined productions, as well as with the Chitresh Das Dance Company. Chitresh Das consistently tours and performs throughout India. Pandit Chitresh Das made his performances within India that include Surya festival (1982); Pandit Ravi Shankar's Rimpa Festival in Benares (1983), representing West Bengal in tours throughout India (1998, 1999), Dover Lane Conference, Kolkata (1979, 1982, 1984, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2003); National Kathak Festival in New Delhi (2003), Fort William, Kolkata (2005) where he performed before 4,000 Indian soldiers, UMAQ Festival, New Delhi (2004, 2006, 2007), US Consulate 50th Anniversary in Mumbai (2008), Karamatullah Khan Festival in Kolkata (2008), Mumbai Festival (2008), 50th Anniversary Festival, IIT Kharagpur, India (2009) amongst others.
Pandit Chitresh Das outside India
Pandit Chitresh Das has performed extensively throughout the United States since the early 1970s. In 1984, Pandit Chitresh Das was selected to perform in the Olympic Arts Festival during the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Other selective American performances include the Lincoln Center (1988), International Kathak festival in Chicago (2004), American Dance Festival (2004, 2006), and the American Folk festival (2008). In the San Francisco Bay Area, Chitresh Das and his Dance Company have been a mainstay of the local dance season and his company's home season has included such masterpieces as "Gold Rush" (1990), "Sadhana" (1991), "East as Centre" (2003), and his most recent award winning collaboration with tap dancer, Jason Samuels Smith, "IJS: India Jazz Suites" (2005 to present). He also toured to Australia, China, Hawaii and many other places. He also performed throughout Europe, including Bonn and Aachen International Dance Festivals (1983), Logan Hall in London (1984), and Nijmegen and Arnhem, Holland (1984). He also performed throughout in Germany, Poland, and Hungary with Tanzprojekt.
Later Career of Pandit Chitresh Das
In 1979, Pandit Chitresh Das established the Chhandam School of Kathak and the Chitresh Das Dance Company in California. In 2002, Pandit Chitresh Das founded Chhandam Nritya Bharati in India. Pandit Chitresh Das performed and taught to audiences around the world, frequently touring through India, North America and Europe. In the year 2006, the Pandit Chitresh Das Dance Group and Chhandam organised a festival of Kathak dance in San Francisco, the largest Kathak festival ever to take place outside India. It brought together Kathak dancers from all over the world. Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco inaugurated the festival by proclaiming 28 September as "Kathak Day".
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