The Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) & Chhandam School was founded in 1980 and is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and education of Kathak dance and Indian Culture. Based in San Francisco, the company performs internationally and most frequently throughout the US, Canada and India.
Pandit Chitresh Das is a disciple of the great Kathak guru, Pandit Ram Narayan Misra. Pandit Das grew up in the institution, Nritya Bharati, founded and directed by his parents, Nrityacharya Prohlad Das and Smt. Nilima Das, where many of India’s greatest gurus came to perform and teach.
Das was a child prodigy in India who quickly attained national fame, performing at age 11 with the legendary tabla maestro Pandit Samta Prasadji and performed a special concert for the great Indian dance icon Uday Shakar. Pandit Chitresh Das was brought to the United States in 1970 on a Whitney Fellowship to teach Kathak at the University of Maryland. In 1971, renowned Indian classical musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan invited him to establish a dance program at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.
Pandit Das’ desire to reach out and expand his work prompted him to found his own dance company and school in 1979, the Chitresh Das Dance Company & Chhandam School of Kathak, incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1980. Twenty-eight years later, CDDC/Chhandam boasts one of the world’s foremost Indian classical dance companies and the largest Kathak institution in North America with additional branches in India, Boston and Toronto.
The work of CDDC/Chhandam continues to impact the field of Indian classical dance on local and international levels. CDDC/Chhandam works to preserve the dynamic and rich Indian classical tradition by presenting traditional Kathak performances of excellence, integrity and depth. CDDC/Chhandam simultaneously supports the evolution of the Indian classical traditional arts by presenting collaborative and innovative works by Pandit Chitresh Das. Under his artistic guidance, CDDC/Chhandam is creating some of the most exciting and groundbreaking productions in Indian classical dance today, producing events that have field-wide, international impact and is significantly contributing to preserving the Indian classical tradition through its schools in the United States and India.
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Featured Photo: Pandit Chitresh Das, Photo by Scott Chernis