The Chitresh Das Dance Company performs a dramatic Kathak-style interpretation of Sita Haran (the abduction of Sita) one of the most popular and widely told episodes from India’s great epic tale the Rāmāyana. Conceived, choreographed and composed by Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, Sita Haran features an all-female cast portraying the abduction of Sita, a principal character in the Rāmāyana.
Accompanied by a recording of an original musical score composed by Das and created in India by some of the country’s top musicians, the tale of Sita’s abduction by Ravana, the King of Lanka, takes place while Sita’s husband Ram is in exile in the forests of Dandaka. This chapter in the Rāmāyana gives particular focus to Ram’s and his brother Lakshman’s desperate search for Sita and their very close encounters along the way.
Das retells this timeless story in the dynamic Kathak style with compelling abhinaya (expression)
Kathak comes from the word Katha, Sanskrit for story. A kathaka is a storyteller and Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance. In this version of Sita Haran, the three aspects of Kathak – nritta (pure dance), nritya (dance and drama) and natyam (pure drama) – are integrated, highlighting the ancient story through tayari (technique), laykari (rhythmic intricacy), khubsoorti (beauty and grace in movement), and nazakat (subtlety and delicacy).
Chitresh Das Dance Company
The Chitresh Das Dance Company is comprised of dancers whose abilities exemplify founder Pandit Chitresh Das’ emphasis on the technical, graceful and dramatic aspects of Kathak dance. Principal company members have become established artists in their own right, performing internationally to great acclaim. With a repertoire ranging from the exploration of the rhythms of North and South India in the work Pancha Jati, to the innovative Kathak Yoga in Shabd, to stories and moving images of the lavish courts of India in Darbar, to the pure dance energy of Tarana, the critically acclaimed Chitresh Das Dance Company continues to captivate audiences on their international tours. Through the choreographic vision of Das comes work that is evocative and powerful, bringing both the richness of ancient India and a fiery, contemporary sensibility. http://www.kathak.org
Pandit Chitresh Das
Pandit Chitresh Das, recipient of the 2009 NEA National Heritage Fellowship, has become one of the most dynamic and far-reaching artists to emerge from modern India. A prolific artist, his performance, choreography and evolution of Kathak, classical dance of North India, have influenced the art form worldwide. Trained from the age of nine by his guru Pandit Ram Narayan Misra, 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. Das has also received numerous awards and grants from India’s Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for his contribution to Kathak Dance, Olympic Arts Festival, National Dance Project, Rockefeller Foundation, Irvine Fellowships in Dance, among others. Das formed the first university accredited Kathak course in the U.S. at San Francisco State University. In 2010, Das’ India Jazz Suites presented at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art was chosen as one of the top 10 performances of the year by the Boston Globe.
One of the most important literary works on ancient India, the Rāmāyana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The Rāmāyana is an ancient Sanskrit epic, believed to have been compiled between approximately 400 BCE and 200 CE. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters, such as the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife, and the ideal king. Thematically, the epic explores themes of human existence and the concept of dharma. But, like its epic cousin the Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyana is not just an ordinary story. It contains the teachings of the very ancient Hindu sages and presents them through allegory in narrative and the interspersion of the philosophical and the devotional. The characters of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanumān and Rāvana (the villain of the piece) are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India.
Chhandika (Chhandam Institute of Kathak Dance)
Founded in 2002, Chhandika is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and contributing to the rich tradition of Kathak dance, a classical storytelling art from North India. Chhandika offers classes for men, women, and children of all ages; enriches the community through performances and demonstrations;