Countless books could be filled with the wisdom and knowledge I have received from those I have been fortunate to be surrounded by from my Family, my Guruji, Guru Sisters and community, to friends, colleagues and perfect strangers who will never know the ways they have impacted my life and views. At this stage I carry with me a great sense of pride and humility for all I have been taught and I eagerly anticipate life's endless journey of learning, exploration and growth and all that I have the fortune to pass on. I remind others what I remind myself every day ~ to cherish and avail the gift that is the present.
In Honor of a Legend - Pandit Chitresh Das
November 9, 1944 - January 4, 2015
Your light, like no other, will continue to shine bright in the thousands of souls you've touched around the world with your dance, your energy, your integrity and your love.
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Pandit Chitresh Das
Practice, practice, practice...
...is the central mantra in my Guruji's training. "From agony to ecstasy, from karela to rasamalai" there is no way around the hard work and dedication required by your craft.
Life is about upaj (improvisation), literally meaning 'from the heart,' which is also at the heart of Kathak. Just as in life one's training and preparation must be so strong that you are ready for anything, on or off the dance floor, in every aspect of life. In Kathak, upaj requires a solid foundation of knowledge and practice in the four key elements: Tayari (technical ability), Layakari (deep understanding of rhythm), Khubsurti & Nazakat (beauty and grace & the subtlety of that beauty). To be prepared for what one might encounter on stage with live musicians, technical issues, or even at car one must be ready. In Kathak, one's foundation of training and knowledge must become strong through hard work and discipline so that when you dance you become one with everything and only then can you truly dance with joy and freedom.
Video: Pandit Chitresh Das speaks on his teaching philosophy; students at Chhandam share their experiences
Video highlights of a Traditional Kathak Solo by Pandit Das