Albert Einstein once said, “Dancers are athletes of God.” Kathak master, Pandit Chitresh Das, personified this quote perfectly. When he danced, it felt like he had a direct connection to God. Last year, we lost Sitara Devi, another great kathak performer, and this year we have lost Das. It is really saddening to hear of his passing. Das is credited with helping the art form truly reach a global audience, and also, for bringing kathak into popularity in North America. Das began learning kathak at the age of nine. In 1970, he received a fellowship to teach kathak at University of Maryland. In 1980, Das founded the “Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) & Chhandam School of Kathak.” The school, based in San Francisco, California, eventually expanded its locations with affiliate schools in Boston (Massachusetts, USA), Toronto (Ontario, Canada), Mumbai (India), and Kolkata (India). In totality, the CDDC has 700 students! The master passed away on January 4th due to “acute aortic dissection.” As a lover of dancer, and a dancer myself, I can truly feel how big of a void he has left in the world of kathak.
It really is an immense loss to the world of dance to have lost such an incredible artist. To watch Das dance was to allow oneself to transcend the world into another dimension… such was Das‘ dance ability. If you have never seen his performances live or online, please check the two links below. Also, check the gallery below for images from his performances.
“Life and death are the only reality. You come alone, you go alone.
Only thing to do in-between is practice and do whatever you do with love.”
– Pt. Chitresh Das
Unless otherwise noted, Photo Credits: Kathak.org