Classical Kathak Dance From North India
Chhandika presents 'Naya Deep' (New Light)
A traditional Kathak dance concert celebrating the season of Diwali—a time of renewal, light and new beginnings.
Kathak solo by GRETCHEN HAYDEN
Music by GEORGE RUCKERT
Tabla solo and accompaniment by NITIN MITTA
Introducing Chhandika Dancers:
Anjali Nath and Meenakshi Verma
The Chhandam Institute of Kathak Dance is non-profit organization dedicated to the teaching, preservation, presentation, and advancement of classical Kathak dance arts. Chhandika is affiliated with the Chhandam School of Kathak Dance and Chitresh Das Dance Company (based in the San Francisco Bay Area) as well as the Nritya Bharati Institute (Kolkata, India). Chhandika provides a stimulating, supportive and multicultural environment in which to explore the physical, intellectual, and spiritual benefits of Kathak dance as a student, serious practitioner, or intellectually curious observer. Chhandika provides classes for students of all ages and levels of dance experience.
Derived from the ancient tradition of storytelling in Northern India, Kathak is a highly sophisticated classical performing art requiring extensive knowledge and practice of dance, drama, music, and rhythm. Kathak (from the Sanskrit word katha, a story) was originally performed by kathakas, or wandering minstrels, in temples and villages. Enacting tales from the great Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana as well as other mythological themes, kathakas passed on a tradition of mime and storytelling. During the medieval Moghul dynasty, this tradition was brought into the courts. There, Kathak developed into a more refined art form, adding abstract techniques and elaborate costumes to create a highly stylized dance. Kathak today is a unique blend of the traditions and philosophies of Hindu culture combined with Muslim aesthetics. It is characterized by intricate footwork, refined gestures, elegant stances, swift spins, and rhythmic intensity—along with both subtle and dramatic facial expression. Primarily a solo performance art, it is done by males and females alike.
Gretchen Hayden is a senior disciple of the renowned and innovative Kathak dance master, Chitresh Das (from Calcutta). She began her Kathak training in 1972 and became a principal soloist with the Chitresh Das Dance Co. (CDDC) at its inception in 1980. She has given solo recitals and workshops in North America, Europe and India. Ms. Hayden taught at the Chhandam School in California throughout the late 1970’s and 1980's. While in Calcutta for an extended stay in 1987, she was presented with a Senior Degree in Kathak Dance from the Nritya Bharati Academy, which was founded by Mr. Das’ parents in 1942. In 1992, she moved to Boston with her husband, sarodist and musicologist George Ruckert, where she established a branch of Chitreshji’s Chhandam School. This school has since become the non-profit organization, Chhandika. Ms. Hayden has also initiated accredited Kathak Dance courses at Tufts University and Wellesley College, and is an adjunct faculty member at MIT. Through her work as a dancer and teacher, she has contributed significantly to fostering the art of Kathak in the West.
George Ruckert is a performer, composer, author, and teacher with an extensive background in both western and Hindustani classical music. He was introduced to the music of the legendary sarod master, Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib in 1968 and under Khansahib’s tutelage he focused his attention on sarod and vocal music for nearly thirty years. He earned the Gayan and Vadya Bid degree in 1975 and served for many years as teacher and Director of the Ali Akbar College of Music near San Francisco. While at the Ali Akbar College, he also composed music for the choreography of Kathak dance master, Chitresh Das, and arranged much of this music for the innovative east-west ensemble, the New Maihar Band. As a solo artist on the sarod, he has performed, recorded, and taught in India, Europe, Canada, and the United States. In 1992 he earned his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from University of California at Berkeley. Mr. Ruckert presently is a Senior Lecturer at MIT where he teaches western, World and Indian classical music, while continuing his performing career on the sarod. He is a founder of and Artistic Director for MITHAS, MIT Heritage of the Arts of Southasia.
Nitin Mitta started his training in tabla at the age of nine with late Pandit G. Satyanarayana and continued his advanced training under Pandit Arvind Mulgaonkar of Mumbai. Both his gurus were disciples of the distinguished late Ustad Amir Hussain Khan of Farukhabad Gharana. Nitin has accompanied many eminent artistes, both in India and abroad such as Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Mishra, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Ulhas Bapat, Pandit Nayan Ghosh amongest others. He is a faculty at the Learn Quest Academy of Music in Waltham.
Location: MIT’S LITTLE KRESGE THEATER
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: $ 20 general, $15 students.
Contact: Meenakshi Verma (508) 981-9091
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