My review in the Chronicle today:
“The North Indian dance form Kathak may not seem as prime as, say, flamenco for a popular explosion – but try telling that to Pandit Chitresh Das. For nearly 40 years, he’s tirelessly promoted Kathak in the U.S., training his “rainbow coalition” of multi-ethnic, American-born disciples here in San Francisco. And for the last three years, he’s toured the world trading riffs with the young tap virtuoso Jason Samuels Smith, in their spectacularly entertaining “India Jazz Suites.”
Despite that cross-cultural conversation, Das is not a hybridist – he has no interest in mixing Kathak into Western dance styles as the phenomenally popular British choreographer Akram Khan does. Das works within his tradition. And Saturday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Forum, he returned to one of Kathak’s oldest traditions, the evening-length solo. It dates from the 15th century, when kathakas (storytellers) toured the Mughal courts – yet the largely improvised solo is rarely performed in India today.
Das’ two-hour performance was, first of all, testament to his physical vigor. At 63, he is agile and athletic, a powerhouse example of the muscular style of Kathak he espouses, with its emphasis on swift turns and lightning-quick feet.”
Click here for the full review.