It’s not my best writing by a longshot, but I love the headline the Chronicle gave my article on Chitresh Das’s latest production: “Bring in ‘da noise, bring in ‘da classical Indian dance.” Here’s the lead:
“One man was 23, the other 60. One wore tap shoes, the other four pounds of bells tied to each ankle. But when Kathak master Chitresh Das found himself backstage at the American Dance Festival with tap prodigy Jason Samuels Smith, he knew he had to seize his fate.
“I said, this is my chance, I have to get his attention,” Das said recently, his aging but nimble body slick with sweat from his day’s discipline. “So I started to dance and Jason says, ‘How can you do that with your bare feet?’ ”
Smith, a rising star in the tap world best known as an alumnus of “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk,” was so enthralled by his first glimpse of North Indian classical dancing that Das’ company members had to restrain him from following Das onto the stage. “It was like two lovers kept apart for centuries finally coming together,” Das said, his theatrical eyes wide with passion. “The Divine put me in that hallway with Jason.”
It might sound more like a star-crossed liaison: the elegance and mathematical precision of Kathak meets the slouchy streetwise virtuosity of contemporary tap. But when Das and Smith are in the same room, they’re just two hoofers. Since that “Festival of the Feet” in 2004, Das and Smith have kept on jamming. The result is “India Jazz Suites,” an East-meets-West collaboration premiering this weekend at the Cowell Theater. ”
And here’s the full story.