State of the Art of Kathak

In the 5fbd91d335bf6d07574f7050634fbb4b-1fall of 2004, the first international kathak festival in the United States was organized at the University of Chicago. Scholars and performers converged from around the world to discuss and showcase the evolution of the art form. This year, the Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) follows that up with another international festival and symposium, Kathak at the Crossroads: Innovation Within Tradition, to be held in San Francisco Sept. 28-30. “My goal with Kathak at the Crossroads is to bring together a diversity of generations, gharanas, styles, and genders, and to demonstrate that perhaps there is room for all,” says Chitesh Das, founder of CDDC. “Many questions will be addressed: how does one define when a dancer is ready to experiment? When does it stop being kathak and become something else and who sets that standard? In the midst of all these difficult questions, we must also celebrate this great art form with the great masters, the upcoming and emerging artists, and the young students.” The festival and symposium will include artists, scholars, teachers, presenters, critics, funders, students, and other dance enthusiasts from around the world. Invited artists represent the foremost practitioners of kathak today, including Birju Maharaj, Kumudini Lakhia, Chitresh Das, Bachhanlal Mishra, and Saswati Sen, as well as emerging dancers. Each of the symposium’s three days will comprise of main stage performances, smaller showcase performances, academic presentations, lecture demonstrations, and panel discussions relating to the history, evolution and current ecology of kathak in its artistic, cultural and global contexts. “Ultimately, Kathak at the Crossroads is dedicated to the future generations of kathak dancers,” says Das. “It is hoped that, by bringing the kathak and larger performing arts communities together on an international level, a greater awareness of kathak will be achieved.” Sept. 28-30. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. Full registration: $225-$475. Evening performances $15-$100. (415) 333-9000.

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