Chitresh Das Dance Company
The Chitresh Das Dance Company is comprised
of dancers whose abilities exemplify Kathak Master Chitresh Das'
emphasis on the technical, graceful and dramatic aspects of Kathak
dance. CDDC is an inspiring example of the vision of Chitresh Das
to create access to the captivating and dynamic Kathak tradition
to audiences throughout the world.
Farah Yasmeen Shaikh has been part of CDDC for
over six years, with her presentation always precise and intuitive.
She has toured with CDDC in India, performing last year in Chitresh
Das' collaboration with renowned Paris-based, contemporary painter
Shahabuddin. Additionally, she tours with CDDC throughout the United
States. Farah strives to educate her own community about Kathak
as a teacher at the Chhandam School of Kathak dance, as well as
a participant in CDDC's arts education programs and performances.Kathak
dance being one, if not the only, of the Indian classical dances
to be influenced by both Hindu and Islamic cultures, and considering
the nature of this evening's event, Farah will be performing two
pieces to demonstrate this unique union of influences in the dance.
Both pieces have been choreographed by Pandit Chitresh Das.
Rangmanch means to color the stage. Here the
dancer enacts a puja (worship) through mudra (hand gesture) and
movement: she sanctifies the stage with water, flame, incense and
the ringing of a bell, she offers flowers and a mala (flower garland)
to the deity, blows on the conch shell and places sandal wood paste
on the diety's third eye. She then invokes the three deities, Brahma
(the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Maheshwara (the destroyer
of illusion). Finally the dancer begins to perform nritta, pure
Thaat originates from the Lucknow school of Kathak dance. This school
is often known as the Muslim school of Kathak dance because of the
heavy Moghul influence. The costumes worn by the dancers are typical
Thaat is the highly stylized tuning of the body and mind in exploration
of the chosen tal (rhythmic cycle of definite beats). In a graceful
stance, movements of the neck, head, eyebrows and wrists display
the more subtle dance techniques of Kathak. The aesthetic aspect
of Thaat is the marking or interrupting of this flow with a flurry
of movement- fast footwork or turns, which often ends in a crisp,
stand-still pose. Though the Islamic influence is more evident in
the emphasis on rhythmic and technical intricacies than in dance
movement, salaam, the traditional Muslim greeting, is seen in different
sections of the dance.