BOSTON, MA— The Chhandam Institute of Kathak Dance, known as Chhandika, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this Saturday with a Kathak dance production “Shakti” at the Roxbury Community College in Boston.
Anjali Nath, a dance teacher at Chhandika and one of the organizers of the event, said the program will be held on Nov. 19th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Seventeen members of the Chhandika Youth Ensemble will perform in Shakti, which celebrates feminine power.
“This year we celebrate Chhandika’s 15th anniversary and 5 year anniversary of the Chhandika Youth Ensemble,” said Nath. “Kathak has been passed down through oral tradition for centuries to the next generations and we are proud that these generations are excited about and committed to studying this tradition as they are already part of it’s preservation and evolution.”
Chhandika Youth Ensemble is a program that offers young dancers the opportunity to delve deeper into their study of Kathak and intensive training in the dance and related history, music, and theory.
“Chhandika is proud to be keeping the very vibrant solo tradition alive and Shakti is a milestone event that presents the audience with the strength, beauty and power of the multifaceted elements of the art form,” Nath said.
She said the traditional solo is a key marker of a dancer’s development and forms the basis of Shakti.
“Dancers bring to life the rich history, philosophies, and rhythms that are based on a complex mathematical structure and based on the innovative teachings of Pandit Chitresh Das, carried forward by his senior-most disciple, Gretchen Hayden, founder and artistic director of Chhandika,” Nath said. “The evening begins with an opening invocation sung by the Youth Ensemble members, sure to open the hearts and minds of the audience to a visual and rhythmic journey of Kathak filled with a range of movement, music and storytelling.”
Nath and Shefali Jain of Chhandika have worked to bring Shakti to life with the support of Chhandika founder Hayden.
“We are excited to be able to share a real gem of an art form that is being preserved right here in New England in such a strong way with integrity and vibrancy,” Nath said. “Kathak is a universal art that can be danced and appreciated by all and we look forward to bringing this to the stage in the heart of Boston to engage audiences who might not otherwise come out to a show.”
Hayden is Pandit Das’ senior-most disciple and torchbearer of his legacy. Over the past two decades, Hayden has worked lovingly to create a thriving Kathak community and has contributed greatly to the fabric of the Indian classical arts across New England and beyond. She has ignited appreciation of and passion for Kathak, not only among the hundreds of students she has taught through the years, but also within the greater dance and arts community.
Choreographers Anjali Nath and Shefali Jain are professional kathak artists in their own right. Their initial training began with Hayden, followed by many years of extensive training with with Pandit Das. The quality of their dance, teaching, and performances is reflective of this rigorous training process, and of the guru-shishya parampara. They continue to work diligently to elevate the standards of the art and create platforms for the next generations of Kathak artists.