Utilizing vignettes from the autobiographical production, Sadhana, this chapter examines diverse influences informing the history of kathak, the sociohistorical context in which Pandit Chitresh Das was trained, and his subsequent artistic development. At the end of the British colonial period, his parents founded Nritya Bharati, one of India’s early dance institutions; however, they determined their son would be trained in the traditional guru-disciple system of pedagogy. Pandit Das’s guru, Pandit Ram Narayan Mishra, navigated kathak’s shifting social environment by teaching women from the courtesan community and children from middle- and upper-class families. This chapter examines ideals surrounding the guru-disciple tradition, and ways Pandit Das further adapted the model provided by his own guru in response to increasingly changing contexts for dance transmission in the United States.
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