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A Guru's JourneyPandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora$
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Sarah Morelli

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042867

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042867.001.0001

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Dancing History

Dancing History

(p.28) 2 Dancing History
A Guru's Journey

Sarah Morelli

University of Illinois Press

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.

Keywords:   autobiographical production, sociohistorical context, history of kathak, British colonial period, dance institutions, pedagogy, guru, courtesan, guru-disciple tradition, dance transmission

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