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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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Form and Freedom in Kathak Performance

Form and Freedom in Kathak Performance

(p.144) 7 Form and Freedom in Kathak Performance
A Guru's Journey

Sarah Morelli

University of Illinois Press

In Pandit Chitresh Das’s kathak community, a full-length kathak solo was considered the primary rite of passage for a senior kathak student transitioning into a performance career. This performance was particularly formidable because Pandit Das expected them to include upaj, or spontaneous, non-choreographed dancing. This chapter explores the various types of improvisation found in kathak and methods by which kathak students practiced the skills needed to improvise. Finally, this chapter considers means by which Pandit Das inserted upaj and other forms of rhythmic spontaneity into the large-scale and largely choreographed productions expected by promoters, funders, and audiences.

Keywords:   kathak community, kathak solo, rite of passage, upaj, non-choreographed dancing, improvisation, rhythmic spontaneity, choreographed productions

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