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Come prepared to dance from your eyebrows to your toes! Chhandika offers classes at a variety of levels and locations. If you have a large group in an area that is interested in starting its own class, please contact us.

Wear clothes that allow freedom of movement, such as: salwar/kurta outfits, short-sleeves or long sleeves (rather than sleeveless); skirt with leggings or tights underneath; sweat or loose stretch pants; tunic top, long shirt or long t-shirt. Hair needs to be pinned or tied back so it does not cover the face or become distracting while dancing. Kathak is danced barefoot.

C L A S S E S   F O R   A D U L T S / Y O U T H   ( A G E S   1 2   A N D   U P )
Kathak Basics—Beginners and Level I Classes
Kathak Development—Mixed Level Classes
Kathak Repertoire and Training—Mixed Levels Classes
Kathak Dance—Performance Ensemble
Kathak Teacher Training

C L A S S E S   F O R   C H I L D R E N
Kathak Preparations—Girls/Boys ages 4-6
Kathak Foundations—Girls/Boys ages 6-10
Kathak Mixed Levels – Girls/Boys ages 8-11

P R I V A T E   L E S S O N S
Available by arrangement.
Pre-requisite: minimum of one year study with Chhandika.

Kathak Basics—Beginnners and Level I Classes
These beginner classes give students a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of kathak dance including: pranam, tatkar and various step/footwork patterns, kharanths (stances), tal (rhythmic structures, recitation, hastaks (hand gestures), chakkars (spins), abhinaya (expression) and bols (recitation of dance compositions). Elements of storytelling and music are included, along with information about the cultural influences and history of kathak. Students are given an initial introduction to the concept of Kathak Yoga.
No prerequisites.

Kathak Development—Mixed Levels Classes
These classes build upon the foundations learned in Basics, as students continue their studies of kathak. The focus is on the development of footwork and movement technique, rhythmic training, singing, history/theory, and abhinaya.
For students how have completed at least one year of Chhandika’s Basics classes.

Kathak Repertoire and Training—Mixed Levels Classes
The classes expand the dancers’ kathak bol and story-telling repertoire, while continuing to develop their strength, stamina, and technique. The element of upaj (improvisation) is brought in, and there is extensive focus on rhythmic and Kathak Yoga training. Students in this category will be expected to memorize the material given in class and will be required to maintain a practice outside of class.
For students who have a solid foundation in kathak, who have good technique and strong stamina, and who wish to take their kathak training seriously.

Kathak Dance—Performance Ensemble
By invitation only.

Kathak Teacher Training
By invitation only.

Kathak Preparations—Girls/Boys ages 4-6
These classes combine structure with playfulness to create and enjoyable environment for children to begin learning elements of classical kathak dance.
For students who are accepted based on parents’ discussion with Gretchen Hayden or Chhandika instructors.

Kathak Foundations—Girls/Boys ages 6-10
In these classes young students learn such fundamentals as: pranam, tatkar and footwork patterns, technique, rhythmic structures, recitation, hand gestures, stances, spins, facial expressions. Elements of storytelling and music are included, along with information about the cultural influences and history of kathak.
It is preferable if the student has completed Kathak Preparations. If a new student wishes to join, the instructor will consult with the parent to determine if she/he is eligible.

Kathak Mixed Levels – Girls/Boys ages 8-11
These are ongoing classes for young dancers, focusing on further development of footwork and movement technique, Kathak Yoga training, singing, history/theory, and storytelling.
For students who have completed at least two-three years of kathak studies with Chhandika or an affiliated school in California, Toronto, or India.

T E A C H I N G   P H I L O S O P H Y

"Kathak opens a gateway to knowledge. Access to this knowledge comes only through years of systematic study and practice in front of the teacher and alone with oneself."
– Pandit Chitresh Das

As has been passed down in the tradition, the basic principles of study embody the body, mind, and spirit of the dance.
Tayari (readiness) - the virtuosity of technique acquired through systematic practice.
Layakari - deep understanding and versatility of rhythm and timing.
Khubsurti and Nazakat (beauty and delicacy) - the aesthetics of the art and the refined subtlety of rendering expression.

"Dance in such a way that your dance becomes One with everything."
  – Pandit Ram Narayan Misra (guruji of Chitresh Das)

Each student learns the following aspects of the dance:
– Nritta (pure dance, technique): includes movement exercises, basic tatkar (footwork), chakkars (turns); rhythmic patterns and timing; recitation of the bols (language of the dance).
– Nritya (dance with rhythm and expression): use of interpretive gestures, expression, and rendering of traditional songs and poems.
– Natya (drama): learning the art of ï storytelling, the nava rasa (nine sentiments), working with ardhanariswara-shiva/shakti (masculine/feminine energies).

yato hasta stato drishti
yato drishti stato mana(ha)
yato mana stato bhavo
yato bhav stato rasa

Wherever go the hands, so follows the gaze of the eyes
Wherever go the eyes, so follows the attunement of the mind
Wherever goes the mind, so follows the expression of feeling
Wherever goes the feeling, so follows the essence of mood.


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