Kathak is one of eight distinct dance forms from ancient India, and it's characterized by very fast footwork, complex rhythms, lightening speed pirouettes and improvised play with musicians.
The story of Kathak coming to the United States owes a lot to a teacher named Chitresh Das. Das arrived here in 1971 and taught legions of enthusiastic Americans about the classical dance form native to Northern India.
The Leela Dance Collective formed shortly after Das died in 2015, and today, it continues to educate new dancers and entertain the public with works like Son of the Wind, which gets its San Francisco premiere this month at the ODC Theater, presented by the Chhandam School of Kathak.
Rachna Nivas, artistic director of the group along with Seibi Lee and Rina Mehta, says the piece is a family friendly emotional roller coaster. "It’s a great way to see every emotion possible from hate to greed fury honor jealousy to love all timeless concepts."
Son of the Wind, she says, also showcases the legacy of Chitresh Das.