Friday, June 16, 2006

American Dance Festival: Rhythm Suites: Kathak & Tap Dance

Tonight my wife and I going with my parents and two friends to the third performance coming to the American Dance Festival, Rhythm Suites: Kathak & Tap Dance featuring Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith. We went to the first Festival of the Feet in 2004 (it was one of the very first ADF performances for my wife) and were amazed at how Tap, Flamenco, and Kathak dancers performed separately and then together. The finale had dancers performing to permutations of musicians from the other styles, and it gave to me a strong message of understanding, peace, and bridge building. Last year's Festival of the Feet II was good but not as inspiring. We're excited about seeing what's in store for us this year!

From the ADF site:

After meeting during the ADF’s 2004 Festival of the Feet program, Kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das and Emmy Award-winning Tap dance star Jason Samuels Smith have joined together to explore the complex rhythms and movement between North Indian classical Kathak and American Tap dance. “It all works because the dance forms share two things: a history of improvisation and a veneration for past masters” (San Francisco Chronicle). Featuring North Indian classical and American jazz musicians, the piece is an exploration of movement, rhythms and music between two dynamic artists of diverse cultures.

No surprise, we enjoyed ourselves! We were happy that my parents had a good experience, as well, at this, their first ADF show.

I do think that the very first Festival of the Feet was the best, but seeing Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels ply their talents separately and together is thrilling. We were amazed to hear that Chitresh Das is, I believe, in his 60s - he certainly looks younger. We enjoyed the post-performance discussion and in particular hearing Chitresh describe how both the artists' work was delving deep into their respective traditions and not simply creating a passing moment of fusion.


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