Charlotte began dancing at the age of 9 and was formerly a professional Jazz dancer. Her first encounter with Kathak was with Pandit Das' course at San Francisco State University in 1991. Now a senior disciple, she is a senior instructor at the Chhandam School of Kathak Dance. She has toured internationally as a principal dancer with CDDC as well as an accomplished solo artist for over 20 years. Critics have called her performances, “…brilliant…” and “dazzling...” She has received many awards, such as the San Francisco Foundation’s Shenson Fellowship in 2007 and the prestigious Performing Diaspora residency. Charlotte has written several published articles about Kathak.
Chhandam School Co-Director, Chhandam Youth Dance Company Director, & Senior Teacher
Seibi began her Kathak studies in Toronto, Canada in 1991. She relocated to the Bay Area in 1998 to study directly with Panditji. Today, she is a senior teacher and Co-Director of Chhandam School of Kathak, managing over 500 students and 15 teachers. As a member of CDDC and an acclaimed soloist, she has earned rave reviews for her dual dramatic roles of demon Marich and beloved monkey prince Hanuman in Panditji's world premiere of "Sita Haran" in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Kolkata, India. In Novemeber of 2008, she presented her debut full length solo performance at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and has been chosen as OACC's artist-in-residence for 2012-2013. Seibi embodies the depth of Panditji’s training and has emerged as a powerful force in the next generation of Kathak artists.
Seibi received her BS from the University of Alberta and a BS and MS in Music Performance at the University of Toronto. She is a classically trained symphonic harpist.
Chhandam School Co-Director & Fremont, Cupertino, & Chhandam Youth Dance Company Teacher
Rachna begain studying with Pandit Das in 1998 and has performed extensively as a solo artist and as a CDDC member to critical acclaim at prestigious venues all over the U.S. and India. She is a senior instructor and co-director of Chhandam School of Kathak, managing the operations of over 500 students and 15 teachers. Rachna's vision is to raise awareness of the rich history and philosophy of India through Kathak and for it to be a tool for empowerment, social justice, and self-realization. She brings a fierce passion to her performances and has pioneered the use of harmonium in Pandit Das' innovation of Kathak Yoga.
Rachna holds a B.A. in South Asian Studies from UC Berkeley, and a Masters in Public Health from San Jose State University. Prior to becoming a dancer full-time, she worked in health education for undeserved low-income Asian Americans.
Fremont Branch & Chhandam Youth Dance Company Teacher
Antara began her study of Kathak with Pandit Das at the age of nine. She has performed solos and toured with CDDC in the U.S. and India - including performances at the International Kathak Festival of Chicago, the National Centre for Performing Arts, and Kathak Kendra, India's national institution of Kathak dance. In addition, Antara is an accomplished musical accompanist – trained vocally by Smt. Shweta Jhaveri. She has accompanied CDDC and her Guru, Pandit Das vocally.
Antara studied Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley and was trained in film studies at the New York Film Academy. She was assistant director for acclaimed director Jagmohan Mundhra and directed her own feature film, Telling Lies. Most recently, she produced Upaj, a documentary featuring Pandit Das & Jason Samuels Smith.
Doli began her Kathak training in 2003 and performed with CDDC at the Traditions Engaged festival in San Francisco. She plays an instrumental role in Chhandam’s biennial school productions, such as the Ramayana. Doli brings her experience as a math professor to her teaching and is intensely involved with the standardization of curriculum and examinations at Chhandam.
Doli holds a BS (UCSD) & MS in Mathematics and a MS in Computer Science (UCSB). She is currently a professor of Mathematics at De Anza College, where she has been teaching since 2002. Doli is also a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer, having studied for 8 years.
Berkeley Branch Teacher
Cimi began her study of Kathak with Pandit Chitresh Das at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1999. She has performed with the Chitresh Das Dance Company in such productions as Sampurnam and Sita Haran and is embarking on the journey towards her first traditional Kathak solo. She has also been a teaching assistant direclty to Pandit Das' first accredited Kathak course at SFSU for several semesters.
Fremont Branch Teacher
Darlene started her Kathak study in 2001 at SFSU in Pt. Das’ accredited Kathak course and has been teaching at Chhandam since 2005. She has performed in such CDDC performances as Darbar and Sita Haran and also performs in arts education performances at Bay Area Schools.
She worked for 5 years as a full time staff member of CDDC as Administrative Manager. She has also worked in the field of SF performing arts: i.e. SF Mime, Golden Thread, BK Repertory Theatre. She is thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic, far reaching organization that is dedicated toward preserving the art of Kathak at its highest standard.
Preeti joined the Chhandam School of Kathak in 2003 and has been involved at many levels within the school. She has been teaching at Chhandam since 2007 and has performed in various school productions like the Ramayana.
Outside of Chhandam, Preeti works in project management. She continues to be amazed by the physcial and mental challenges and the ensuing rewards of the beautiful art form of Kathak. She also holds a BS in Civil and MS in Transportation Engineering and has worked as project manager in the Digital Navigational Maps field.
Ritu first began her training with Pt. Chitresh Das in 2004. She has been extremely involved in the organization, performing in productions such as Darbar, and other community performances in the Bay Area.
Ritu attended UC Berkeley, where she studied Rhetoric and Social Welfare. She went on to pursue her MBA at UCLA and currently works in management at Nestle.
Berkeley Branch Director & Teacher
Poonam began her training in Kathak in 2007 at Chhandam. She has been involved with several Arts Education performances and community performances throughout the Bay Area. Recently she was a part of CDDC's Darbar. Poonam is currently the Administrative Branch Director and an Instructor at the Berkeley branch of Chhandam. She is also the Program Coordinator for Chhandam's exemplary Arts Education Program that focuses on bringing the rich art form of Kathak to the students of Bay Area schools. She is passionate about sharing the art form of Kathak to diverse audiences and especially enjoys working with kids in the classroom.
Poonam is trained in Architecture and Urban Planning with ten years of professional experience working on national and international projects and currently runs an independent consulting practice.
Farah Yasmeen Shaikh
Mountain View & Cupertino Branch Director & Teacher
Farah Yasmeen Shaikh has been trained by Pandit Das since 1996. She has performed and toured with CDDC and as a Kathak soloist throughout the U.S. and India. Her performance experience includes the American Dance Festival at Duke Universiry, the National Center for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India, Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
A senior instructor at the Chhandam School of Kathak, Farah is also the Branch Director of the Mountain View & Cupertino Branches, and has served as Pandit Das' teaching assistant at San Francisco State University and Stanford University. Farah has also taught classes and given numerous lecture demonstrations and master classes at elementary schools throughout the U.S., the Oakland School of the Arts, St. Mary's College, San Francisco State University, and the San Mateo Parks and Recreations Department.
Farah's grants and awards include the CA$H Grant in 2006, 2009, and 2013, the Master-Apprentice Grant from ACTA in 2007, and in 2009, the prestigious Shenson Peroforming Arts Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation, based on her artistic merit and her potential for future excellence and impact in the field of Kathak dance. Farah is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Dancers' Group in San Francisco.