Dancer-choreographer Chitresh Das dies at 70 

Dancer, choreographer, composer and educator Chitresh Das died Sunday of acute aortic dissection, a tear in the inner wall of the aorta. The San Rafael resident was 70.

The founder and manager of the Bay Area-based Chitresh Das Dance Company taught and promoted Kathak, an ancient form of Indian classical dance, and established the Chhandam School of Kathak in 1979 in California.

"His contribution to Kathak, to dance, to art, to India, to community, to humanity, and to life stretches across the globe," said a statement released by his school and troupe, which promised to continue his legacy.

Das grew up in his parents' dance school in Calcutta, India, studying Kathak traditions as a 9-year old, and gaining fame at 11 as a prodigy.

Called by the honorific names pandit or guruji, Das toured India, North America and Europe, acclaimed for his virtuosic footwork and compelling storytelling. His innovations included Kathak Yoga, a confluence of dance and meditation. He also was a central figure in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.

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