Kathak


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Seibi Lee

Seibi Lee is a dynamic Kathak artist known for her exceptional mastery, sophisticated musicality, and dramatic brilliance. Currently, Seibi is Co-Artistic Director and principal soloist with the Chitresh Das Dance Company and senior instructor at Chhandam School of Kathak. She is a leading disciple of the iconic Kathak legend Pandit Chitresh Das. Seibi has toured around the world earning great respect and accolades for her virtuosic character roles including the demon Marich and the beloved monkey prince Hanuman in Das’s critically-acclaimed, Sita Haran. Most recently, she electrified audiences with her fierce portrayal of the Guru in Das’s Shiva. Seibi has evolved to create her own unique and compelling expression of this significant art form and has mesmerized audiences with her unique solo creation Houyi and Chang’e, a heart-rending tale of great heroism and of star crossed lovers.

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Rina Mehta

Rina Mehta began studying Kathak under internationally renowned Kathak master and guru, Pandit Chitresh Das in 2000. Since joining the Chitresh Das Dance Company shortly after, she has performed in such critically-acclaimed productions such as Pancha Jati, Shabd, and Sita Haran. She has received the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant and twice been nominated for an Isodara Duncan Dance Award for Company performance as part of the Chitresh Das Dance Company. She has performed as a soloist and with the company at such prestigious venues/festivals nationally and in India as REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater), Meany Hall for Performing Arts (University of Washington), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA’s World Festival of Sacred Music, National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, and the Shaniwarwada Dance Festival in Pune. Rina Mehta’s original works include Chandanbala, the classic Jain story interpreted through the Kathak tradition and Speak, collaboration with Rachna Nivas (kathak) and tap dancers Michelle Dorrance and Dormeisha Sumbry-Edwards.

Rina is the Executive Producer of UPAJ, a documentary on Pt. Chitresh Das’ groundbreaking collaboration with tap star Jason Samuels Smith, India Jazz Suites.

Rina Mehta is a 2013 Fulbright Scholar in Kathak dance. She received her Bachelor of Arts in immunology and her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Rachna Nivas

Rachna Nivas is a leader in Indian classical dance, bringing a relevant and crucial voice to kathak. She was principal dancer at the Chitresh Das Dance Company for 15 years, performing in award winning productions throughout the U.S. and India, receiving two nominations for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Deemed “charismatic” and “revelatory” as a soloist by the San Francisco Chronicle, Rachna is a fierce and passionate performer. As former Director of the legendary master Pandit Chitresh Das’ academy, she was instrumental in building a premiere arts training institution. Today, she is a senior artist and leader at the Leela Institute for the Arts and is one of the most sought-after teachers in kathak dance. She performs and teaches around the world, splitting her time between San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Mumbai, India. As an arts advocate, Rachna is also dedicated to raising awareness of the rich history and philosophy of India through kathak, and for it to be a tool for empowerment and social justice. She is currently touring her latest collaborative work SPEAK, bringing together leading women in kathak and tap - a cross-cultural expression of identity, gender, race, and heritage.

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Seema Mehta

A born artist, Seema graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, USA with Bachelors of Fine Art (BFA) specializing in painting and sculpture. She has been training under renowned Kathak maestro Pandit Chitresh Das since 2000. Her lineage dates back to the great Gurus of the Lucknow and Jaipur gharanas. Seema’s style therefore strikes an admirable balance between the two styles, the subtle and graceful versus the warrior like vigour through powerful footwork and chakkars. Her performing career began in 2003 at the San Francisco State University. She is an expert practitioner and performer of Kathak Yoga- Chitresh Das’s innovation within the Kathak tradition. Seema performs Kathak Yoga by dancing complex compositions while singing and playing the harmonium.

Seema is the Director of Chhandam Nritya Bharati-India where she teaches over 100 students in Mumbai and Kolkata. She has worked with the children of Kolkata’s red light areas, the New Light Project in particular empowering them through Kathak. She also teaches children from the Akanksha and SMILE Foundations in Mumbai. Going beyond the traditional preview of dance, Seema’s vision is to touch lives through her work. Seema is the Creative Director at Kirtilals.