“In his words, ‘Life and death are the only reality. You come alone, you go alone. Only thing to do in between is practice and do whatever you do with love’,” it said. Pandit Das maintained a vigorous performing schedule at the academy. The school now has its affiliates worldwide.
In 1970, he received a Whitney Fellowship through the University of Maryland to teach Kathak, and the following year Ali Akbar Khan invited him to be an instructor at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California.
Pandit Das learned both the percussive and sensual elements of Kathak, including the solo tradition in which a dancer is required to go on stage without any prior rehearsal and execute improvised rhythms, compositions, and storytelling for two to three hours. “It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2009 National Heritage Fellow Pandit Chitresh Das, Kathak dancer, choreographer, and educator from San Francisco, California,” the endowment said in a statement. Pandit Das is survived by his wife, Celine, his two daughters, Shivaranjani and Saadhvi. (PTI)