Over 40 years ago, renowned kathak master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das founded the Chhandam School of Kathak and Chitresh Das Dance Company. Das taught many generations of professional artists and brought the art form to thousands of students and audience members in San Francisco and around the globe. His visionary and innovative approach to the art established kathak on the world stage and created a unique pedagogy and training approach for new generations of dancers. After his passing in 2015, his senior disciples and a dedicated board shepherded the organization’s transition, setting the stage for its next phase. In 2021, Chhandam, with this proud history, came together with its sister schools in Los Angeles, Denver, and New York under the banner of Leela Institute of Kathak. Together as Leela, we are proud to continue Das’s legacy into the future with great respect – staying true to the tradition of kathak and advancing the art form.
Read more about our History
Read more about our Lineage
Leela San Francisco provides a wide range of world class programming to students and audiences throughout the Bay Area and across the country.
Our Academy offers weekly classes for students of all ages and levels, as well as opportunities for more intensive studies such as workshops, summer camps and adult retreats. We are also proud to present traditional and innovative performances and productions by the critically acclaimed Leela Dance Collective. In addition, through the Leela Foundation, we are proud to be working to create the finaincial infrastructure necessary to ensure the viability of Indian classical dance and music far into the future.
Chitresh Das Dance Company
The Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) excited and enthralled audiences for more than 36 years. The company left an indelible mark on the field of kathak, manifesting the artistic genius and creativity of its founder Pandit Chitresh Das. From producing ground-breaking world-class productions, to garnering prestigious awards and critical acclaim, to being presented by major performing arts venues across the U.S. and India, the Chitresh Das Dance Company trailblazed a new path for people outside of India to gain an appreciation for the richness and depth of kathak dance.
Visit the CDDC Archive
Read more about Pandit Chitresh Das
Our Funders & Partners
Leela San Francisco is grateful to the foundations, government entities and corporations that support its work to enrich and elevate individuals and communities through dance and music.
|Bloomberg Foundation||National Endowment for the Arts|
|California Arts Council||Oakland Asian Cultural Center|
|Grants for the Arts||San Francisco Arts Council|
|National Dance Project||Zellerbach Foundation|
Kathak advocate Seibi Lee is a dynamic artist of exceptional mastery, sophisticated musicality, and dramatic brilliance. She is a leading disciple of kathak legend Pandit Chitresh Das, Co-Founder of the Leela Dance Collective, and Artistic Director of Leela San Francisco.
Seibi is respected internationally for her virtuosic character roles in major productions for the Chitresh Das Dance Company including Sita Haran’s Hanuman – beloved tribal prince – and Marich – tormented demon; Ramayana’s Mantara – scheming maidservant; and the electrifying Guru in Shiva. Her outstanding portrayal of Hanuman inspired Leela Dance Collective’s acclaimed Son of the Wind, presented at the Green Center 2017, Hollywood’s Ford Theatre, and Mumbai India’s Royal Opera House in 2019.
Recognized by The Alliance of California Traditional Arts in 2016 as a Master Artist, Seibi has mentored many generations of dancers, and with the support of the Haas Foundation she has created the mesmerizing solo work Houyi and Chang’e, a heart-rending tale of great heroism and of tragically star-crossed lovers.
Meet Our Team
649 Mission Street 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
” If you are looking for Bollywood dance, easy choreography, and simple steps move right along. However if you want to be part of a lineage that extends generations of Indian classical dancers, learn philosophy, mathematics, grace, discipline and the value and fulfillment of hard work, this is the place for you. “
– Minal D.
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