Cover for MORELLI: A Guru’s Journey: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

A Guru’s Journey

Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora

The work and art of a dance master in America

An important modern exponent of Asian dance, Pandit Chitresh Das brought kathak to the United States in 1970. The North Indian classical dance has since become an important art form within the greater Indian diaspora. Yet its adoption outside of India raises questions about what happens to artistic practices when we separate them from their broader cultural contexts.

A Guru's Journey provides an ethnographic study of the dance form in the San Francisco Bay Area community formed by Das. Sarah Morelli, a kathak dancer and one of Das’s former students, investigates topics in teaching, learning, and performance that developed around Das during his time in the United States. In modifying kathak’s form and teaching for Western students, Das negotiates questions of Indianness and non-Indianness, gender, identity, and race. Morelli lays out these discussions for readers with the goal of deepening their knowledge of kathak aesthetics, technique, and theory. She also shares the intricacies of footwork, facial expression in storytelling, and other aspects of kathak while tying them to the cultural issues that inform the dance.

"Morelli's book is deeply researched and a significant addition to dance studies. . . . Highly recommended." --Choice

"Recounting a story that extends over the course of decades and across the globe, A Guru's Journey charts the impact of mobility on kathak dance as well as the embodied impact of this rapidly changing dance style across multiple dimensions of time and space. Morelli has crafted a narrative filled with powerful historical, biographical, and musical insights while also capturing the human dimensions of musical performance and transmission. An exciting contribution to the ethnomusicological literature and a striking study of issues surrounding migration, ethnicity, and gender."--Kay Kaufman Shelemay, author of Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World, Third Edition

"Novel, original, and impressive. A story of the dance and one of its most important personalities, and an important book for all interested in the diaspora of Indian and Eastern arts."--George E. Ruckert, author of Music in North India: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

A supplemental companion website with videos is now available for readers of A Guru’s Journey.

Publication of this book is supported by grants from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and the AHSS Book Publication Support Fund and from the AMS 75 PAYS Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sarah Morelli is an associate professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Denver and a performing kathak artist.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Becoming Beautiful - Cover
Becoming Beautiful

Ballroom Dance in the American Heartland

Joanna Bosse

Stunning Males and Powerful Females - Cover
Stunning Males and Powerful Females

Gender and Tradition in East Javanese Dance

Christina Sunardi

Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham - Cover
Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham

Dances in Literature and Cinema

Hannah Durkin

Moving Consciously - Cover
Moving Consciously

Somatic Transformations through Dance, Yoga, and Touch

Edited with Essays by Sondra Fraleigh

Arousing Sense - Cover
Arousing Sense

Recipes for Workshopping Sensory Experience

Tomie Hahn

Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics - Cover
Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics

Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance

Phil Jamison

Ring Shout, Wheel About - Cover
Ring Shout, Wheel About

The Racial Politics of Music and Dance in North American Slavery

Katrina Dyonne Thompson

Global Tarantella - Cover
Global Tarantella

Reinventing Southern Italian Folk Music and Dances

Incoronata Inserra

Dancing Revolution - Cover
Dancing Revolution

Bodies, Space, and Sound in American Cultural History

Christopher J. Smith

Back to the Dance Itself - Cover
Back to the Dance Itself

Phenomenologies of the Body in Performance

Edited with Essays by Sondra Fraleigh

Hot Feet and Social Change - Cover
Hot Feet and Social Change

African Dance and Diaspora Communities

Edited by Kariamu Welsh, Esailama G. A. Diouf, and Yvonne Daniel

Anthropology and the Dance - Cover
Anthropology and the Dance

Ten Lectures (2d ed.)

Drid WIlliams