Calcutta to California: Sowing an American Lineage of Kathak Dance with Rachna Nivas

Rachna Nivas talks about her experiences as an artist, choreographer, educator, and entrepreneur of Indian classical dance. Deemed a “charismatic” and “revelatory” performer by the San Francisco Chronicle, Nivas is the cofounder of the Leela Dance Collective, producing powerful works through the collective creativity of trailblazing women in Kathak dance, and codirector of the Bay Area–based Chhandam School of Kathak, one of the world’s leading institutions of classical Indian dance, art, and culture for the past thirty-eight years. Nivas was principal dancer with the internationally touring Chitresh Das Dance Company for fifteen years and received two nominations for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. She is currently touring her latest collaborative work, Speak, bringing together leading women in Kathak and tap dance and bridging Indian and African American art and heritage.

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