CulturalFest Countdown: Meet Chhandam

The CulturalFest Performance Showcase on February 10 will feature 10 performing artists & groups who will share cultures from around the world on the Meany Hall stage. Read on to learn more about one of this year’s CulturalFest performers, Chhandam.


Tell us a little bit of your story.


Hi! We are Sonali Toppur and Niki Hazari, and we represent the Chhandam School of Kathak. Kathak emphasizes both the history and philosophy of India and its traditions through storytelling, while also bringing in elements of complex mathematics through our footwork and compositions. Both of us have been training under our Guruji, Pandit Chitresh Das, from a very young age – around 4 or 5 years old – and have been taught not only how to be engaging performers and artists, but also the importance of being good human beings. We are so grateful to have this experience, and to share the stage with so many other talented performers!



What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance? What do you hope they will learn about the culture that your performance represents?


We hope that the audience takes away a feeling of seeing something traditional, yet in a way that is enticing in the modern world. At Chhandam we dance for ourselves and to keep the legacy of the art form alive. This means it is constantly being molded and shaped by the world around us. We hope that the audience can walk away with the feeling that traditional Indian dance isn’t outdated, and that it is something to be celebrated!


Learn more about Chhandam School of Kathak on Facebook, and come see their performance on February 10!