Biography

Charlotte Moraga began dancing at a very young age in Miami, Florida.  But, it wasn’t until she began her serendipitous study of kathak with Pandit Chitresh Das at SFSU in 1992 that she found her calling.   She was a principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company from 1996-2016 and was a featured principal dancer in his critically acclaimed works: Pancha Jati, East as Center, Darbar, Subali Sugriwa, Sampurnam, India Jazz Progressions, Sita Haran, Yatra, and Shiva.   Her 2014 performance in Yatra was described by Dance Critic Rita Felciano in DanceViewTimes as,  “…elevated to classical form by Charlotte Moraga's sense of perfection in the details and her extraordinary speed and precision in those pirouettes.”  In March, 2016, dance critic Allan Ulrich wrote of Charlotte’s performance as Shiva: “Her Shiva, seen only in silhouette behind a screen that suggested the Earth seen from an interstellar location, still mesmerized with its twisting grandeur.  Here, the appeal was universal.”

 

In 2002, Charlotte had her ganda bandhan on the banks of the river Ganga across from the Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Kolkata.  That same year she performed her first two hour long solo, “Passing the Torch” with live musical accompaniment, delving deeper into aspects of upaj (improvisation), and gat bhao (storytelling).

 

Since 2002, she has performed solo concerts in Kolkata, Mumbai, Pondicherry and Pune India,  and in many Classical Indian Dance and Music Festivals across the US. She continued to tour as a principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company to critical acclaim nationally and internationally.  

 

In 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote of her solo performance in Kathak at the Crossroads International Festival and Symposium, “Thursday night's triumph belonged to Charlotte Moraga, as fast and focused as an arrow, delighting the crowd with double turns that stopped on a dime.  She has technical virtuosity, but more importantly she has intention, and an intelligence that shapes every step.”

 

In 2007, Charlotte received the Shenson Performing Arts Fellowship.   With the help of this fellowship, Charlotte toured as a solo artist in South India, performing in Pondicherry, Madurai and Coimbature as well as Kolkata.   Also in 2007, Charlotte created and performed a duet in collaboration with tap dancer Chloe Arnold, “Sangam,” in Pandit Das' India Jazz Progressions.

 

A dance critic noted Charlotte’s dramatic ability in Pandit Das’ 2009 Sita Haran production in San Francisco, stating: “Sita Haran did have its star, Charlotte Moraga, in the role of the two villains, Ravan and Bali. ….into the world of the titans, her villains had grandeur, fierceness and a touch of the comic to them.  Moraga's was a major accomplishment."

 

In 2009, Charlotte was awarded a residency for CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora Program where she created original work based on the 12th century mystic poem, 'Conference of the Birds', in collaboration with composer and musician Prasant Radhakrishnan.  She also performed an excerpt of her work, A Conference in Nine,  at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for San Francisco’s 2013 Ethnic Dance Festival.  

 

Charlotte has dedicated her life to educating people about kathak, both as a performer, a choreographer, and a teacher.  She is largely responsible for development of the Chitresh Das Dance Company (CDDC) arts education programs in California schools. Charlotte has developed curriculum for Young Audiences of the Bay Area, KQED, and Cal Performances. In addition, Charlotte has given many lecture demonstrations at museums and universities throughout India and the US.  Her articles on kathak have been published in  Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, Dance USA e-journal, Narthaki, and Dancers Group's indance magazine.  

 

Charlotte was director of the Chhandam Youth Dance Company (CDYC) during its inaugural year, 2002.  In addition to choreographing pieces for CYDC, Charlotte was assistant to Pandit Das in various capacities and contributed choreography for many CDDC productions, including his last work, Shiva.   She is the current artistic director of the Chitresh Das Institute and the Chitresh Das Youth Company and still performs regularly.  She also currently teaches dance in the San Francisco Unified School District. 

© 2018 Charlotte Moraga

CHARLOTTE MORAGA

ckathak@yahoo.com

415. 533. 8779