In The Community
At the heart of Rachna’s work is community organizing, grassroots engagement, and deep mentorship of both youth and adults – passing the oral tradition to the next generations of dancers, leaders, patrons, and supporters of kathak and Indian classical art as a whole. Her passion and commitment to her own journey of the art and to building pride of Indian classical art amongst the South Asian community has led her to emerge as a powerful role model amongst the Indian diaspora. In particular, Rachna has exceptional talent in teaching and training youth, making the art relevant, inspiring, and empowering to girls. She is the Artistic Director of Leela Youth Dance Company, shepherding excellence, leadership, and creative discovery amongst teens. She is also senior faculty member of Leela Academy and in 2021 re-located from the Bay Area to New York City to build the New York chapter of Leela ad bring the teachings of her lineage for the first time to the greater New York metropolitan area.
Rachna was also instrumental in building the Chhandam School of Kathak in San Francisco (founded by Pandit Chitresh Das in 1980). Pandit Das himself appointed Rachna to be Co-Director of the Chhandam School in 2009 (along with Seibi Lee). Rachna worked tirelessly under Pandit Das to institutionalize curriculum, build infrastructure, train teachers, direct school-wide dance dramas, and flourish the school into one of the world’s leading and most influential academies of North Indian classical dance. Rachna has also taught numerous kathak workshops, after-school programs, and outreach events/residencies to communities of all backgrounds, including at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Treme Center of New Orleans, Conservatory of Arts in Miami, Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, LA Tap Fest at Debbie Allen Dance Academy, National Center for Kathak Dance in New Delhi, and teaching children of sex-workers with New Light Foundation in Kolkata, India.