Leela Samson (Bharatnatyam) - March 17, 2009

Leela Samson received the impulses for her growth as a dancer from Kalakshetra, the College of Arts in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She adheres to the mould of the Kalakshetra technique yet has grown out of its binding, believing as she does that adherence to any school is a point of reference only. She is however deeply influenced by Rukmini Devi, the founder of that institute and its philosophy.Leela joined Kalakshetra in 1961. She left the institute in 1975 as one of its leading dancers. Rukmini Devi’s passing away in February 1986, led to the creation of the Kalakshetra Foundation, on whose first board she served as a member for a three year term.

In 1975, Leela joined the Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi and started a department of bharata natyam there. She left the institute in 1990, and from then on for the next fifteen years she taught privately in the tradition of the guru-shishya parampara and trained several dancers who have subsequently graced the Delhi stage with their particular sense of grace, knowledge and adherence to the best traditions of the Kalakshetra bani or school.

As a dancer, her seemingly understated delineation conceals a powerful and inspired inner source, which gradually unfolds before the viewer. She is a virtuoso performer and sensitive interpreter of the nuances of this form. She enjoys the reputation of being a dancer who has excellent form in nritta and who has sensitive abhinaya, as well. Leela has travelled extensively and performed at leading festivals of dance. She is widely acclaimed as a leading soloist of the bharata natyam style of dance. For thirty years she held the stage in Delhi both as a dancer and as a teacher, as a writer and as a choreographer of substance.