The Dancer

Joins earth to sky

Leela Samson is a dancer, teacher, writer and choreographer of bharatanatyam. She has been deeply influenced by the visionary Rukmini Devi Arundale, who founded Kalakshetra, the premier academy of arts in Chennai.

Leela joined Kalakshetra as a young child and her formative years were spent imbibing the nuances of bharatanatyam and related arts at the feet of celebrated gurus. Over years of independent work, her dance has metamorphosed from representing the best of her alma mater into a unique personal expression, which is at once unostentatious, serene, philosophical and joyful.

A well-loved and respected teacher, Leela has also trained several students who are now accomplished dancers and teachers in their own right. In 1995, she formed a group called Spanda, to explore group dynamics in bharatanatyam.

Leela has been the subject of two documentary films, Sanchari and The Flowering Tree. She has also authored several articles as well as two books, Rhythm in Joy (1987) and Rukmini Devi: A Life (2010).

She is the recipient of several honours, from the Padmashri and Kalaimamani to the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Sanskriti awards. Leela has served as Director of the Kalakshetra Foundation, as Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi as well as of the Central Board of Film Certification.

Leela lives in Chennai, where she continues to dance, choreograph, teach and write.