Instead of wandering aimlessly in the world, should I not see the Lord of Chidambaram who is praised by the world?
Papanasam Sivan ‘Kanavendamo’
Leela Samson in a solo Bharatanatyam presentation at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya’s performance space Sannidhi, as part of the centenary year of the founder late Vinayachandra Maudgalya, proved how dance, as a highly evolved and internalized statement of faith and commitment, endorsements. It just is – as the mixed gathering of art lovers from various fields understood and expressed through enthusiastic appreciation. Now at the peak of her performing form, the evolved interpretative dance, with a trim body still able to hold immaculate line and movement profile, makes Leela Samson’s Bharatanatyam incisively communicative.
The Hindu, 15 August 2014
Accompanied by a superb group of musicians, Leela Samson gave a transcendent Bharatanatyam recital that left the audience in raptures. Performing better than she ever has, Leela Samson’s recital for the Music Academy Festival illustrated that no amount of youth and acrobatic virtuosity can measure up to what years of an immersed lifetime journeying in the art, can bestow. Accompanied by a superb group of musicians, seated at an angle on the pedestal facing the audience and visible to them, the trim dancer, in greater form than ever, gave a transcendent Bharatanatyam recital leaving the audience in raptures.
Through the Thodi, Mohanam, Vasanta, Devamanohari, Sankarabharam, Saranga, Kanada, Arabhi and Bhairavi musical statements, where intense emotions never resorted to overstatement, the varnam reached a climax in the Sankarabharam line offering total homage to the Lord. The dancer had become the dance.
From Leela’s non-invasive neat announcements from backstage, to every moment of the recital, never did the individual override the art. In the face of the saying that comparisons are odious, this was one of the highest moments of the festival projections in the Academy this year.
The Hindu, 9 January 2014
In a rare appearance for Narada Gana Sabha’s ‘Isai-Natya-Nataka-Vizha’, [Leela] treated rasikas to a style of dance that was replete with visual imagery, sophistication and understatement. …Dressed in a beautiful magenta and orange costume with subdued pink brocade to set it off, Leela epitomised the sophistication she believed in.
The Hindu, 19 December 2008
The contemplative dancer points us away from herself. She puts dignity, grace and inwardness above all. She says don’t look at me; look beyond me at the sublimity of the art that I practise. It is an old art but it allows me to distil my life’s experience into it and so make it my own. …Samson’s delineation of the feminine and masculine principles of creation in the Ardhanarishwar stotram…was a perfect example of her quiet style. The exaggerated depictions of contrast that we are used to seeing in Ardhanarishwara suggest that creation is an outcome of fission. Samson’s subtle delineation of the contrast suggested that it was an outcome of the harmonious fusion of two vital forces.
The Times of India
Leela Samson’s Bharathanatyam performance at the Music Academy was a comprehensive treat of artistic excellence, expression and communication… Through distinctive modes of body language, gestures, costume and interpretation of rasas and sthayi bhavas and their coming together in samyoga, a state of Ananda was created by her.
The Hindu, 20 December 2002
How did Leela weave this magic circle of sorcery, sucking into her orbit every viewer in the packed hall? …by totally learning the tradition and then by unlearning it. So “Antarmukhi”…gave you a glimpse of territories no one had ever visited before. Or even knew they existed.
Shanta Serbjeet Singh
14 August 1999
Leela Samson’s soul-filling performance for the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha underlined a message that an audience does not need to be pampered by offers of classicism made easy to understand. Art in its heaviest manifestation when presented with integrity is bound to please…
A hardly ever rendered Chauka kalam varnam of fifty minutes composed by the quartet in Kalyani “Saami Nive Ani Nammiti”, and a singer like O.S. Arun…can make for a daunting combination for any dancer. But Leela…not only finds this a fine springboard for her own inspiration, but also carves out for herself space which holds the audience’s attention without being overshadowed by the singer’s virtuosity. It is because of the mutually inspiring and yet independent parallel artistic journeys…that the Varnam became a slow-spun heady delight in both the sung and the danced interpretations. …After being bombarded by so much speed in performances, this type of leisurely treatment which does not hesitate to linger over each moment of the musical narrative, with so much absorption, was a welcome change.
The Hindu, 1 January 1999
Leela Samson, a brilliant dancing jewel of Kalakshetra The nritta passages were excellent, the jathis precise and delivered with ease…. She lived her roles and was going through the feelings and emotions instead of acting so she looked very natural in her abhinaya.
The Indian Nation, 12 April 1981
Leela Samson, who took on the role of Sita, literally danced her way into the hearts of the audience. Her charming face reflected myriads of emotions, be it of bhakti, sringara or bhaya.
The National Herald, 17 April 1976