www.artindia.net is privileged to present this page on Leela Samson as part of its series on outstanding artists of India.
Leela Samson is among India's most dynamic and technically brilliant dancers, an outstanding representative of Kalakshetra, the famed institute for the classical arts founded by the late Rukmini Devi Arundale on the Chennai ocean front. Leela joined Kalakshetra as a young child and her formative years were spent in imbibing the nuances of Bharata Natyam and related arts at the feet of celebrated gurus. Over years of independent work, her dance has metamorphosed from the best of her alma mater into an exquisite personal expression.
Leela's performances are popular all over India and many countries of Europe, Africa and the Americas. Her personal style is unostentatious, serene and characterized by an impeccable technique that blends geometrical precision with vibrancy and an unfettered ease. Her rhythmic acumen is apparent in dance compositions containing varied and challenging percussion patterns.
Leela has choreographed a number of group and solo compositions in Bharata Natyam. One of her major choreographic productions, Spanda, was performed to high critical and audience acclaim and hailed as a seminal work. She has trained many accomplised students who are now teachers in their own right. She has authored several articles as well as the book, Rhythm in Joy.
Among the many honours conferred on her, Leela Samson was awarded the prestigious Padmashri by the President of India in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the art of Bharata Natyam as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award instituted by the apex cultural body of the Government of India.
She is at present (as on 2008) is the Director of Kalakshetra, Chennai, founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale and also the Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi.
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