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Sruti- The India Music and Dance Society

Leela Samson and the Kalakshetra Repertory Company in Kalakshetra Bharatanatyam: Past & Present in group and solo works

Sunday, October 09, 2011. 5 P.M.

Pearson Hall Theatre,
Lang Performing Arts Center of Swarthmore College,
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081
View Map

For information: www.sruti.org,
email: srutiphila@gmail.com
Admission: Book Tickets online at sruti.tix.com or at the gate
Members: $65, $40, $30
Non-Members: $75, $50, $35
Students/Seniors: $25 (General Admission Section)
Children 3 and under are admitted free of charge


About the Kalakshetra Repertory Company:
Spanda The Kalakshetra repertory company comprises of select staff, students and alumni of Kalakshetra. Since the early years of the institution in the forties, the company has performed to wide acclaim around the world and continues to uphold the highest standards of performance. Each member of the Kalakshetra repertory company is an     accomplished and creative solo performer, a result of the rigorous theoretical and practical arts training they receive at Kalakshetra. These artists combine as the Kalakshetra Repertory Company to present riveting programs of Indian classical dance and music. Their repertoire includes mythology based dance-dramas, classical and contemporary Bharatanatyam compositions, as well as programs of the varied folk dances of India.
The group was founded by Rukmini Devi whose dance dramas form the bulk of the Kalakshetra repertoire. Kalakshetra productions have come to be recognized worldwide for their impeccable technique and aesthetic. Senior dancers and musicians of the institute continued to add to the already vast repertoire. The most recent addition to the dance-dramas of the company is 'Dasaru Kanda Krishna' and ‘Spanda’ choreographed by Leela Samson, the current director of Kalakshetra that has been successfully performed several times to an encouraging response.
The Kalakshetra repertory company is a historic group, anchored and guided by the leadership of former members of the group, many of whom serve on the board or in the faculty of Kalakshetra, their alma mater. The group is constantly rejuvenated through the energetic participation and inspired performances of young dancers and musicians who form the majority of its performers. Today, the Kalakshetra repertory company is committed to presenting artistic excellence in dance and music, both inside the campus in Chennai, India, and in its performance engagements around the world.
The dancers who will be accompanying Ms. Leela Samson on the US tour are established solo performers. They have all completed their post graduate diplomas from Kalakshetra Foundation and are currently employed as artists in the Kalakshetra Repertory. All of them are artistes who have performed in prominent festivals in India & abroad.

KP Rakesh
Girish Madhu
Viraja Arvind
KR Sreenath
VK Ramya
Sruthy Jayan
KV Arun
Christopher Gurusamy
View Trailer of Dance Presentation

About Leela Samson:
Spanda Leela Samson received the impulses for her growth as a dancer from Kalakshetra, the College of Fine Arts in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She adheres to the mould of the Kalakshetra technique yet grew 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 lead 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.
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. Leela has traveled extensively and performed at leading festivals of dance. Two significant documentary films have been made on Leela Samson – ‘Sanchari’ by Arun Khopkar and ‘The Flowering Tree’ by Ein Lall.
Leela is the recipient of the Sanskriti Award in 1982, the Padmashri Award in 1990, the Nritya Choodamani Award in 1997 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000.
In March 2005, she was offered the opportunity to head her alma mater, a responsibility she accepted. She took over as Director of the Kalakshetra Foundation on 6th May 2005.
In August 2010, she was appointed Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi by the President of India.
In April 2011, the Central Government appointed her as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification.

View Video Segment of Leela Samson- Part 1
View Video Segment of Leela Samson- Part 2

About Spanda:
‘Spanda’, ‘a vibration’ is symbolic of the enduring and perpetual energy that is the life force of the universe. It incorporates the philosophical concept of Prithvi as the centre and source of energy in the universe and equates it with the nabham, the womb as the origin of energy in the human body.
The rediscovery of the basic movements of Bharatanatyam and the need for a reinterpretation of its traditional vocabulary challenges Spanda. Spanda seeks to establish a more relevant dialogue between dance, music and stagecraft.
Spanda-Matrika’ :
reduces movement to its essence. It is a journey inwards seeking the essential ‘centre’, the origin of movement and its source of strength through the adavus of the bharata natyam style. On one level, it attempts to internalise the consciousness of the dancer towards the particular movement rather than on the composition of the whole. On the other, no dancer is whole in the composition without every other. Much like life, the dancer is made conscious of the energy she brings to the group and how that enhances the whole.
Spanda Matrika is based on the Panchajatis: chatushram, tishram, mishram, khandam and sankeernam.
Composer: Shri O.S.Arun
Aakash’ :
‘Who would breathe, who would live,
If there were not this bliss in space’

Aakash attempts an exploration of the concept of space. Using slokas from the Vedas, the dancer discovers it, explores it, celebrates it – through movement. Aakash is the universe. Its garbha is Prithvi, the earth. All life emanates from this centre, explores outwards, interacting constantly with space – which surrounds it, nurtures it, gives it form and being. The life-force of the dancer is the nabha – from this centre, all movement emanates.
Composer: Shri Madhup Mudgal
Charishnu’ :
is indicative of the intent or desire to move. It is an expression of the joy of ‘journeying’. Every individual, animal, or nation - journeys in a manner typical of his own nature.  We move in different ways, in different directions, at a differing pace. What is exciting is the dynamics of this movement happening differently, at the same time. It is the physics of the constellations. It is the happening of creation.
Making use of the nadais, Charishnu simply enjoys what it is doing.
Composer: Shri Madhup Mudgal and sung by the choir of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya

The choreography for ‘Spanda’ is by Ms. Leela Samson.