Children & Youth
The Leela Academy’s children and youth division provides students ages 5-17 with access to a range of programs that foster creativity, build foundational skills in kathak dance and provide extensive cultural education.
The Leela Academy’s year-round program provides age-appropriate, standards-based education in kathak for children and youth ages 5 to 17. Students receive foundational training in kathak dance technique as well as supplemental training in Hindustani classical music. The academy’s curriculum also provides in-depth education in the historical, philosophical and cultural context that surrounds the dance. As students advance, they have the opportunity to study and train at the pre-professional level with some of today’s leading Indian classical dance and music artists. Take a look at our FAQ for more information.
Every summer, the Leela Academy hosts a week-long camp for children ages 5-12. The camp provides children with the opportunity to study kathak dance and Hindustani classical music in an immersive environment with some of the world’s most renowned artists and educators. The camp is held in California and proudly hosts students from across the country.
Each year the Leela Academy hosts a youth summit for children ages 13-17. The summit provides students with immersive learning experiences in kathak dance and Hindustani classical music as well as leadership development training. Participants at the youth summit engage with critical issues ranging from identity, immigration, gender and more while developing core leadership skills such as public speaking, team facilitation, debate and advocacy and more.
Leela Youth Dance Company
Young students who demonstrate exceptional abilities and who approach their study with self-drive, commitment, and a desire to pursue excellence, are recommended to audition for the Leela Youth Dance Company (LYDC).
LYDC is an elite pre-professional troupe, ages 12-18, under the tutelage and artistic direction of internationally renowned kathak artist, Rachna Nivas, and Assistant Director, Ahana Mukherjee. The program champions excellence in dance, youth leadership, and creative discovery. Students rigorously train 5 hours/week in addition to home practice. LYDC has performed nationally in numerous prestigious venues and festivals, including the WorldWideWomen’s Girl’s Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Symphony Hall alongside students of the San Francisco Ballet, Philadelphia Youth Festival, International Kathak Festival in Chicago, and many others. LYDC also serves as a platform for teens to become advocates and rising young leaders in the arts and to be a part of a global movement to elevate and keep relevant Kathak and classical Indian art.
My girls have been attending the Leela dance academy for the past 5 years. Rina ji and the other teachers are amazing. This is one of the few schools of classical Indian dance that stays true to the form. They spend a tremendous amount of time teaching and perfecting the art. The kids have done many performances through the past years, including many on the professional stage. My kids will continue to attend this school due to the high integrity and care the have.
— Seema P., Los Angeles, CA
Leela Dance Collective is a great Institute. I was searching for a good kathak class for my daughter when I came across their Online Workshop post on Instagram and Facebook. I immediately enrolled my daughter there and I would say we were happy and fully satisfied with the classes and workshops. Ria Das Gupta and Rina Mehta are awesome teachers. I strongly recommend Leela Dance Collective to everyone who is interested in Kathak.
— Anjana S., Greensboro, NC
My daughter and I began attending virtual classes after the shutdown and have been so impressed by the quality of teaching. We’re not only learning how to dance kathak but also the proper practice, terminology, and even history. Even though we’re just beginners, these world-class teachers treat us with such respect as though we’re actual performers, honing in on the details of our movement, practice, and expression.
— Deepa P., Seal Beach, CA