Community engagement is at the very heart of Leela Dance Collective’s work. Some of our most rewarding experiences as artists come from the residencies we participate in across the country, connecting us to youth, dancers of different genres, and people of all walks of life. Our arts education programs allow us to connect with thousands of young and curious students each year, and keep us grounded in diverse communities at the grassroots level.
Leela Dance Collective is proud to be a part of The Music Center on Tour (MCOT), a premiere arts education program, serving children and youth at K-12 schools accross the greater Los Angeles area.
Though music, dance, and storytelling, Leela’s school assemblies introduce students to the tradition of kathak dance and invite them to learn about the rich cultural heritage of India. The assemblies complement and enhance student learning in the classroom through meaningful curriculum connections and themes that carry across cultures and disciplines. Performances are accompanied by educator guides and supplemental activies for the classroom that deepen learning.
Together with MCOT’s internationally acclaimed roster of artists, the Leela Dance Collective works to inspire young people, enhance learning through the arts, and build community.
In partnership with presenting organizations around the country, Leela Dance Collective offers engaging residencies featuring a wide variety of programming. Through artist talks, workshops, lecture-demonstrations, and pre/post show discussions, the Collective invites diverse audiences into the world of kathak dance. Residencies enhance audience’s connection with the artform, and enlivening local communities including youth, seniors, families, and university students through unique pereforming arts experiences.
In addition to live performances and activities, Leela Dance Collective now offers a range of virtual events. Most recently the Collective participated in the SPEAK Virtual Residency, presented by the Page Theatre. Watch some of the artist talks featured at the residency:
A Page in History
A talk with Rina Mehta and Michelle Dorrance facilitated by Henna Patel
The Music of SPEAK
Featuring Jayanta Banerjee and Carmen Staaf
The Guru-Shishya Parampara
A discussion with Rachna Nivas
Women in Dance
Featuring Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia
Dance & Music Workshops
We are proud to offer workshops and master classes year-round in partnership with educational institutions, performing arts centers, and cultural and community groups that introduce audiences to kathak dance and Hindustani classical music. Our educational programming engages students of all ages and backgrounds, ranging from introductory classes for beginners with little to no dance and music experience to immersive workshops for aspiring artists across genres.
Leela Dance Collective boasts some of todays leading choreographers, composers, artists, and educators in the field of North Indian classical dance and music. They represent some of India’s most significant artistic lineages, making them relevant for contemporary audiences and future generations.
Meet our Artists
Leela Dance Collective’s work is rooted in community. Through our Academy, we provide year-round, comprehensive education and training in kathak dance to students of all ages and backgrounds. Our work with the academy allows us to stay connected to and be a part of the lived experiences of our community members – immigrants, people of color, women, families, and artists. Those lived experiences inform and fuel our artistic expression.
The Leela Academy serves communities in four locations – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and New York. In addition we are proud to provide students around the world with access to educational resources through our online studio.