new york 

Leela New York writes a new chapter of the story of Kathak in America. Brought from Calcutta to California in 1971, kathak planted new American roots that have flourished over the course of five decades. Now this extraordinary lineage takes its long overdue place in New York City – the dance capital of the world. Spearheaded in 2016 by Leela Dance Collective Artistic Director Rachna Nivas, Leela NY began as a grassroots initiative and quickly made an impact on NYC’s dance community through workshops, classes, and performances. With a dedicated core leadership team and a growing demand and interest in the art form, Leela NY established itself as an independent organization, fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2021, Leela NY proudly joined forces with its sister schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Denver to form Leela Institute of Kathak, representing a unified, clairvoyant vision for the field of kathak dance.

Kathak Summer Immersion Programs

Rolling Applications Open Until May 31, 2024

Now in its 5th year, join our popular immersion program in New York City in the unique and dynamic style of legendary kathak master and guru, Pandit Chitresh Das, under the direction of renowned kathak artist and educator, Rachna Nivas. We are now offering two distinct summer training programs:

3-week Open Immersion Program
Open to all levels including beginners, students will delve deep into rigorous training in kathak technique, movement, taal, expression, and North Indian classical music, along with education in South Asian history, and special guest artist talks.

Wed, Aug 7th – Tue Aug 27th (weekdays) | 6:30pm-9:30pm
Manhattan, exact address TBD
Leela Students: $765
Non-Leela Students: $865 + theory booklet


2-week Pre-Professional Program
An exclusive and rare opportunity to pursue immersive intermediate/advanced studies of kathak that focuses on developing high-level kathak technique, vocabulary, repertoire, rhythmic play, and knowledge of taal/music. Students with a minimum of five years prior kathak training/study are invited to apply. 

Wed, Aug 14 – Tue, August 27th (weekdays) | 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Manhattan, exact address TBD
Leela Students: $525
Non-Leela Students: $725


Govardhan Sangram: A Battle Between Ego and Devotion

Leela NY Training Center’s Student Showcase  

This year’s dance drama tells the story of Lord Krishna raising consciousness of love and devotion to nature, in sharp contrast to Lord Indra, God of rain and thunder, who uses fear mongering and egocentricity to gain devotees. 

Be transported to a world of wonder and intrigue through captivating dance, rhythms, storytelling and live music. From joy and love to sorrow and longing, this show will ignite your imagination and capture your heart.  

Artistic Direction, Rachna Nivas

Live musical artists: 
Kamal Sabri, sarangi 
Mike Lukshis, tabla 
Steve Gorn, bansuri 

Sunday, May 12, 2024 | 4:00pm 
Ailey Citigroup Theater | 405 W 55th St. | Manhattan 


June Kathak Classes (4-week session)

Don’t let your Kathak training fall behind before Summer Immersion and Fall semester. Whether you are brand new to kathak, are looking to rekindle your passion for the dance or continue from Spring Semester— we have a class for you in June!

June 3rd – June 26th, 2024 (Mondays and Wednesdays)
Ripley Grier Studios | Manhattan, Midtown West | 520 8th Ave 16th floor

Level I
6:30pm – 7:30pm

Level II/III
7:30pm – 8:30pm

Artistic Leadership

Rachna Nivas

Rachna Nivas (@rachnanivas) is a performing artist, choreographer, educator, community organizer, and activist of Indian classical art with a mission to uphold its authenticity while thoughtfully advancing its modernity. She is one of the most accomplished kathak dance practitioners of her generation, called by critics “revelatory” and “charismatic” who “radiates power and grace”. Her work is rooted in elevating feminine consciousness and Eastern philosophies challenging Eurocentric cultural paradigms. Having risen to principal dancer in legendary Pandit Chitresh Das’ acclaimed company for 17 years, today Rachna is Co-Artistic Director of LA-based Leela Dance Collective and directs Leela’s New York City training center.

Rachna was awarded the prestigious New York Public Library for Performing Arts Dance Research Fellowship and NYC’s CUNY Dance Initiative residency. Her original works include Reclaiming the Divine FeminineUnedited, SPEAKSon of the WindMeera, Notable tours of Rachna’s works include LA’s Ford Theaters, Broad Stage, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, New York Live Arts, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, India’s National Center for Performing Arts, Mumbai’s Royal Opera House, New Delhi’s Epicenter.

As an educator, Rachna has trained and mentored students on the West and East Coasts with an aim to foster excellence in kathak. Amongst South Asians, Rachna strives to engender pride and ownership of decolonized Indian artistic tradition.

Contact Us



Mailing Address:
320 West 38th St. #1209
New York, New York 10018

” Leela allows dancers to find each other and follow the lineage that has transformed South Asian art in the US. It is a community of multiple dancers with the same vision…to serve students by facilitating collaboration, community, and growth. “

– Sneha B.  

Leela Dance Collective

23650 Community Street
Los Angeles, CA 91304
P: 323.457.4522


Carrie Jennings, Company Manager

P: 775.560.2598

Join Our Mailing List

©2024 Leela Dance Collective. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy