Enjoy the opportunity to learn from two of the most distinguished Bharatanatyam solo artists and master teachers, Leela Samson and Bragha Bessell, in a professional setting. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from and spend time with these master artists during their first visit to the Twin Cities. Due to the limited time available, the learning pace will be fast and focused.
CHILDRENS WORKSHOP for Bharatanatyam Beginners
Tuesday, April 16 – 6:00-7:00 pm
Beginning Bharatanatyam students, those who are learning adavus or have learned simple introductory items, rarely get an opportunity to attend workshops with senior artists. Children will explore body movement, simple expressions, and rhythm; and enjoy the opportunity be inspired by Leela Samson and Bragha Bessell up close. Recommended age 7-12. Enrollment limited to 15 students. Workshop Cost – $25
Wednesday, April 17 – Thursday, April 18 – 6:00-7:15 pm
Dancers of any style of Bharatanatyam are welcome to attend the Nritta Workshop with Leela Samson. Leela Akka will share tips and techniques to body conditioning, and developing great nritta and stage presence. Recommended that attendees have learned a complex nritta item such as Thillana. Registrants may attend either day or both days. Enrollment limited to 12 students. Workshop Cost – $40 for one day (specify day), $70 for both days
Tuesday, April 16 – Thursday, April 18 – 7:30-9:00 pm
Dancers of any style of Bharatanatyam are welcome to attend the Abhinaya Workshop with Leela Samson and Bragha Bessell. Attendees will learn a short abhinaya piece, such as a padam, javali, or slokam. – Suggested that attendees have completed their Arangetram, or learned a Varnam. Registrants must attend all 3 days. Enrollment limited to 12 students. Workshop Cost – $150, including professionally recorded music (distributed electronically)
Leela Samson is among India’s most dynamic and technically brilliant dancers, an outstanding representative of Kalakshetra. Her seemingly understated delineation conceals a powerful and inspired inner source, which gradually unfolds before the viewer. She is a virtuoso performer and a sensitive interpreter of the nuances of Bharatanatyam. Distinguished as both a soloist and a choreographer, her personal style is unostentatious, serene and characterized by an impeccable technique that blends geometrical precision with vibrancy and an unfettered ease.
Two documentary films, “Sanchari” and “The Flowering Tree” have been made on her works. Among the many honors conferred on her, Leela Samson was awarded the prestigious Padmashri (1990) by the President of India in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the art of Bharatanatyam as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1999-2000) instituted by the apex cultural body of the Government of India.
In addition to achievements as a performing artist, she served her alma mater Kalakshetra as its Director from 2005-2012, and is the chairwoman of India’s Sangeet Natak Akademi (2010-present) and Central Board of Film Certification (2011-present)
Bragha Bessell is a consummate artist. She is a senior student of Adyar K. Lakshman and Kalanidhi Narayanan and is renowned for her abhinaya. She is the quintessential Bharata Natyam dancer, totally immersed in the art of learning and in the emotional aspects of the music she portrays. Bragha has a simple, unassuming presence, until she begins to weave magic on her audience with her sophisticated mimetic skills.
She has often played the lead roles in her teachers’ dance productions and also teaches at her guru’s institute. With many awards to her credit, she has given numerous performances in India and abroad. She has participated in dance festivals in Chennai and has performed extensively in India, the United States, Canada and throughout Europe. She has made TV appearances in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Japan and on AsiaNet. She has also conducted many workshops and lecture demonstrations. Her classes in Abhinaya, interpretation and choreography are eagerly attended by senior dancers, teachers and students.