About the Collective
The Leela Dance Collective was founded in 2016 by Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas and Seibi Lee, senior disciples of legendary kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, along with leading kathak performers Sarah Morelli and Shefali Jain. It is the only one of its kind Indian-American dance company that brings together leading kathak artists from around the world representing a multitude of voices to articulate a clairvoyant vision for kathak.
The collective is distinguished by an artistic practice that centers around collaboration and collective creativity and a body of work that is at once grounded in tradition and boldly innovative. In its two year history, the collective has already begun to make an indelible mark on the field of kathak and world dance with its rigorous technique, dynamic choreography, fashion-forward costuming, and sophisticated musical scores.
The collective has garnered critical acclaim across the United States and internationally for its groundbreaking productions from SPEAK, a collaboration that brings together leading female artists in kathak and tap, to Son of the Wind, a traditional dance ballad based on India’s epic, the Ramayana. With home season performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles along with national and international touring, the collective performs for more than 10,000 people annually. Past highlights include appearances at The Broad Stage, the Green Music Center and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The collective’s productions and performances have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Zellerbach Family Fund, the Esper Petersen Foundation and New Music USA.