Natya Leela Academy
:: home :: about Natya Leela :: about Bharathanatyam :: classes :: performances :: support :: links :: press :: contact ::

Natya Leela Academy was born out of a passion to teach and dance Bharathanatyam. The intention of our dance school is to teach, train, and inspire young children, youth, and adults to discover grace and empowerment through movement. The steps, hand gestures, and facial expressions all lend to training our bodies and minds to express ourselves with freedom that is infused with integrity.

"Natya" means dance and "leela" is a Sanskrit word and concept that can be described as "spontaneous creation; divine play that leads to creation; and magic." Our hope is that students who discover this ancient dance form will also re-discover their inner playfulness and express this creative force through their bodies. When we identify and re-connect with our creative playfulness on the dance floor, we can then take that same power-filled, shining energy into our every-day lives -- leading us to live completely in joy and compassion.

Here are some highlights from Natya Leela's journey:
- Since the beginning of 2008, adults and children from all walks of life have been learning the contemporary relevance of this ancient Indian dance form.

- Through regular school performances, workshops, and classes, Principal Teacher, Subashini Ganesan, has been bringing the intricate art of story-telling through hand and facial gestures to elementary and middle school children in the Multnomah and Centennial School Districts.

- Natya Leela's Artistic Director was invited to choreograph and teach 4th/5th/6th Graders to perform at two different Annual Fundraiser Galas: Young Audience's "Mad Hot Anything Goes" (2010) and Metropolitan Family Services "A Gathering Of Good" (2009)

- Natya Leela Troupe has performed in the North West (Seattle, Eugene, Portland, Sandy, Salem) and has brought Bharathanatyam to a multi-cultural audience including at the NW Folklife Festival, Ten Tiny Dances, Salem Library World Music Series, the Sandy Mountain Festival, and Portland's 1st Folk Festival.

- Natya Leela's Artistic Director has choreographed and presented many original works. Themes include the Hindu Tara, a modern interpretation on the Gita Govinda, the life of Arjuna and his receiving the Bhagavad Gita, and episodes from the life of Krishna.


Subashini Ganesan, artistic director, choreographer and founder of Natya Leela Academy, has 20 odd years of experience in studying, performing, and interpreting Bharathanatyam. She has performed internationally and has presented her original choreographies at the NW Folklife Festival (Seattle, 2009), Ten Tiny Dances (Portland, collaboration with Portland Taiko, 2010), Portland's First Annual Folk Festival (Portland, 2010), and at the World Music and Dance Concert Series (Salem Public Library, 2008 & 2010), to name a few. As a Young Audiences Resident Artist, she performs and teaches in schools in Multnomah and Washington counties.
She has studied the classical Indian dance style, Bharathanatyam, under Sreemathi Shantha Bhaskar, principal choreographer of Nrityalaya Aesthetic Society of Singapore. Subashini's experience in the study and performance of this art form extends over a period of 25 years. She has performed in national and international events in Singapore, Washington DC, Rochester, NY, Eugene, Oregon, Sacramento, CA, and Maui, HI. For the last 10 years she has been teaching students of all ages in Singapore and in the US. Her background and interests in the world traditional and sacred arts lend a unique ability to her teaching methods, that help students to discover the dancer within, while executing the movements and routines of this ancient style.
Copyright 2008, Subashini Ganesan, Natya Leela Academy, Portland, Oregon