Profile of Smt.Leela Venkataraman

As a scholar, historian and commentator on the Indian dance, Leela Venkataraman has been involved in dance critiquing for thirty years, writing for several journals. A Chatterjee Cup gold medalist from Ajmer Government College, and a Wordsworth scholarship holder from Bombay University in her intermediate, Leela Venkataraman had a brilliant academic career. A free lance writer for years, she began her dance journalism with the National Herald, a Delhi daily in the year 1980. Later as the dance columnist for the Patriot, her writings were a regular feature for over three years. When The Hindu started its north Indian edition in 1985, she was selected by the then Editor Mr. Kasturi after an exhaustive interview as its dance columnist and critic and has been with the paper ever since, her Friday column on dance having earned a wide readership.
Leela Venkataraman is the Delhi correspondent and also a regular contributor to SRUTI a prestigious monthly journals on Classical Dance and Music (now theatre too) published from Chennai.
Leela Venkataraman also contributes a regular Delhi Diary of events in dance (including seminars) to the quarterly NARTANAM published from Hyderabad. She also contributes to journals like Angarag. She writes regular features for INDIA PERSPECTIVE a high profile journal published by the external affairs Ministry.
Apart from several other journals, her writings have been published in foreign journals like TDR (USA) and PULSE (UK) a magazine on South ASIAN Dance in the UK, published by Kadam Asian Dance and Music Ltd.
Leela Venkataramanís long stint as an interviewer and anchor person for Doordarshan resulted in her interviewing some of the greatest names in dance of the century, including Americaís Merce Cunningham when he came to India.
Widely travelled, Leela Venkataraman has participated in foreign festivals and Seminars regularly.


She was a delegate for the International symposium on Bharatanatyam for the Diaspora, mounted in Chicago by the Dance Centre of Columbia University and Natya Dance.
Leela Venkataraman was also invited to participate in the North American International Conference held in Houston (USA) on Tradition and Innovation in Indian Dance.
As a special invitee to the International Odissi Conference and Festival held in Washington DC (USA) in 2003, she played a significant role in the festival.
Leela Venkataraman was the only Indian critic to be invited to cover the Biennale de la Danse organised in Lyons
As the chief delegate, she took part in the centenary celebrations of Rukmini Devi held in Malaysia by Sutra Dance Company, Kuala Lumpur along with a festival.
The ICCR sent her as a one man jury to judge the music and dance weeklong festival held in Nairobi (Kenya). She was also sent to the then Soviet Union as leader of a cultural troupe and later to cover the India Festival there as a dance critic.
Leela Venkataraman also took part in a prestigious symposium organised by the Columbia University (Chicago) (USA) on Global Identity and traditional dances.
In early September 2006 she was invited as a delegate to the M.S.Subbalakshmi Festival mounted by the Sampradaya Dance Creations in Toronto (Canada)
She also was invited as critic delegate for the prestigious ten day dance festival held in Toronto by Kalanidhi Fine Arts.
She participated in an Odissi festival organised by Sutra Foundation in Kuala Lumpur. She was also given a special award on the occasion.
Anila Sinha Foundation of Kathak recently invited her as the speaker and critic to participate in its Second International Kathak event organised in conjunction with the University of Chicago from 23rd to 26th October 2009.
Leela Venkataraman has also served on the Board of Kalakshetra, the prestigious institution founded by late Rukmini Devi at Adyar Chennai for a full term of five years.

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