Kalakshetra performs Samson’s Spanda

Dakshina is proud to present Kalakshetra in Leela Samson’s SPANDA

With support from the ICCR, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and in cooperation with the Indian Embassy.
Saturday October 8 at 7:30 pm
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street NW

PLENTY OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE THEATRE. Box office will open at 6:00 pm.

Join us for our 8th Annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts. Leela Samson closes the festival on Saturday October 8 at 7:30 pm with Spanda, her critically reviewed Bharata Natyam performance. Samson is among India’s most dynamic and technically brilliant dancers, an outstanding representative of Kalakshetra, the famed institute for the classical arts founded by the late Rukmini Devi Arundale on the Chennai ocean front. She joined Kalakshetra as a young child and her formative years were spent in imbibing the nuances of Bharata Natyam and related arts at the feet of celebrated gurus.

Watch a video clip of SPANDA.


‘Spanda’, (a vibration) is symbolic of the enduring and perpetual energy that is the life force of the universe. It incorporates the philosophical concept of Prithvi as the center and source of energy in the universe and equates it with the nabham, the womb as the origin of energy in the human body.

The rediscovery of the basic movements of Bharata Natyam and the need for a reinterpretation of its traditional vocabulary challenges Spanda. Spanda seeks to establish a more relevant dialogue between dance, music and stagecraft.

PLENTY OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE THEATRE. Box office will open at 6:00 pm.

‘Spanda-Matrika’ reduces movement to its essence. It is a journey inwards seeking the essential ‘center’, the origin of movement and its source of strength through the adavus (dance steps) of the Bharata Natyam style. On one level, it attempts to internalize the consciousness of the dancer towards the particular movement rather than on the composition of the whole. On the other, no dancer is whole in the composition
without every other. Much like life, the dancer is made conscious of the energy she brings to the group and how that enhances the whole. Spanda Matrika is based on the various rhythm cycles in Carnatic music.


‘Who would breathe, who would live,
If there were not this bliss in space’

Aakash attempts an exploration of the concept of space. Using slokas (verses) from the Vedas, the dancer discovers it, explores it, celebrates it – through movement. Aakash is the universe. Its garbha is Prithvi, the earth. All life emanates from this center, explores outwards, interacting constantly with space – which surrounds it, nurtures it, gives it form and being. The life-force of the dancer is the nabha – from
this center, all movement emanates.

Charishnu is indicative of the intent or desire to move. It is an expression of the joy of ‘journeying’. Every individual, animal, or nation – journeys in a manner typical of his own nature. We move in different ways, in different directions, at a differing pace. What is exciting is the dynamics of this movement happening differently, at the same time. It is the physics of the constellations. It is the happening of creation. Making use of the the different rhythm cycles in Carnatic music, the abstract movement in Charishnu simply enjoys what it is doing.

The choreography for ‘Spanda’ is by Ms. Leela Samson.