Leela Dance Collective

Leela Dance Collective
Co-created by Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia

Thursday, April 14 at 8pm
Stewart Theatre, Talley Student Union

2610 Cates Ave, Raleigh, NC 27695


  • $30 Public | $8 NC State Students | $15 NC State Faculty/Staff | all tickets general admission
  • All ticket sales for the 2021-22 season will be online.
  • Have questions about ticketing? Email Ticket Central at ticketcentral@ncsu.edu

Be fully taken by rhythm and virtuosity as Indian Kathak dance and American tap collide. Four of today’s leading choreographers (including Triangle native Michelle Dorrance) have created a triumph of tradition and possibility. Stick around after the show for a chat with the company!


NC State LIVE strives to make our programming accessible to all people. If you have an access need or an accommodation request, please email Liza Green, associate director at lwgreen@ncsu.edu.


…an evening of rhythmic magic.

-Los Angeles Dance Chronicle

Flipping the script on forms generally dominated by men, these four trailblazing women have co-created a triumph of cross-cultural collaboration. The performance at NC State LIVE will feature acclaimed Indian Kathak dancers Rina Mehta and Rachna Nivas with tap impresarios Dormeshia and Michelle Dorrance.

The dancers share the stage with a stellar array of Indian classical musicians and a hip jazz combo. The original score was co-created by masterful Indian instrumentalist Jayanta Banerjee and ground-breaking jazz musicians Allison Miller (drums) and Carmen Staaf (piano). Come embrace our differences while celebrating what makes us one.


Leela Dance Collective brings together leading artists to shape the future of Kathak dance and connect audiences to the richness of Indian classical art.

At the core of Leela Dance Collective’s approach is collective creativity. Rather than being centered around one artistic vision, we bring together a multitude of artistic voices. We firmly believe that diversity of thought and open exchange advances and sustains our art. We support individual collective members in their creative journeys while facilitating collaboration. Productions such as SPEAK exemplify our values and approach. Through such productions we hope to bring together artists and communities across race, ethnicity, and religion. While our work is grounded in the kathak tradition, collaboration across genres is critical to our artistic process. It is through such exchange that we continue to engage with our own artistic tradition, remaking it for contemporary audiences.

Founded and led by women, Leela Dance Collective’s central aim is to advance the voices of women artists and choreographers. We provide a space for women to lead and create outside the confines of a traditional male-defined framework of leadership, mentorship, and artistic practice. Our vision is to re-invent and challenge these paradigms with our own instincts, creative abilities and life experiences.

Leela Dance Collective works to bring relevance to and evolve kathak dance for modern audiences, while sustaining its original intent and integrity. Through our productions and performances, we make visible the histories, herstories, and cultural heritage of the South Asian people. In doing so we hope to dispel stereotypes that define and confine South Asians in the West – from the image of the Indian woman as submissive and exotic to the idea of India as poor, backward, and the seat of all things spiritual. Through our artistic work, we hope to move our society beyond cultural consumption and hegemony towards cultural understanding and equity. Ultimately Leela Dance Collective’s work is to impact the performing arts field in America, challenging its Eurocentric paradigm and making space for aesthetically, artistically and culturally diverse voices.

This presentation is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.