Leela Samson joined Kalakshetra in 1961and became one of its leading performers. After leaving in 1975 she joined the Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi where she started a department of Bharatanatyam.Over the next fifteen years she trained several students. In 1991 she left KalaKendra and trained students privately in the Guru-Sishya tradition. She is a multi-dimensional personality as a performer, teacher, choreographer and writer and has made a mark in everyone of the fields.
She has authored books on dance such as Rhythm in Joy and a book for children published by National Book Trust and The Joy of Dance. She has written a book on the Founder of Kalakshetra titled “Rukmini Devi: A Life”. Leela is a regular contributor to magazines and journals on dance. Her monthly column “The Still Point” appeared in the magazine “First City “published from Delhi.
In 1995 she launched a group called Spanda, which means a vibration or a pulse. She presents new works through the group in an attempt to rediscover and reinterpret traditional vocabulary and establishes a relationship between dance, music and stagecraft. When the Kalakshetra Foundation was created in 1986 after the passing away of Rukmini Devi, Leela was a member on its board. In 2005 she was invited to become the Director of the Foundation which she served till 2012.
Leela Samson is the Chairperson of the central Sangeet Natak Akademi (since 2010) and of the Central Board of Film Certification (from 2011).
Two documentary films have been made on Leela Samson, “Sanchari”by Arun Khopkar and “the Flowering Tree” by Ein Lall.
Leela has performed widely in India and abroad and has received several awards such as the Sanskriti (1982), Padma Shri (1990), Nrithya Choodamani (1997) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi National award (2000).