Leela Samson is an Indian Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, writer, and actress. She is well known for presenting the Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam in diverse compositions with her dance company, Spanda, founded in September 1995.Leelas father Vice Admiral Benjamin Abraham Samson, was a retired officer. From 8 January 1964 to 31 May 1966, Benjamin served as the Flag Officer Commanding Indian Fleet in the Indian Navy. He was the first Naval Officer to serve as the National Defence Academys Commandant in Khadakvasla between 1959 and 1962.Leelas father wanted her to learn and explore Indian classical dance and music. In 1961, when Leela was nine years old, her father sent her to Kalakshetra Foundation, art and cultural academy in Chennai. Leela received her dance training from the founder of Kalakshetra, Rukmini Devi Arundale, who was a renowned Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer. Childhood picture of Leela Samson.Initially, Leela performed solo at various dance events and occasions. Later, she started performing with dance groups at leading festivals of dance in India and abroad like Europe, Africa, and America.Leela revealed that she did not marry because she never found the man of her choice. The Telegraph.Leelas father was of Jewish origin, and her mother is of Catholic origin. But, Leela Samson follows Hinduism. In an interview, on being asked about her religious belief, Leela said, Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life, a philosophy. I live the life of a Hindu. No one can take that away from me. I did not have to convert to be that way. I simply am. It also does not make me less Christian or less Jewish. Just more appreciative. Rediff.com.Leela Samsons performed her Arangetram ceremony in 1970 in Bombay. (An Arangetram ceremony is the debut of a classical dancer on stage in front of a public audience) Leela Samsons (fourth from left) Arangetram ceremony in 1970.In May 1985, Leela Samson performed with her guru Rukmini Devi Arundale, while touring in China. Leela Samson with Rukmini Devi Arundale while touring China.In August 2003, Leela taught Bharatanatyam to the UK-based dance group, for a show, Past Forward, at the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden, London. Leela Samson (second from left) rehearsing with students at the Royal Opera House.On 30 April 2012, Leela resigned from the post of director of the Kalakshetra Foundation, because a petition was filed against her by the former Kalakshetra teacher C.S. Thomas in which it was stated that she had crossed the age limit to serve as the director as per the prescribed government norms. In an interview, Leela talked about resigning from the post and said, Through a PIL, an ex-Kalakshetra teacher had challenged my continuance as director after I turned 60. If I do not have the support of the ministry, chairman and the board in this matter, I see no reason to stay on, India Today.