Akademi Award: Mohiniattam
Born in 1952 in Mattakkara village in Kottayam
district of Kerala, Shrimati Leelama received her training in Mohiniattam
at Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy. Her principal teachers there
were Kalamandalam Satyabhama and Kalamandalam Chandrika. She also trained
in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi at the institution under Kalamandalam
Leelamani and A.R.R. Bhaskar Rao. A leading performer of the Kalamandalam
dance troupe as a student, she was appointed an Instructor in 1973,
and Professor in 1998. She also served as Reader at the Sree Sankaracharya
Sanskrit University, Kalady (1995-98).
An outstanding exponent of Mohiniattam, Kalamandalam Leelama has received
critical acclaim for her interpretation of padams of nayikas and sakhis.
She has also made a mark as a composer for creating dances on new themes.
She has performed in many festivals in India and abroad, and has been
featured in a documentary film by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Besides teaching
dance at Kerala Kalamandam, Shrimati Leelama has been grooming young
talent in Mohiniattam at her own institution, Swathi Chithra, at Athani
in Thrissur district. She continues to be associated with Kerala Kalamandalam
as a visiting professor.
For her work as a teacher and performer, she has been honoured with
the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award in 1990, Natya Mohini title
by Kunchan Nambiar Smaraka, Government of Kerala and the Kerala Kalamandalam
Award in 2007.
Kalamandalam Leelama receives the Sangeet Natak
Akademi Award for her contribution to Mohiniattam.