LEENA KIRAN CHHAGANLAL 

  • Leena started her journey in Kathak Dance at the age of 6 at her birth place, Suva, Fiji Islands.  She had Kathak training under the following Gurujis: Satya Narayana Charkha, Shakti Bhatnagar Roberts, Urmila Goyel, and Syed Asghar Tirmizi.  Kathak is one of the four core Indian Classical Dance and Art forms, going back many centuries. 

 

  • At the age of 8, Leena performed at a welcoming ceremony for the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, when he visited Fiji Islands. 

 

  • At the age of 11, Leena was the youngest participant in the troupe representing Fiji to perform at the South Pacific Festival of Arts in Rotorua, New Zealand.  She participated in a ceremony for the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

 

  • In her teenage years, Leena played the leading roles in Dance Ballets (dance plays based on Hindu religious scriptures), playing the leading roles in Ballets like Krishna Leela, Ram Leela, Luv Kush, Shakuntala, Vasavdatta, and Charomitra.

 

  • In 1986, moved to New Zealand, and opened up her own Dance Academy called Leena School of Indian Dance. The Dance Academy was a center for culture and art for the community, with an emphasis on Kathak Dance, with Garba, other Indian Folk, Bollywood, and Fusion Dance styles also being part of what was taught and performed.

 

  • In 1988, Leena and her students performed at the New Zealand World Championship Cricket Team Event for upcoming international cricket games.

 

  • She attained advanced Kathak training from Saswati Sen,  a senior disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj.

 

  • Leena and her students were invited to perform for a welcoming show for a leading Bollywood actress and prominenet Bharatnatyam performer, Ms. Hema Malini.  Later Hema Malini came to give an inspirational talk to the students of Leena School of Indian Dance, in Auckland, New Zealand. 

 

  • In 1997, Leena choreographed and produced the highly praised, sold out show performed by herself and her students. The annual event brought on stage over 50 skilled performers, opulent costumes, and a dynamic range in dance styles such as live classical, bhangra, bollywood, garba, folk, and fusion. Leena also choreographed a dance ballet based on the story of Prahalad.  That ballet incorporated numerous costumes and changes, with many grand stage sets.

 

  • In 1997, Leena and her students were invited to perform at the opening ceremony of Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand. The Sky Tower is New Zealand's tallest man-made structure. 

  • Leena moved with her family to Orlando, Florida in 2000.

  • In Florida, Leena founded the renowned Mother-Daughter Group with her two daughters. 

  • She has choreographed for, performed at, and judged many prestigious dance shows and competitions over the years and in several countries. She continues to inspire and educate others with her devotion to the art of Dance, costume design, choreography, and professional stage performances. 

 

  • Some of the Awards / Recognition received by Leena and her students: 

    • 1998: Kathak - Flamenco Fusion won 2nd place

    • 2006: Orlando Group Competition. Mother-Daughter Team. Kathak Dance. 1st place, Best Choreography

    • 2007: Orlando Group Competition. Mother-Daughter Team. Kathak Dance. 1st place, Best Choreography

    • 2010: Orlando Group Competition. Mother-Daughter Team. Kathak Dance. Invited Artist - Non-Competition.

    • 2011: Orlando Group Competition. Mother-Daughters Group. Kathak Dance guest performance.

    • 2011 Orlando Group Competition.  Judged Minor and Junior Category.

    • 2012: Tampa India Fest. Judged the all-day Indian Dance competition. 

    • 2013: Orlando Group Competition. Mother -Daughter Team Kathak Dance. Invited Artist - Non-Competition

    • 2014: Orlando Group Competition. 1st place Junior Kathak Dance.

    • 2015: Orlando Group Competition. 1st place Junior Kathak Dance.

    • 2015: Bollywood Magic at Amway Arena. Mother-Daughters Group. Kathak Dance guest performance.

    • 2016: Orlando Group Competition. 1st place Junior Kathak Dance.

    • 2017: India Day at Amway Center. LTR Dance School performance.

    • 2017: Orlando Group Competition. 1st place Junior Kathak Dance.

    • 2018: India Day at Amway Center. LTR Dance School performance.

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