S.THALA is a dance performance inspired by Marguerite Duras’ Indian cycle whose creation started in Kerala in December 2019 under the direction of Annette Leday, a French choreographer and dancer immersed in Indian and French theatrical and dance forms. 

Writer, playwright, screenwriter and film director, Marguerite Duras (1914-1996) is one of the major figures in the French literary and artistic world. In her multiform corpus, the texts and films of the “Indian cycle” occupy a central place. By revisiting Duras’ fantasized India in this cycle and the very real one at the heart of her company’s productions, Annette Leday proposes a poetic visual approach of the Durassian universe through a choreographed interpretation of her organic writing. She chooses to testify Duras’ writing through the body and the movements of dance because for Annette Leday, “creating a contemporary dance performance is a bit like writing a poem”. Indeed, S. Thala focuses more on exploring the relationships and emotions of the “characters” and the emblematic atmospheres of Duras’ universe than on trying to reproduce or illustrate the complex narrative schemes of her texts.

City Date
Trivandrum 14 Jan
Kochi 16 Jan
Chennai 18 Jan
Pune 20 Jan
Delhi 22 Jan
Ahmedabad 24 Jan

Dancer and choreographer Annette Leday has developed a unique approach to intercultural contemporary creation, focusing on the dance and theatre traditions of India and France. After training as an actress in France she went to India in 1978 to study Kathakali dance theatre. With scholarships from the ICCR Indian Government and the French Ministry of Culture, she practised Kathakali in Kerala at the Sadanam and Kalamandalam institutions, participating in performances of the two troupes in India as well as abroad. A graduate of the Institut des Langues Orientales in Paris, she speaks fluent Malayalam. Since 1989, she has directed and choreographed performances for both Indian and Western dancers, actors and musicians.

The artistic project of the Annette Leday/Keli Company is to orient and evolve rare traditional performance techniques towards contemporary creation. Building on Annette Leday’s pioneering choreography, the company has established a constant dialogue between artists from India and from France and has developed an original process of exchanges ever since its creation in the nineteen-eighties. A new vocabulary has emerged from this contact where the different techniques enrich each other.

The main productions of the company involving Indian and French performers are:

Kathakali-King Lear, La Sensitive, Trans-Malabar, Cinderella Otherwise, The Tempest, The Stuff of Dreams, Big-bang.org, Mithuna.


Thala is co-produced by institutions in India and France: Alliance Française de Trivandrum, Institut Français India, Paris City Hall, and Arta Cartoucherie, a laboratory of research and experimentation about the art of the actor, with an outward-looking international perspective. 



In the various cities in India where the show will be performed, local partnerships are also being established: 

Government of Kerala, Department of Tourism and Culture (TBC)


Darpana Academy, Ahmedabad


Neekoee Foundation, Ahmedabad