Outstanding Dance School award for Bharatakala 
- Sumathi Raghunat, New York 
July 29, 2008 

The Ninth Indian American Festival dance competition organized by the Hindu Temple and Cultural Society in North Branch Park, NJ was a grand success. Hundreds of spectators gathered on the 26th and 27th of July to enjoy the dance performances of over 400 participants. 
This year, Bharatakala School of Dance of Edison New Jersey, bagged the Outstanding Dance School award, the most prestigious award of the two-day competition. "This is a great achievement for our dance school" says artistic director Divya Nayar.  A nearly flawless rendering of the popular Ambujam Krishna song 'Adinaye Kanna' was presented by performers Jaya Chinnaya, Shruti Deshpande, Ishani Haldar, Sheryl Jacob, Sherine Olickal, Stephy Olickal, Navya Ramagiri, and Atmika Vaseeharan. 
The students of Bharatakala also won the second place in the junior group folk category. Participants were: Shruti Deshpande, Ishani Haldar, Sheryl Jacob, Ashika Kumar, and Atmika Vaseeharan.
Divya Nayar, a graduate of the Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts has been teaching Bharatanatyam for the last three years in Edison, New Jersey. "I'm blessed to have such dedicated students, and this award has honored their hard work and passion," says an ecstatic Divya.

Sumathi Raghunat is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic vocalist from Chennai, India. She presently resides, and works as a software professional in New York.