Cultural Dance team Rutgers Natya Wins national title

By: Kinjal Patel

The Rutgers community may pride itself on diversity, but lacks highlight on the successes of cultural groups like Rutgers Natya.

Rutgers Natya, an Indian classical dance team, won the national title this year at the nation’s oldest classical dance competition, Laasya at University of California Berkley. This is first time the team traveled to California to compete. In addition to Laasya, the team also traveled to the University of Maryland to compete in Mayuri to defend their previous first place ranking, finishing in second.

However diverse Rutgers University is, students in minority groups like Natya are not recognized for their achievements. The Natya team consists of only nine women each ranging in different class years. They come from Indian classical dance backgrounds thus making them prepared for the rigorous practices and training the women go through to in order to win national titles. Their presence on campus is not that prevalent outside of the group’s close circles.

On April 18, the team had elections for its executive board. The elected officials are: captains and rising seniors Sanjana Krishnakumar and Sweta Devarajan, treasurer Sweta Sakhamuri, and secretary Maalya Ramachandra. Both captains and teammates agree that the team needs to attract more attention stated. “We would like to expand our influence on campus by engaging in more on-campus events,” co-captain Sweta Devarajan states, “collegiate teams have a unique ability of being able to promote classical dance in a modern world and we look forward to making use of that opportunity.” The small team has developed a strong bond and hopes to spread the love across the campus.

“We hope to expand our reach on campus by creating more modern platforms to perform at Rutgers for our team and possibly collaborating with other Indian dance teams to show the importance of classical dance today,” states co-captain, Sanjana Krishnakumar. Fans of the team can stay updated by liking their Facebook page or following the team’s Instagram @runatya.