"Nalini is truly an extraordinary leader in the highly specialized field of Bharata Natyam, the classical Indian dance form. I have studied and collaborated with Nalini for 13 years, and she is an exceptional choreographer, dance teacher, and performer. Over the years, I have been present at the annual recitals as a performer, audience member, and now as the proud parent of a new, young dancer. I have also witnessed with awe the arangetram performances of myriad young women, who train ceaselessly with Nalini in order to be able to dance for hours as solo performers for their "coming out" presentations. Nalini is a perfectionist, very demanding as a teacher, and yet so kind, calm, caring, and supportive, that she thoroughly inspires her students to all be at their best. Her teaching and choreography is imbued not only with the pure dance form, but all of its inherent meaning and philosophy.

For those whose inclinations are mostly in the realms of maintaining their cultural traditions, Nalini's work satisfies these requirements. For those who have a more spiritual component, she supports them in the discovery of their own internal connections to this unique and ancient dance form and the pantheon of deities who are honored within the stories and music. Truly, Nalini Rau is an expert in her field, there is no other teacher of Bharata Natyam in Westchester County who has accomplished the enormous range of performance, choreography, and teaching that Nalini has, and certainly no one can match her versatility. What sets Nalini apart from other dancers and choreographers and teachers is her tremendous brilliance, her warmth and loving care towards children and parents alike, and her ability to hold an audience spellbound."

-- Barbara Sarbin, Friend & Collaborator, somethinggooditw@aol.com

"Nalini Aunty is more than a teacher; she is an incredibly nurturing guru whom I am lucky to have known for twenty years. She taught me the both technical and expressive sides of the Bharata Natyam dance form with all its intricacies and deeper meanings. The values and lessons of Indian culture that she imparted are life lessons that have guided me to be a better human being in many aspects over the years.

Nalini Aunty's love of dance is apparent in the joy with which she practices, teaches, and performs. The extent to which she dedicates herself to the growth of each and every student is amazing. She spends long hours making sure each mudra is properly placed and each sequence of steps understood. With her loving nature, Nalini Aunty is like a second mother whose care and attention toward each of her students is unparalleled. It is a privilege to have learned so much about the art of dance and life from her."

-- Sonika Gupta, Graduate Of Natya Anubhava, sonika.gupta@gmail.com

"Dr. Nalini Rau has made a transformative cultural change in Westchester community since she established Natya Anubhava Dance Academy and started teaching the Indian Classical dance form of Bharata Natyam. I have known her since 1994 when my 5 year old daughter Sonika started taking classes with Nalini along with a handful of students. Since then, I have seen Nalini's tremendous passion for the art form, and how she has shared this artistic vision by dedicating herself to teaching it to young dancers starting at ages 4-6 years and shaping, nurturing and molding them for years to come. Many of them, including Sonika, have reached proficiency and have performed an "Arangetram", or dance debut recital that is considered a significant step in dancing life. Nalini is a very caring teacher, or guru, who goes beyond teaching the dance, and inculcates strong values and bonds of kinship for life with the students and their families.

Every year, her students, sometimes including Nalini herself, perform regularly at many cultural festivals and fundraising events across the tri-state area, such as The Westchester County's Heritage Indian Festival at Kensico Dam, City of White Plains Festival, India Center of Westchester in Elmsford, IACAW Annual Cultural Program in Dobbs Ferry, Arya Samaj Annual Diwali Program in White Plains, Performing Arts Center in White Plains, many Westchester Libraries including Armonk, Yonkers, AIA Diwali Festival - a mega event at South Street Seaport in Manhattan, The Hindu Temple Society Of North America in Queens, NY, etc.- too many to list here - all contributing to the cultural diversity of rich Indian culture to the society. Moreover, many of Nalini's senior students have gone to colleges across USA and have taken active roles in extra-curricular dance clubs as well as dance competitions, spreading the culture nationwide. Nalini Rau, through her teaching and training classes across Westchester in White Plains, Elmsford and Yorktown Heights, has made a profound impact on growing number of students as well as their families. She has helped many organizations for worthy causes through fundraisers, and most of all, has spread cultural awareness, making Westchester County a culturally rich, vibrant community!! She has won many accolades for her outstanding artistic vision, dedication and selfless work as a teacher, dancer and choreographer. We, the Gupta family, feel proud and fortunate to be associated with Dr. Nalini Rau as a teacher and as a friend."

-- Neena Gupta, Parent, neenamgupta@yahoo.com

"My kids have been learning Bharat Natyam from Dr. Rau for the last 1 year. Dr. Rau has a very deep understanding of the dance form and teaches the kids with a great deal of passion and involvement. I love that she doesn't just focus on the physical dance form but also teaches the kids the appreciation of what our Indian traditional culture has to offer for the mind, body and the soul. I love how she, through mudras and abhinaya, narrates stories from our ancient scriptures, explaining how to apply learnings from these stories. Watching her teach her class is a treat for the parents as well!"

-- Hiral Jhaveri, Parent, hiral.jhaveri@gmail.com

"When my daughter started learning Bharatanatyam at age six from Dr. Nalini Rau Murthy, I had modest expectations. It was a way for her to connect to her Indian heritage through dance. But just two classes in, I knew my daughter's guru was no ordinary teacher. Dr. Rau Murthy not only had mastery over the ancient Indian classical dance form, she was immensely knowledgeable about the various aspects of Indian mythology. The stories, which traditionally form the basis for the choreography, were compellingly explained at the end of each class.

Her philosophical questions and observations during 'story time' not only entertained and educated her students; they also provided grist for some fine mental bharatanatyam for the parents who sat in on the classes. Another aspect of Dr. Rau.s classes, I deeply admire is the effort she puts into identifying and choreographing items that portray strong women.The essence and beauty of Indian culture are conveyed in a way I neither expected nor could imagine. Dr. Rau has been an exceptional teacher to my daughter over the last eight years, and to hundreds of other students in the area for two decades."

-- Ms Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, Parent, swapna_vg@yahoo.com

"Prasida and Priyanka have been learning Bharatanatyam for 8 years from Guru Nalini Rau. She has constantly been a supportive teacher and an inspiration for all her students. She sees the true potential in her students and has an amazing ability in bring out the best in each and every one of them. This is evident in her individualized choreography in which she is able to identify each student's unique strengths. Through this choreography students are able to demonstrate their talents and get the fullest out of their performance.

Apart from being a classical dance teacher, she is a role model her students can look up to. Her command on languages, deep knowledge of the various aspects of life, her approach to problem solving, etc. are great lessons for the students and everyone who interacts with her. Even with her busy schedule she finds time to visit and spent quality time with anyone who needs her support at time of need - in our case, she found the time to come to our house to cheer up my daughter who was recovering from a surgery. Her visit made my daughter very happy and helped her realize how much Guru Nalini cared for her. Anyone who had the opportunity to learn under Guru Nalini would agree how fortunate they are to have such a great teacher."

-- Latika Unni, Parent, latikaunni@yahoo.com

"Guru Nalini Rau has been teaching my daughter Meena Chen, 15, for five years now, at the India Center of Westchester located in Elmsford, NY. When Meena started with Dr. Rau, she was new to Bharatha Natyam. She had been learning Kuchipudi (another classical dance form) in Washington, DC, where we had recently relocated to New York from. She patiently and skillfully got Meena to a point where she could feel confident about learning new and complex pieces in Bharatha Natyam, teaching her the basics as well as the intricacies of the dance form and the theory underpinning it, while simultaneously insisting on maintaining a very high standard of performance. Her vast experience and seemingly effortless skills as a teacher are immense, and inspires profound loyalty, respect and fondness for in her students' as it has in Meena.

Despite her profound gifts as a teacher of the dance form it is Dr. Rau's encyclopedic knowledge of, and deep love for, the many ancient stories that inform dance pieces and their connection to Hinduism (both religious and mythological), Indian cultural heritage and the classical arts, as well as her ability to impart that appreciation to her students along the way, that I am even more grateful for. Meena is an introspective child and has absorbed much of what Dr. Rau has imparted during classes over the years, and as a parent I am deeply grateful to Dr. Rau for having contributed to that sense of pride in, and belonging in, her cultural heritage that Meena clearly has. It has inspired her to keep learning Bharatha Natyam, despite the days when it gets difficult (as everything sometimes does)."

-- Anjali Chen, Parent, anjalitchen@yahoo.com

"I was an adult unlike the other students that Guru Nalini Rau taught. I work full time and manage a house. I learnt Bharatanatyam as a child but had not danced in over a decade when I went to Dr Rau for lessons. I had forgotten all my basic steps. She changed the methodology of her teaching to suit my pace of learning and made it fun for me to learn all over from the beginning. Thirteen years later I look back fondly at all that I learnt from her. I am now going on to perform my arangetram soon and it would not have been possible for someone like me to have done it without her loving support. Over the years we developed a bond and an incredible relationship. We bonded so well that I came to look upon her as my elder sister and address her fondly as Akka. She is a role model to me in every way. Her passion and compassion speak volumes. She is always there for her students no matter what. Her depth of knowledge and wisdom make us delve deep into every aspect of choreography. Her lessons are steeped in cultural and spiritual aspects and the insights that she provides make the students want to be better human beings. She makes coming to classes and learning a lot of fun and at the same time makes sure that the students learn the dance technique to perfection. I am very fortunate to have Guru Nalini Rau as my teacher and even more prouder to call her as my Akka ( elder sister )."

-- Lakshmi Damodara, Student, lakshmid@gmail.com

"When I heard about Guru Nalini Rau teaching in Westchester, my joy was unlimited. I was extrremely thrilled and excited that I could renew and reignite my dance learning after a gap of more than 18 years when I last did my arangetram in India. The moment I met her still stands in front of my eyes, she was extremely welcoming and very encouraging. She paced the learning to fit to the gap I had in one hand and on the other hand she would involve in some performances with what I could offer. All of these helped me to stay positive and I kept looking forward to going to learn every week. She is very compassionate as a person and throughly understood the balance I had to do with a full time job and managing a family and ensured that I kept the fire of learning alive by giving me a lot of support. When I found out that I was having a baby girl, I told akka ( I affectionately call her as my elder sister) that I am enrolling my baby girl to her dance school. She was very thrilled and the excitement she had in her eyes were baby like. And now my 5 year old daughter has started her classes and I am extremely happy that this traditional form that I had an opportunity to learn will continue.

Guru Nalini Rau is one gem of a person who has a deep knowledge of the dance form, her spiritual quest and how she is able to eloquently put it in simple stories as she teaches the children and is able to reach to them so easily. She is a role model for many of us in the dance school and me and my family have an immense sense of respect for her. Blessed are we to learn dance from her."

-- Srividya Ramamurthy, Student, vidy2409@gmail.com

"Dr. Nalini Rau is a loving, kind and gentle teacher who knows how to motivate her students to try and produce their best. Due to the fact that we had moved 2 cities before moving to Westchester, Deviki had learnt from several teachers before she started her dance education with Dr. Rau. Naliniji was incredibly patient and loving as she worked with Deviki. At times it was very frustrating for both teacher and student as Deviki had to relearn many pieces that she thought she knew - but never did Dr. Rau show her frustration. She was kind and gentle as she worked with Deviki. She arranged for extra classes with her older students so Deviki could learn at a faster pace. Deviki has come a long way in her dance and for that we are grateful to Naliniji. Thank you Nalini Akka - from Deviki! and thank you also from her parents!"

-- Nivedita Bajaj, nivedita_bajaj@hotmail.com

"As a non Indian mother of a half indian girl it was important for me to find a class where we would both feel at home. Nalini Rau's Saturday morning Bharatanatyam class has become a happy ritual for us both ever since my daughter started it 2 years ago as a shy and tentative 6-year old. Nalini was from the beginning the kind, patient ever smiling "auntie" has never utters a discouraging word or casts a critical eye. Her gentle, humorous, supportive approach has a steady and unrelenting consistency which week by week, class by class rub off on her young students who want nothing more than to please her. She includes storytelling in her instruction beautifully illustrated by her own movement and expression. Her class is a weekly plunge into a warm, happy and insightful sea of Indian culture

-- Olga Sosnowa, olasoso@yahoo.com

Dr. Nalini Rau