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  • GURU


bharatanatyam bharatanatyam "Yatho Hasta thatho Drishti,
Yatho Drishti thatho Manah
Yatho Manah thatho Bhaava,
Yatho Bhaava thatho Rasa."


Where the hands(hasta) are, go the eyes (drishti)
where the eyes are, goes the mind (manah)
where the mind goes, there is an expression of inner feeling (Bhaava)
and where there is bhava, mood or sentiment (rasa) is evoked.

Slokam Credits: Nandikesvara, Abhinaya Darpana

Bharatanatyam is one of the most ancient dance styles of India endowed with a divine origin. It is a sacred form of worship in which Lord Nataraja is revered as the Lord of dancers. The word ‘Bharata’ is composed of three syllables namely, Bha for bhava, Ra for raga, and Ta for tala, each signifying expression, melody, and rhythm respectively. The word ‘Natyam’ means dance. Hence, Bharatanatyam means dance that involves the three principal aspects of expression, melody, and rhythm. The dance style contains two main components of Nritta and Nritya. Nritta is the purely rhythmic aspect, which incorporates exquisite movements and intricate footwork, while Nritya embodies the interpretive abhinaya. This art of storytelling enables dancers to portray characters, and narrate the contents of the song or poetry.

According to the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, Lord Brahma Himself created the art of dance as a medium of expression and spirituality that would be accessible to all people. He combined literature from the Rig Veda, song from the Sama Veda, expression from the Yajur Veda and Rasa or the aesthetic experience from the Atharva Veda to create the fifth Veda known as the 'Natya Veda'. Lord Brahma passed on this Natya Veda to his son, sage Bharata, who passed it on to his 100 sons. Thus this divine art descended from the heavens to Earth.


bharatanatyam bharatanatyam “Angikam bhuvanam yasya
Vachikam sarva vangmayam
Aharyam chandra taradi
Tam namah satvikam sivam.”


Whose limbs are the world,
Whose song and poetry are the essence of all language,
Whose costume is the moon and the stars
We bow to Him (Lord Shiva), the benevolent One

Natesha school of Bharatanatyam was founded in 2001 by Guru Mrs. Suman Nayak with the primary objective of propagating the pure Indian classical form of bharatanatyam to children of all ages. The school follows the traditional Guru-Shishya method where the teacher imparts the knowledge of this art form to the disciples through personal attention and proper guidance. Using both traditional and modern methods of teaching, the school strives to instill in all its students the love, respect, endurance, and the discipline required to master this sacred art form. The students are expected to imbibe the nuances of this art with steady focus and a deep sense of commitment. Through the experience of learning Bharatanatyam, the school hopes to inculcate in its students, a deep understanding and an appreciation of India’s cultural and spiritual traditions.

Since its inception, the Natesha school of Bharatanatyam has upheld these objectives directly resulting in great success of teaching the ancient sacred art form to generations of students. The school strives to balance the importance of rigorous practice with public performances after imparting the nuances of bharatanatyam and building a strong foundation. Guru Suman Nayak and her students have presented solo and group performances at multiple cultural events receiving great reviews and wide acclaim within dance circles. It believes that strict adherence to daily practice of the art form leads to the student dancer's progressive maturity in graceful, technical precision, and deeply expressive performances. Naturally, such patience and perseverance in complying with intense dance preparation results in public performances that not only move the dancer but also the audience and Lord Nataraja Himself, the ultimate goal of every dancer.

Natesha students are regular performers at several local events organized annually by Shiva Vishnu Temple, Shri Mandir, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organization, Isckon Temple, SANTA Telugu Association, Kannada Sangha, and House of India. Besides, the school has organized seven Natesha Recital events since 2006.

Performance Highlights

  • 2004-present: Performed several times at the 'Unity in Diversity' scholarship fundraiser event organized by the San Diego Indian American Society
  • July 2004: North American Konkani Convention, Los Angeles
  • January 2006: First Natesha School Recital
  • December 2007: Full Brights Association Scholarship Gala
  • January 2008: Arangetram of Aarthi Reddy
  • February 2008: Purandaradasa Day, Carlsbad
  • April 2008: Semi-classical dance in the Hindi Play 'Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe' directed by Mr. Hamid Daudani at the Poway Center for Performing Arts.
  • September 2008: Durga Puja festival, Bengali Association of San Diego
  • June 2009: Arangetram of Archana Ramesh
  • July 2009: Kerala Hindus of North America Convention, Los Angeles
  • August 2010: 'Celebrate' Dance Festival, Balboa Park
  • October 2010: Abhinaya Workshop by Smt. Ramya Harishankar
  • May 2011: Abhinaya Workshop by Smt. Ramya Harishankar
  • January 2012: Arangetram of Divya Kothandapani
  • February 2012: Purandharadasa Aradhana, Neuroscience Institute
  • June 2013: Arangetram of Arthi Selvaraj
  • August 2013: Solo Arangetrams of Keerti Tadimeti, Priya Bhat, & Anagha Srirangam
  • September 2013: Dance workshop by Dr. Seshadri Iyengar
  • January 2014: Arangetram of Mihika Nadig
  • June 2014: Natesha's first thematic production 'Brindavana Krishna'
  • October 2014: 'Divine Strings and Dancing Bells' organized by IFAASD
  • March 2015: Sri Papanasam Sivan's Ramacharitam Production presented at the Indian Music and Dance Festival, IFAASD under the direction of Dr. C.M. Venkatachalam, in collaboration with Smt. Rohini Herur, Smt. Divya Devaguptapu, and Mridangam Artist Sri Nagai Sriram.
  • May 2015: Arangetram of Anjana Srinivas
  • June 2015: 'Natya Samarpanam' Solo Bharatanatyam by Meera Kota
  • September 2015: Navarathri Festival at Shiva Vishnu Temple
  • January 2016: Shiva Vishnu Temple Winter Mela
  • April 2016: 'Unity in Diversity' by San Diego Indian American Society
  • April 2016: SANTA Ugadi Ullasam, JCC La Jolla.
  • June 2016: Telangana Association of San Diego Cultural event
  • June 2016: 'Night of the Raja' fundraiser event by Svaroopa Yoga group
  • August 2016: Bharatanatyam Workshop by Sri Pavitra Bhat
  • September 2016: Navarathri and Brahmotsavam festival at Shiva Vishnu Temple, San Diego
  • November 2016: Skanda Shashti at Shri Mandir, San Diego
  • November 2016: SANTA Diwali Program at JCC, La Jolla
  • December 2016: Composers' Day at Shri Mandir
  • February 2017: Shankara Eye Foundation fundraiser
  • February 2017: Shiva Vishnu Temple Winter Mela


bharatanatyam "To me, Bharatanatyam creates a perfect balance between grace and strength. The dance form is a type of meditation that requires discipline, single-minded concentration and commitment in order to unite the body, mind and soul. It’s a spiritual sadhana for the ‘atma’ (Individual self) to seek the ‘Paramatma’(Supreme Soul)."

Suman Nayak:
Suman Nayak is an accomplished teacher, a performer, and humbly considers herself a lifelong student of Bharatanatyam. With over 30 years of experience in this field, Suman has carved a niche for herself in San Diego as a reputed teacher. Suman is well known for her fluid grace, excellent sense of rhythm, elegant expressions and creativity. She enjoys exploring the intricacies of movement and rhythm and creating beautiful choreography within the framework of the traditional art form. As a teacher, Suman excels in breaking down the complexity of the art for children to understand, but sets high standards of commitment and learning.

bharatanatyam Gurus:
Suman Nayak is a graduate of the Nritya Vidya Nilaya, a renowned school of Bharatanatyam started in 1937 by ‘Karnataka Kala Tilaka’ Sri. U. S. Krishna Rao, in Mangalore, India. Suman completed 16 years of intensive training in the Pandanallur tradition under the tutelage of ‘Natya Visharada’ Vidwan Sri. U. K. Praveen, son of Sri U.S. Krishna Rao. She learned Carnatic Music from his wife, Smt. Usha Praveen. Suman also received guidance from Sri U.K. Praveen’s sister Smt. Sandhya Keshav Rao in Bangalore for a short period.
Since 2009, Suman has been receiving advanced training in Abhinaya from renowned Guru Smt. Ramya Harishankar in Irvine, CA. She also takes advanced Rhythm/Nattuvangam training with Mridangam Artist, Sri Nagai Sriram, and has pursued Carnatic music lessons with Dr. C.M. Venkatachalam. Suman’s perspective of Natyam and her creative choreography is influenced by her interactions with her Gurus and highly acclaimed practitioners of Bharatanatyam. She has attended workshops and classes conducted by Smt. Ramya Harishankar, Smt. Anitha Guha, Smt. Shoba Sharma, Smt. Chitra Visveswaran, and Sri Pavitra Bhat. Suman has also attended the Natyashastra and Satvika Abhinaya lectures conducted by dance scholar, Dr. Pappu Venugopal Rao.

Sadhana: The Journey of Dance
bharatanatyam Suman’s dance journey began at a very young age mainly due to the keen interest of her mother, Smt. Geeta Pai. She encouraged Suman to receive formal training and perform her Arangetram. Suman gravitated to dance very effortlessly as she responded naturally to rhythm and movement even as a child. What started as a mother’s dream turned into a lifelong passion for Suman, who has worked to take every opportunity and experience to evolve as a bharatanatyam dancer. Suman has been positively influenced by the teachings of her Guru Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba. She is ever grateful to Bhagawan Baba for His grace, blessings and guidance. Suman performed her Arangetram in 1996 in Mangalore. Ever since, she has given several performances and danced in productions at various events in India and the United States. In 2000, she completed the Vidwath exam conducted by the Karnataka Education Board. This earned Suman the title ‘Natya Vidhushi’ and credentials to teach dance. After moving to the United States in 2001, Suman started the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam while completing her degree in Environmental Chemistry at University of California, San Diego. Although she had plans to pursue a research job, she had a strong spiritual calling to establish a school of bharatanatyam, her inner passion. Suman's tireless efforts to perfect and teach the sacred art form has earned her a great reputation in Southern California, and her school has been recognized widely in the community. As a Management Committee member on the Board of the Indian Fine arts Academy of San Diego (IFAASD), Suman actively volunteers and helps organize Indian music and dance concerts.

bharatanatyam bharatanatyam Suman is married to Dr. Keshav Nayak, an interventional cardiologist and active duty U.S. Navy Captain. Keshav is an ardent supporter of Suman’s dance career and Natesha school of Bharatanatyam. Suman is an affectionate and a dedicated mother of two precocious, loving and supportive boys.


Natesha Arangetrams and Solo Performances


Anjana Srinivas
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2015

After being a part of the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam for almost 8 years, dance has become an inseparable part of my life. Suman Akka’s dedication to the art from has instilled in me a deep appreciation and passion for dancing. Over the years I have had the opportunity to understand the technical and spiritual nuances of Bharatanatyam and be a part of creative choreography and dance productions. Throughout my time at the Natesha School, I have learned that hard work and perseverance is the key to learning and perfecting this divine art form.


Meera Kota
Natya Samarpanam: 2015

I joined the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam just as I was recovering from ankle surgery over 6 years ago and am forever grateful to Suman Akka for taking me under her tutelage. I have been learning Bharatanatyam since the age of 5 and it has always been a great outlet for me to explore my Indian Culture and community. Dance has been a constant in my life and I am thankful to be apart of the Natesha School, as Suman Akka has given me the confidence to grow as a dancer and as an individual.


Mihika Nadig
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2014

Learning dance under Suman Akka has shaped me in many ways both as a dancer and individual. After learning Bharatanatyam for over 10 years, The Natesha School of Bharatanatyam has taught me that there is no end to learning this art form and has inspired me to always look for ways to improve myself through a strong work ethic. I am so grateful for the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam for instilling within me a deep appreciation and passion for this ancient art form that has grown to become such an important part of me.


Arthi Selvaraj
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2013

Studying at the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam has been such an influential and fulfilling experience, instilling discipline, perseverance, and dedication as bharatanatyam requires, and giving me Suman Akka as a role model for such a large part of my life. Akka’s grace as a dancer, patience as a teacher, and dedication to dance in its purest form has served as my inspiration for ten years. Her love of the art form is so evident in her teaching methods, in the dances she choreographs, and in all the forms of carnatic art she exposes us to. Because of this, I have learned how to appreciate bharatanatyam as art and its expanse as an art form holistically. Because of this I have grown so much as a dancer, and furthermore, I know that there’s so much more room to grow.


Keerti Tadimeti
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2013

Being a part of The Natesha School of Bharatanatyam and learning from Suman Akka has been extremely important in helping me create my identity as an Indian-American. Over the years, I’ve been extremely lucky to be among peers who are equally excited and passionate about the dance form and to learn from a guru who fosters a safe learning environment. After learning Bharatanatyam for seventeen years, the technique and mindset that I have gained has helped me throughout various aspects of my life, teaching me what hard work and perseverance can achieve. I will always be extremely grateful for the experience and knowledge that I have gained by being a student of the "Natesha School of Bharatanatyam".


Priya Bhat
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2013

I have been dancing for close to fifteen years now and under the tutelage of Suman Nayak, I have come harness a deep love for dancing. The Natesha School of Bharatanatyam instilled the discipline needed to be a dancer while nurturing my love for the art form. Dance has also allowed me to keep a deep connection to my culture that I will forever be grateful for. Bharatanatyam has become an integral part of who I am as a person and, thanks to Suman Akka, I am able to develop that passion and be able to share it with the world.


Anagha Srirangam
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2013

After over ten years of dancing, The Natesha School of Bharatanatyam has become a sacred space for me. The school has given me the opportunity to not only establish a strong connection to my cultural roots, but it has also helped me develop a passion for the hard work and persistence that is essential to the art form. Suman Akka’s dedication to the purity of Bharatanatyam is truly inspiring. I will be forever grateful for the Natesha School for helping me discover my love for dance.


Divya Kothandapani
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2009

I have been learning Bharatanatyam for the past 13 years with the Natesha School of Dance, where I've learnt not only how to be a strong dancer, but also how to be a dedicated student, a supportive team member, and a passionate person. After completing my arangetram and moving across the country for college, I missed learning and performing so much, that I even started a classical dance team at my university. Looking back, each dance practice, theory lesson, stage rehearsal, and performance has been incredibly memorable and this is only because of the hard work that Suman Akka has instilled in me to give for every experience.


Archana Ramesh
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2009


Aarthi Reddy
Arangetram / Solo Performance: 2008

Even though I was part of the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam for only six years, my experience as a student has been incredibly enriching. Suman Akka’s enthusiasm for Bharatanatyam spreads to of all her students and their families, and dance class quickly became my favorite part of the week for the joy and fulfillment it always brought; all of the effort she poured into preparing us for every performance pushed me to work my hardest. Most importantly, Suman Akka taught us how to both honor and share our culture through classical dance. From performing in temples and at festivals, to Annual Day recitals and my arangetram, dancing with the Natesha School of Bharatanatyam has allowed me to grow as an individual as well as express myself with strength and grace.



2023 Recital

FEBRUARY 26 Solo performance by Mihika Nadig at Purandaradasa Aradhana, Shiva Vishnu Temple
MARCH 01 -
APRIL 04 Suman Nayak & Students performing at the Indian Music and Dance Festival under the direction of Dr. C. M. Venkatachalam
Visit IFAASD for more information
APRIL 16 Group performance at Kannada Sangha
MAY 29 Natesha School 15th Anniversary program
MAY 31 School year Ends
JUNE 01 -
JULY 01 -
SEPTEMBER 05 School Year Begins

  1. Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego, CA (IFAASD) - Click here for more info
  2. SRUTI - India's premier magazine for performing arts - click here for more info
  3. NARTHAKI - Online news channel for Indian Dance - click here for more info

Contact Natesha School

Cell No: [858] 349 8293 | E-mail: natesha.dance@gmail.com

Conducting classes in Poway & Scripps Ranch