Lestor Horton award for Sohini Ray 
 
 June 5, 2009 

 
On May 31, 2009 the Dance Resource Centre of Los Angeles announced the list of Lestor Horton awardees. The 2008 Lester Horton Award for "outstanding achievement in World Dance" goes to Los Angeles based Sohini Ray for 'Gita-Govinda.'  Presented by Sohini Ray's Manipuri Dance Visions Ensemble, it was performed in the World Festival of Sacred Music in September 2008. 

The Lestor Horton Award honors excellence in live concert dance in Los Angeles and are given in several categories male solo, female solo, outstanding performance of company, choreography (short form and long form), music, costume design, set design, lighting design and world dance. 

Similar to the Academy awards in film and Grammy awards in music it is done in a two-step process nomination by vote of members and final selection by the jury. The awards are announced in a ceremony in April-May of the following year, again similar to the Academies and the Grammies. 
  
In contrast to media based work like film or music CD, awards in live performance forms in America are judged locally but recognized nationally. Dance awards in the United States are given in five major cities, namely; the Lestor Horton Award in Los Angeles, Isadora Duncan Award in San Francisco, Bessies in New York, Ruth Page Award in Chicago and the Metro DC Award in Washington DC. Being a nominee or a winner in any of the above awards immediately places a dancer or a dance company in national spotlight. 

Among other classical Indian dancers in Los Angeles, Horton nominees have included Malathi Iyengar and Amrapali Ambegaonkar. The only Indian dancer to have won it in the past is Ramaa Bharadvaj. The debut production of Manipuri Dance Visions Ensemble 'Harao-Kummei: Joyful Celebrations in Manipuri Dance' was nominated in 2007.  Their second production 'Gita Govinda' won it in 2008.