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Sonal Mansingh Biography

Sonal Mansingh is one of the leading exponents of Odissi and is a well known social activist, thinker researcher, orator, choreographer and teacher. Besides Odissi, she is also the master of Bharatnatyam.

Born into an open minded family, Sonal took to dance professionally from 1962 onwards. She took training in Bharatnatyam under Prof. U.S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi. She learnt Odissi from various renowned gurus. This world known dancer is also a trained Hindustani Classical vocalist. She learnt it under prof. K.G. Ginge. This versatile dancer has also undergone a special training in Abhinaya from late Mylapore and is also a trained Kuchipudi dancer. An expert in Chhau and Indian music, she has made many choreographies based on Indian mythology. She is also concerned about the social issues like saving the environment, emancipation of woman and her dance portrays all these issues.

This alumni of Elphinston College, Bombay Mumbai founded the Delhi based Center for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in 1977. Here she imparts training to students in Indian classical dance. Sonal is a member of the Executive Board and General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, National Cultural Fund, Ministry of Culture. She is also the trustee of the largest institution in India, the Indira Gandhi National Center For Arts

Sonal Mansigh has been honored with many awards. She is the youngest recipient to get Padma Bhushan awarded by the President of India in 1992.

Other awards received by Sonal Mansingh include:

  • Singer Mani, Haridas Sangeet Sammelan
  • Nritya Choodamani, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras
  • State Award, Sahiya Kala Parishad, New Delhi
  • Natya Kala Ratna, National Cultural Oraganisation, Delhi
  • Nrityakal Kaumudi, Kala Priya, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh
  • National Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi
  • Rajeev Gandhi Excellence award, New Delhi
  • Padma Bhushan,1992
  • Indira Priyadarshini award, New Delhi
  • Medal of Friendship from the Council of State of Cuba
  • Sanatam Nritya Samman
  • Padma Vibhushan, 2003

A documentary titled ‘Sonal’ has been made on her life by Prakash Jha, which was released on May 1, 2002 at India Habitat Center on her 59th birthday.