Sonal Mansingh

A Brief Profile

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The iconic cultural personality of India, Dr. SONAL MANSINGH is acknowledged as master of cultural interpretations and an exemplary teacher who explains inter-linkages with philosophy, literature, sculpture and mythological parables through lectures and dance. She is a great scholar and seasoned art administrator who has performed, given lectures and conducted workshops in 90 countries of the world.

Sonal has been unique among dancers who has mastered multiple Indian classical dance forms from different parts of India like Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Chhau. Her concern for nagging issues of ecological imbalance, environmental protection, empowerment of women and social justice specially for weaker sections of society have led to creation of numerous path-breaking choreographies.

As a Founder-President of Centre for Indian Classical Dances (1977) she has trained several talented performers who are carrying the message of Indian culture all over the world.

As a Trustee of Ritambhara Gramin Vikas Trust she quite often visits Saputara and educates tribal girls of Dang who study at RITAMBHARA Vishwa Vidya Peeth.

Sonal’s ever vibrant creativity has given new dimensions to known repertories practiced in India, latest being the Naatya-Katha. This is the ancient form of story-telling which Sonal has embellished with her own singing, narrative skills and
abhinaya i.e. the art of expressive communication through hand-gestures, words and a face that reflects myriad emotions.

Her book ‘Incredible India – Classical Dances’ published by Wisdom Tree and book on her ‘Devpriya’ in Hindi written by Yatindra Mishra have gained wide readership. She had also contributed number of articles on dance and Indian culture in prestigious magazines and newspapers.

She is the recipient of the high civilian honours of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan from the President of India.

She is also nominated as one of the NAVARATNAs for Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Her significant contribution to Indian culture has been recognized with numerous awards and honours notably Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Nritya Choodamani, Kalidas Samman, Hanumant Samman, Kameshwari (from Adi Shaktipeeth of Kamakhya in Assam), Three honorary doctorates – Doctor of Sciences (Honoris Causa) from G.B. Pant University, Uttarakhand, D.Litt Honoris Causa from Sambalpur University, Orissa and Honorary Doctorate from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar and appointment as the Honorary Professor of the University of Delhi.

She has served as chairperson of National Sangeet Natak Akademi and as Trustee of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

She conceptulised RUMJHUM viz Indian dances v/s Non-Indian dances for DD National’s Dance Reality Show Bharat ki Shaan – RUMJHUM which had 56 episodes. Her wisdom as Guru-Shreshtha (Supreme Master) on the show was lauded globally.

Sonal speaks several Indian languages in addition to German. Her training in classical Indian music (vocal) systems both from South and North as well as the intricacies of the indigenous music system of Odisha (Orissa) add rare depth and dimension to her work. Her experience and knowledge of global dance and music is another important factor in moulding a nobler and inclusive vision of performing arts as instruments for balanced evolution and enrichment of successive generations.