www.artindia.net is privileged to present this page on SONAL MANSINGH as part of its series on outstanding artists of India.
Sonal Mansingh is an unparalleled representative of the ancient but ever new art dance traditions of India. She has been on stage since 1964. Her role as a social activist, thinker, researcher, orator, choreographer and teacher combines admirably with her dancing further enriching the tradition. She founded the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in 1977 in Delhi and has trained many young men and women, some of who have earned critical acclaim already. She is the youngest recipient of the high honour of 'Padma Bhushan' among artists in India.
A leading exponent of Odissi, the ancient and traditional dance style of Orissa with a background of decades of training in Bharata Natyam, Chhau (martial dance from Orissa) and Indian music she has made original choreographic works based on Indian mythology as well as contemporary issues. Lately her work has veered more and more towards issues concerning women and environment
According to Sonal Mansingh, "A dancer is not just a dancer. She is part of this environment. She does not exist in a vacuum. Society and its happenings have an impact on all individuals, specially artists. If an art form does not reflect the existing milieu, it stagnates." Dance can be the medium through which she can present the viewpoint of those who often do not get a platform to speak."
Through seminars, round table discussions, writings, teaching workshops and lectures, she shares her perception and concerns. When Delhi hosted a two day seminar on "WOMEN, ENVIRONMENT and CULTURE" Sonal was the keynote speaker.
For Sonal, the universal message of artistic traditions is an extra factor binding diverse cultures and societies. She believes that countries can come close together in a global atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect through intra-cultural understanding.
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