Sonal Mansingh is one of the finest classical dancers of the country, who has made her mark in the field of Dance. Born on 1st May 1943 in Mumbai, Sonal Mansingh is a multifarious personality. Sonal is best known for her Odissi dance; nevertheless she is a social reformer, philosopher, examiner, speaker, choreographer and trainer too. She is prominent for dance of Odissi, but Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, and Chhau (Classical Dances) also make her dancing style.
Her family enrooted the values of India and its culture while upbringing their child. Sonal's mother was a pious lady, who had a love for creative art. Even, Grandfather of Sonal was a man, who believed in equality of gender. So, the great dancer got the support from both her mother and grandfather to learn dance. In Bangalore, Sonal started learning Bharatnatyam from Prof. U S Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi. She was imparted training by the teachers of PandanallurSchool too.
Sonal got inclined towards Odissi, when the dance style was getting invigorated and restructured. She learnt almost all the dance numbers, which are currently in the repository of Odissi. Sonal aggrandized her dance by acquiring the different strands of Odissa culture. During this augmentation, she also joined the performing arts of Chhau and Pala Sangeet. Sonal has been highly acclaimed for her mastery over the dance of Odissi.
In 1977, Sonal Mansingh laid the foundation of "Centre for Indian Classical Dances" (CICD). The organization has been working to promote performing arts and nurturing the cultural legacy of India. It has produced many stage presentations and trained thousands of students. `Indradhanush', `Manavatta', `Mera Bharat' and `Draupadi' are some of her popular composed works based on legends of Indian mythology and existing matters.
The exceptional talent of Sonal has accredited her with many awards and honors. Sonal has won Nritya Choodamani (1985), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986), Bhai Veer Singh International Award (1990), Rajiv Gandhi International Award (1991) and Medals of Friendship from State Council of Vietnam & Cuba. On the top of it, she also became the youngest receiver to get the title of 'Padma Bhushan' in 1992.
To add to her honor, she was awarded the title of 'Padma Vibhushan' in 2003 and herewith she became the first woman dancer to collect this prestigious award in sovereign India. On her completing 40 years of dancing, Sonal was complimented by a documentary film by the title of "SONAL", made by Prakash Jha. Sonal also actively works for the upliftment of women and preserving nature. Till date, Sonal spellbound people with her beats of dance steps.