SONAL MANSINGH’S KALA YATRA
Forty years ago, Sonal Mansingh established the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD). It began, she says, when a girl named Swati Gupta arrived at her door, asking to be taught to dance. No amount of refusal proved enough to dissuade her—and so, Mansingh says, “on April 30, 1977, in a rented house in Defence Colony, I registered my institution.” Four decades later, the Centre is still going strong. To celebrate its run thus far, the CICD will present a three day festival at Kamani Auditorium from April 30 to May 2, titled ‘Kala Yatra: A Celebration of Indian Art Traditions’. At 73, Mansingh is still energetic. They say that one is formed by what one desires—in her case, it was passion. A passion to dance, to explore performance. “There was this flame burning inside me that pushed me,” she says. She even told her students that they would have to give dancing their all. That she would reserve the right to call them at any hour, for however long—and there should be no questions asked and no complaints made. These were the conditions she laid on her students, and the conditions under which she herself learned. Her discipline and commitment have served her well—Mansingh has been the recipient of both the Padma Vibhushan (2003) and the Padma Bhushan (1992), among other honours. Even so, awards do not drive her. “Never chase anything,” she says. “Live your passion.” The end of the festival will be marked by the launch of her biography, titled Sonal Mansingh: A Life Like No Other, written by Sujata Prasad. “That’s my entire life in there,” says Mansingh.
SONAL MANSINGH At 73, the doyenne of dance is still going strong