SONAL MANSINGH’S KALA YATRA

India Today - - INSIDE - —Chinki Sinha

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

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