July 16, 2020

When all you want to do is Dance

When all you want to do is Dance
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009 - Sonali Mishra is an Odissi dancer, writer, and researcher currently based in
Odisha, India. Born and raised in the United States, Sonali was initiated into
Odissi dance in her early teens by Smt. Chitralekha, Smt. Ellora, and Sri Devraj
Patnaik in Toronto.

Since 1995, she has been travelling regularly to Orissa, India for further study and refinement. Sonali received her initial training in India at the Orissa Dance Academy under Gurus Sri Bichitrananda Swain and Sri Ramesh Chandra Jena, with additional guidance from Smt. Aruna Mohanty and Smt.Nandita Behera under the direct supervision of Guru Sri Gangadhar Pradhan.

Her desire to further understand the intricacies of the Guru Kelucharan
Mohapatra gharana of Odissi, led her to Srjan, the institute founded by this
legendary Guru, where she has been undergoing rigorous training with Guru
Smt. Sujata Mohapatra and Guru Sri Ratikant Mohapatra.
Sonali is currently receiving additional training with Guru Smt. Kumkum Lal in
New Delhi.

Sonali has performed as a soloist in numerous venues and festivals in the US,
Canada, Germany, India, Spain, Portugal, Austria, France, the UK, and Malaysia.
In 2019, Sonali collaborated with Pakistani-American poet, Hinnah Mian for a production titled ‘Naari: Honouring the Feminine,’ an Odissi repertoire-poetry narrative dedicated to women. This production was presented in London, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin and Michigan.

Sonali is a recipient of the ‘2020 Devi Award for Advancing Arts and Culture
through Dance’ by the New Indian Express Group presented by Honourable
Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik. She received the ‘2018 Aarya Award
for Women Acheivers’ in the field of Arts and Culture by the Bhubaneswar/Delhi-
based Parichay Foundation. She was felicitated by the organization
‘Monomanini’ in Bhubaneswar for her commitment to promoting Odissi dance in

Sonali’s commitment to artistic excellence, combined with her dedication to
cultivating intellectual discourse in the field of Odissi, have carved a unique niche
for her in the dance field. Her rare combination of Eastern sensibilities and
Western education, have allowed her to successfully cross social and cultural
barriers to make Odissi more accessible globally. Sonali can easily be
considered a “Global Ambassador” of Odissi dance.

In 2014, Sonali founded an online quarterly magazine, Global Rasika, dedicated
to cultivate critical thinking and discourse in the field of Odissi dance.

Sonali received her BA in English from the University of Michigan and an MS in
Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University with a
concentration on Cultural Policy and Development. She relocated to
Bhubaneswar from New York in 2011 where she continues to train, perform, and
conduct her research.