Meet Sonia Mukherji.
Sonia is trained in the indian classical dance form Oddissi, and has also explored contemporary, hip-hop, Bollywood, and Indian folk dance styles. She was selected from 5000 applicants in North America and Canada to be a contestant in Dance India Dance USA Season 1 on Zee TV. Notable performances include Alvin Ailey, Kennedy Center, the Met, MAD Museum, Martha Stewart studio, and the Smithsonian. Sonia is currently performing with the Sa Dance Company in New York.
We Interviewed Sonia…
1. What is your dance background?
My primary training is in Oddissi, though my curiosity has led me to explore other dance styles such as Contemporary, Kathak, Bollywood, and hip hop. My favorite way of learning is by collaborating in projects with dancers who come from a different dance background. I enjoy letting a range of sensibilities seep into and inform my own dance style.
2. Tell Us About Your First Dance Performance.
My dance debut occurred at the age of 5, when I danced at the Rabindra Sadan Institute in Patna, India. I had been training for a year at that time.
Sa has taken on a culture of it’s own. To me it embodies all that I think dance represents: intellect, innovation, passion, and the human spirit. And yes, love. Love between the dancers, love between us and the dance that we do, love for our audience, love for those who inspire us like Alvin Ailey and Mamata Shankar, who inspire us to push forward. It’s this love that binds us and helps us give in to the art form in the most pure and authentic way.
4. Who are your role models?
In dance, the late Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, who I was lucky enough to learn Oddissi from. Besides reviving the dance form, he was also a philosopher, scholar, painter, and musician. On a personal level, my grandfather who was a freedom fighter and received the tamra patra for his contribution in India’s liberation movement. From him I get my fire. My grandmother, who was a Math teacher and school principal at a time when very few women worked. From her I get my independence and passion for women’s equality.
5. Will you be dancing at 80?
Hopefully wearing a fabulous Indian sari, bright red lipstick, and anklets!
6. If you were stuck in a room and could only do one dance move over and over again what would it be?
I hope to never be stuck in a room. I get claustrophobic very easily.
7. One word that describes dance to you.
Courage. Like anything else in life, you won’t break any boundaries unless you are brave enough to.