What do you what to learn from working with Gary as your mentor?
Execution of an idea, from the concept to involving various partners, creative people to a final product.
How to pitch a dance piece or an idea and write a good email and connect to various arts organisations
How to collaborate, approach artists and learn networking skills.
How I may explore movement vocabulary, different ways of exploring a theme that challenges and explore my creative boundaries?
Practical advice on making funding applications stand out
Tell us about yourself and your company
I am a freelance Kathak dance artist, performer, choreographer, Kathak tutor at Morley College London and run Mansi Dabral Kathak Dance Academy. I did 13 years of training at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi India, received “Shringaar Mani”, national award for Kathak & National scholarship in India.
In 2011 I received an Exceptional Achievement Award from the Mayor of Ealing for my contribution in the field of dance. I have worked with creative partners like Akademi, Beeja, South Asian Arts UK, Kala Sangam, SBDC, Annapurna Indian dance company & DanceXchange. My recent work includes short dance film ” Twin headed bird” based on an Ancient Indian story presented in contemporary narrative commissioned by Annapurna Indian dance Company, a project funded by ACE, ‘Kanyaa – the daughter’ about role of woman & importance of gender equality, premiered at Leap
Festival, Leeds, supported by SAA UK, “Journeys of Hope” tribute to key workers during the pandemic, ” Akademi’s “Heritage project, kathak workshop as a Guest tutor for DanceXchange’s Yuva Gati CAT programme. I create Kathak-based videos on my YouTube channel, exploring current topics.
What inspires your work?
To me,” art is an inspiration from Nature, a reflection of our perspective and medium to voice our emotions and experiences”.
I am inspired by rich Indian literature, texts, stories to read and present in the current narrative, and the soulful rich music and rhythm that enhances the aesthetics of dance. I am inspired by the emotions ragas create in the mind of the dancer and the audience; and it’s ability to connect to the audience without any barrier.
My work involves creating a unique movement vocabulary to create new dance pieces and uses “Abhinaya” or acting as a strong focal point to the dance.
How did you first get in involved with dance?
I started learning Kathak at the age of 7 at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, India but gave my first dance performance at the age of 5.
Throughout topper and merit scholarship holder at the institute, I gave many solo performances and was part of choreographies by gurus, and actively performances in India and abroad.
Dance to me is “getting in your element. Elevating self to a higher realm, discovering plethora of energy, in sync with self and feeling the bliss”.