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Sohini Ray received the Devdasi National award in Bhubaneswar on September 26th, 2013 – the first Manipuri dancer to receive this honor.

Sohini roySohini Ray received the Devdasi National award in Bhubaneswar, India yesterday (September 26, 2013) – the first Manipuri dancer to receive this honor.

“It was an overwhelming experience to be sitting on stage with seven other outstanding dancers of my generation each representing a classical dance of India. I was thrilled to be performing the previous night with my fellow awardees – some of the most respected names in the Indian dance scene today – whose friendship and collegiality I cherished throughout the three-day festival”, says Sohini Ray.

“As I stood on the stage to give my acceptance speech many people and many moments passed in front of my eyes. I wish I could thank all of them individually. The Jet Airways and Indian Airlines officers in Imphal airport who waived fees for excess baggage again and again when they realized I was carrying dance costumes and drums for my dance company alone. From the peak of Mountain Koubru to the nungthong of Sugnu each locality I have been in Meitei leipak the people have showered me with blessings – the many times people have let me brave many curfews and bandhs to make sure that I get to do what I want. My dance alma maters Manipuri Nartanalaya, Kolkata and Imphal, the former Dance department in UCLA nurtured me in ways more than one; and the high standard of my peers in the Los Angeles dance community has inspired me every day. Lastly, Guruji, late Guru Bipin Singh – who had predicted this day on another September morning in 1974, singlehandedly mentored me for more than twenty five years – challenging and protecting me every day till his death in January 2000. My debt to him is too large to be expressed in words. All I can say that I miss him and I wish he was here to see his prediction come true “, she added in her fb wall.

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