Sonali Skandan Biography

Sonali Skandan Biography:

Sonali is a passionate dancer and choreographer whose work has been described as “natural yet tense with the pull of mystery.” (, and highlighting the “interplay of the sculptural and rhythmic aspects of Indian dance was compelling…riveting” (Alastair Macaulay, NY Times).  She represents a generation of artists that are dedicated to the art outside of its homeland. Sonali has been an NYC resident for over 30 years, and her work reflects the urban, dynamic and diverse atmosphere inherent in the city. This hybridity allows her to infuse her art with varying sensibilities and perspectives with which she creates works that are unique and fresh. Sonali is the Artistic Director of Jiva Performing Arts, where she teaches and creates engaging dance productions to increase the accessibility of the classical arts, and Jiva Dance, a professional dance company presenting compelling works based on Bharatanatyam. Sonali and her company have received praise in the New York Times, Financial Times, and The NJ Star Ledger, among others and have presented Bharatanatyam worldwide. Sonali has choreographed four full-length productions to much critical acclaim, and continues to create and present unique works. She is a producer and curator as well, having created three acclaimed dance on camera festivals.

Sonali has been on the dance faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, Queens College, as well as the first Indian dance faculty for the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive. Her work has been commissioned by 92StY, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Greenspace and in 2017, under Sonali’s leadership, Jiva Dance was also the first Indian Classical dance company to be awarded the CUNY Dance Initiative residency at Queens College and in the same year awarded the inaugural Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund. Sonali has received support for her works from the NEA, NY State Council on the Arts and The NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs.  Sonali also featured in Juilliard’s online course for Bharatanatyam. She is a longtime student of the legendary C.V. Chandrasekhar and Bragha Bessell of India  and is receiving creative mentorship with celebrated dancer and choreographer Maya Kulkarni with whom she is exploring and creating rare poetic works.

Sonali's Website