Sonal Mansingh dancing career which started in 1962, after her arangetram in Mumbai, and in 1977, she founded, Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in New Delhi.
Though, her real training in dance started when at age 18, despite her family's opposition, she went to Bangalore, to learn Bharatanatyam from Prof. U. S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi at age 18, abhinaya from Mylapore Gowri Ammal, and later started learning Odissi from Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra in 1965.
To mark the completion of her 40 years in dancing in 2002, noted Hindi film Director, Prakash Jha made a documentary film on her, title Sonal, which also won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film for the year.
Sonal Mansingh was born in Mumbai, second of three children to Arvind and Poornima Pakvasa, a noted social worker from Gujarat and Padma Vibhushan winner in 2004. Her grandfather was Mangal Das Pakvasa, a freedom fighter, and one of the first five Governors of India.
Over the years, dance has taken her all over the world and brought her many awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1992), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 , and the Padma Vibhushan, India's the second highest civilian award, in 2003; making her the second woman Dancer in India to receive such an honour after Balasaraswati. This was followed by Kalidas Samman of Madhya Pradesh government, in 2006 and on April 21, 2007, she was conferred with Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by G.B. Pant University, Uttarakhand at Pantnagar and Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Sambalpur University.