Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mrinalini Sarabhai

Mrinalini Sarabhai was a distinguished Indian Classical Dance exponent who trained several thousand aspirant students in various dance forms like Bhartanatyam,Mohiniyattam,Kuchipudi,Kathakali,Manipuri etc.She earned much fame and prestige for these dance forms by performing marvelously at many Indian Cities and in many foreign countries also.This accomplished dancer and choreographer was a writer also who published many novels,plays and stories for children as well as books about dance forms.
Mrinalini Sarabhai was a member of 'Palakkad Ottappalam Aanakkara Vadakkethu family' of Kerala.Her father Dr.Swaminathan was a well known advocate who practiced at Chennai and her mother Ammu Swaminathan was a social activist,Indian Freedom fighter and later member of the Indian  Parliament.Captain Lakshmi who worked along with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in the Indian Freedom movement was her sister.

Mrinalini had the ambition to become an expert dancer from her childhood itself.After finishing her school studies, she got training in Western classical dance from Switzerland.After returning to India she joined 'Shantiniketan' at Calcutta and became a favorite disciple of Rabindranath Tagore.While studying there she manifested the main roles of all dance dramas of Rabindranath Tagore.She later  also got opportunity to get trained at American Academy of Dramatic Arts for a short period.After returning to India she underwent ' Bharatanatyam Classical dance training from 'Guru' Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Kathakali from 'Guru' Thakazhy Kunchu Kurup.She also learnt  some other classical dance varieties and became and became an exponent by her humble dedication and hard work.She used to say that dance was her life and breath.

In 1942 she got married to Dr.Vikram Sarabhai , father of Indian Space program.
In the year 1946 she started the 'Darpana Academy of Performing Arts' an Institute for training students mainly  in classical dance forms  at Ahmedabad in Gujarat in a very beautiful, enchanting location on the banks of a river.She trained numerous students in various classical dance forms,performed her graceful dances and dance dramas at numerous stages in India and abroad,Choreographed more than 300 dance dramas and was always deeply involved and dedicated for the upheaval of all art forms.
She also served as the Chairman of the Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation Ltd.
She was given Padma Shree from Government of India in 1965 and she received Padma Bhushan from Government of India in 1992.
She was also recipient of 'Pravasi Kalaratna Award' from Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy.She also received awards for Kathakali, and many other National and International awards for Classical dance.
Her daughter Mallika Sarabhai is a renowned and accomplished Classical dancer.
Mrinalini Sarabhai

passed away on 21st January 2016 at Ahmedabad at the age of 97.


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