“The real self of an artist lies in art, so when an artist performs, all the pain, trauma and tension gets released through art, be it dancing, painting, singing, writing or even martial arts.” – Mrinalini Sarabhai
We’ve lost some of the most celebrated artists recently, and while we hadn’t even recovered from that loss, even if it is just on television, another news that shocked us was the demise of the legendary classical dancer and choreographer Mrinalini Sarabhai on 21st January, 2016.
Mrinalini Sarabhai was a classical dancer, known for her tremendous work in the world of dance. She founded the Darpana Academy Of Performing Arts, which caters to various performing arts like dance, music, drama and puppetry and was also the first woman to learn the all-male style of Kathakali.
For her, dance was a way to raise her voice against issues like social discrimination, environmental issues and communalism. To break free from the monotony of doing the same thing everyday, Mrinalini found different ways to make classical dance interesting by introducing still dance performances and by taking inspiration from stories and social issues to choreograph various performances.
She broke the norms of adorning heavy clothing and make up during dance performances and adopted minimal clothes and make up, so that the beauty of dance and movement would not be overshadowed just by the appearance of the artist.
Mrinalini was educated in Shantiniketan, a small town in West Bengal, under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore. She had also won numerous awards by the Indian Government, including the Padma Bhushan in 1922 and Padma Shri in 1965, for her contribution in the art of dance, especially Bharatnatyam and Kathakali.
She will always be remembered for her excellence in giving the Indian classical art forms a world renowned recognition with her splendid contribution.