Mrinalini Sarabhai

Mrinalini Sarabhai

Mrinalini Sarabhai was an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer from Madras who, like Uday Shankar before her, helped popularise classical Indian dance in Britain. She trained in Bharata-natya and Kathkali and by her early 20s had toured India, Europe and America with her company. Her first London appearance was in 1949 at St Martin's Theatre in London's West End. Reviewers commended not just the technical proficiency of the company, but the fact that they presented the dances in their classical form without any Westernising influence.

That same year Mrinalini Sarabhai founded the Darpana Academy of the Performing Arts in Ahmedabad in north west India. Darpana was the first school to teach south Indian dance in the region, and also taught drama, music and puppetry. Her daughter Mallika is also a dancer and appeared in Peter Brook's film The Mahabharata. She now runs the school, and their students come from all over India.