Noted Danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai Passes Away

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Ahmedabad: Legendary danseuse and Padma Bhushan awardee, Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away in Ahmedabad today.

Her daughter Mallika Sarabhai writes on Facebook,  ‘My mother Mrinalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance’.

Sarabhai had been admitted to a hospital in Ahmedabad after she fell ill.

Kartikeya Sarabhai, Mrinalini’s son and founder of Centre of Environment Education (CEE) had told TOI, “She had an infection which led to her health deteriorating. Her condition is critical. We are by her side. She is 97 years old and is fighting her condition bravely.”

The 97-year-old danseuse, environmentalist, poet and writer was fondly called ‘Amma’ by her students. Wife of Vikram Sarabhai, Mrinalini Sarabhai was one of the first classical dancers to turn to choreography.

A dancer trained in Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattom, Mrinalini was born in Kerala, raised in Switzerland and educated in Shanthiniketan under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore. In her blog she wrote, “Dance I feel is a fundamental spontaneous expression of humankind from the crudest leaps around a fire to the sophisticated forms of the dynamic spirit within us. Creative work is a mystical experience. In literature, in dance, in drama, indeed in all the arts, the inspiration is the springboard for the final work. But inspiration is itself the result of many years of study, a deep knowledge of the subject and hard work.”

Espousing her passion for dance, she said, “Continuously through the years people ask me `What is dance to you’. My reply usually is `It is my breath, my passion my self’. Can anyone ever understand these words? There is no separateness in the dance and my entire being. It is the radiance of my spirit, that makes for the movements of my limbs. But what is meaningful, what is your fulfillment people ask me now. `You have achieved fame, you are called the goodness of dance. Why do you go on straining yourself?’ I have no answer. How can I tell them that I am only “I” when I dance. I am only that `I AM’ when I dance. I am only eternity when I dance. Silence is my response, movement my answer.”

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