Eminent dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai dies at 97 

Ahmedabad, Jan 21 (IANS) Legendary danseuse and cultural doyen Mrinalini Sarabhai, who was also a Padma Bhushan awardee, died on Thursday at a hospital here following age-related complications, her son said. She was 97.

Fondly known as ‘Amma’, Mrinalini Sarabhai was admitted to a city-based hospital on Wednesday morning after she fell ill.

Her son and scientist Kartikeya Sarabhai said: “She (Mrinalini) had an infection which led to the deterioration of her health.”

The dance exponent’s daughter Mallika Sarabhai took to Facebook to announce her celebrated mother’s death.

“My mother Mrinalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance,” Mallika, who’s a dancer too, wrote in a heartfelt tribute to her mother.

Mrinalini Sarabhai’s last rites will be conducted at Pethapur village in the district of Gandhinagar, which is the state capital. Pethapur is the hub of the block making industry of Gujarat and Mrinalini often visited there because of her keen interest in handicrafts.

Born on May 11, 1918 in Kerala, she married Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of India’s space science programme, in 1942.

Daughter of former member of parliament Ammu Swamimanathan, she spent her childhood in Switzerland and received her first lessons at the Dalcroze school, an institute of Western technique of dance movements.

She then went to Santiniketan, set up by internationally known poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore. She also honed her skills for a short time at the American Academic of Dramatic Acts in the US.

Upon her return to India, Mrinalini began her training in the south Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam under Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and the classical dance-drama of Kathakali under the legendary Guru Thakazhi Kunchu Kurup.

She was the founder director of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, an institute for imparting training in dance, drama, music and puppetry.

Mrinalini Sarabhai had received many awards and citations in recognition of her contribution to art.

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