Mrinalini Sarabhai – A Dancing Sensation

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Dancing is a work of art and Mrinalini Sarabhai was a master of it. Even after her sad demise, her work in the field of music, theatre, and dance still resounds all over the world. Her humongous contribution to fine arts and the performing arts is legendary, and maybe that is why the Google Doodle honours her today. She received several awards for her priceless work up till the end of her life.


mrinalini sarabhai


Here are a few facts that you must know about Mrinalini Sarabhai to understand what a legendary individual she was!



She spent her childhood in Switzerland and received her first training in dance at the Dalcroze school, which teaches a Western technique of dance movements. Later she went on to study in Shantiniketan under the guidance of the legendary poet and freedom fighter Rabindranath Tagore and realised her true calling in the work of performing arts.


Recommended Reading: Dadasaheb Phalke’s – The Legend of Indian Cinema


She also went to the United States for a short while where she enrolled herself at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.


On coming back to India, she started her training in Bharatanatyam under Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and her training in Kathakali under the renowned Guru Thakazhi Kunchu Kurup. She is one of the few people to be trained in two types of dance forms.


Contribution to Performing Arts:


  • She has not only been a dancing sensation but has also written several plays, novels and short stories for Children.
  • She has composed more than three hundred dance dramas.
  • Her academy called Darpana Academy of Performing Arts is situated in Ahmedabad and imparts training in Dance, Drama, Music and Puppetry.

List of Awards Received


  • In 1992, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan as part of the National Civilian Awards.
  • She was the first Indian to receive the award of medal and Diploma of the French association Archives Internationales de la DanseIn 1994.
  • In 1994 She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship in New Delhi.
  • In 1995 she was awarded the Padma Shree.
  • In 1997 She was honoured with the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (LittD) by the University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • In 2013, she became the first recipient of the Nishagandhi Puraskaram, an annual award of the Government of Kerala.

On her birthday, the Google Doodle honoured her with the following lines.


“Today’s Doodle celebrates Indian classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai, who quickly developed her own technique, spirit, and strength by training at a young age, studying both the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam and the classical dance-drama of Kathakali. One of the few classical dancers trained in more than one form, Sarabhai was able to quickly build a career in choreography and teaching. Despite seeing the continuous evolution of dance forms over her multi-decade career, she was inspired to choreograph more than three hundred dance dramas with a strong base of classical tradition behind them… Happy 100th birthday, Mrinalini Sarabhai!”


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