Google has today dedicated a doodle on its homepage to Mrinalini Sarabhai. The doodle remembers the legendary Indian classical dancer on her 100th birth anniversary.
“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,” Google writes on its blog.
Today’s doodle has been illustrated by Sudeepti Tucker, and it depicts Sarabhai with her signature parasol. She is seen looking over her students performing at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts auditorium, which she found with her husband in 1949.
Mrinalini Sarabhai was born in Kerala on May 11, 1918. Her father S Swaminathan was a lawyer at the Madras High Court, while her mother A V Ammakutty, was a social worker. Sarabhai started her training at a fairly young age, studying both the classical dance forms of Bharatanatyam and 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,” the Google doodle blog adds. “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.”
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In 1942, Mrinalini was married to notable physicist Vikram Sarabhai who is considered to be the Father of the Indian Space Program. With her husband, Sarabhai founded the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. “The small dance academy grew to become not only a study center for diverse art forms, but one that used the power of arts to bring about positive change to the critical issues facing society,” the blog reads.
Sarabhai was awarded the Padma Shri in 1965, and Padma Bhushan in 1992. She was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship New Delhi in 1994. In 2013, she also received the Nishagandhi Puraskaram state annual award from the Government of Kerala. Sarabhai passed away at the age of 97 in January 2016.