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Obituary: Mrinalini Sarabhai

Press Release

Legendary Indian classical dancer, Mrinalini Sarabhai, has died from complications related to old age, her family said. She was 97.

Sarabhai was admitted to a hospital in the western Indian city of Ahmadabad with an infection, her son Kartikeya Sarabhai said. She died in the hospital Thursday after her condition deteriorated overnight.

"My mother Mrinalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance," her daughter and noted classical Indian dancer Mallika Sarabhai said in a Facebook post.

Sarabhai was born in the southern Indian state of Kerala and was educated in Switzerland and Kolkata, where she began her training as a dancer. She did a short stint at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, before returning to India and learning two classical Indian dance forms from the leading dancers of the day.

She began her career as a dancer of the classical Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam, but also mastered Kathakali, a stylized form of Indian dance-drama from her home state of Kerala.

In 1948, Sarabhai set up the Darpana Academy of Performing Art in Ahmadabad. Over the decades, the academy has become a leading center in India for training young dancers, musicians and puppeteers.

In a dance career spanning more than seven decades, Sarabhai gave hundreds of performances and trained thousands of dancers and choreographers. Besides choreographing more than 300 dance-dramas, she has written several novels, plays, poetry and stories for children.

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