Google on Friday paid tribute to noted dancer and choreographer Mrinalini Sarabhai on her 100th birth anniversary.
The doodle was created by Sudeepti Tucker, an illustrator from New Delhi. It depicts Sarabhai standing with a parasol in an auditorium as her students dance on stage in the background.
Sarabhai was born in Kerala on May 11, 1918, to women’s rights activist Ammukutty and lawyer Subbarama Swaminadhan. She was trained in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. She died in January 2016 at the age of 97.
Sarabhai was also an environmentalist, a writer, poet and an avid book-lover. She had also served as the chairperson of the Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Association, where she helped many artisans and craftsmen to establish self-help groups.
For her contribution to dance, Sarabhai won the Padma Shri in 1968, the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1970, the Padma Bhushan in 1992 and the Kalidas Sanman in 1996.
She once explained what dance meant to her:
“Continuously through the years people ask me, ‘What is dance to you?’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 fulfilment 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.”
“Sarabhai quickly developed her own technique, spirit, and strength by training at a young age,” Google said in its blog describing the doodle. “One of the few classical dancers trained in more than one form, Sarabhai was able to quickly build a career in choreography and teaching.”
It added: “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.”
In 1949, she established the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad. “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,” Google added.