Void left after Mrinalini’s demise hard to fill: Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi : Expressing deep condolences on the passing away of noted denseuse and culture icon Mrinalini Sarabhai, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the void left behind her will be hard to fill.

Gandhi recalled Mrinalini’s long career as a classical dancer and her contribution towards popularising the Indian classical dance forms.

The legendary classical dancer passed away in Ahmedabad this morning. She was 97 years old.

Born in Kerala on May 11, 1918, Mrinalini was the daughter of social worker and former Member of Parliament Ammu Swaminathan. Her father, Dr. Swaminathan was a renowned barrister at the Madras High Court and principal of the Madras Law College.

She spent her childhood in Switzerland, where, she received her first lessons at the Dalcroze School, a Western technique of dance movements. She was educated at Santiniketan under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore where she realised her true calling.

Mrinalini married well-known Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai ,who is considered to be the Father of the Indian Space Program in 1942.

Mrinalini was the founder director of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. She was well-known for her experimental reforms in Bharatnatyam and Kathakali, which helped to preserve and popularise the traditional art form.

Besides choreographing more than three hundred dance dramas and training over 18000 students, Mrilani was the author of many novels, poetry, plays and stories for children.

She was the chairperson of the Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation Ltd.

She was one of the trustees of the Sarvodaya International Trust, an organisation for the promotion of Gandhian ideals, and the chairperson of the Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD). She also wrote an autobiography titled ‘Mrinalini Sarabhai: The Voice of the Heart’. (ANI)