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Mrinalini Sarabhai

The world-renowned dancer/choreographer was recently honoured with the Legends of India award. She looks back on her 79 years.

Mrinalini Sarabhai
Mrinalini Sarabhai
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How would you define dance?

My life. My passion. It’s everything that I can recall or share and comprehend. Whatever I perceive it’s through the eyes of dance—be it nature, the environment—I see it as a continuum of life through the prisms of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

How do you remain connected with your passion?

I am writing my biography and that keeps me occupied.

Many of your contemporaries were also great dancers. What kind of a relationship did you share with them?

We were all good friends and admired each other’s works. Till very recently some of us like Kumudini (Lakhia), Chandralekha and others would often meet up.

What do you feel about the state of classical dance in India?

I experimented a lot but always performed classical first wherever I danced.

Your advice to the dancers of today.

I want to tell them there are no short-cuts to success. They must hold on to the technically correct method and technique.

Who did you admire as a dancer?

Many, but I liked Uday Shankar very much.

Did you get offers from Bollywood as well?

I did but never gave in to it. I don’t call Bollywood dancing art.

Do you like fusion in dance?

It needs to be done carefully and can be presented separately without overlapping.

Do you like critics?

Most are not valid and don’t explain themselves. Sunil Kothari was different.

What about audiences?

I loved Paris, the mecca of fine arts. People abroad pay more attention to details, respect our art more. Also Bengalis.

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