Mallika Sarabhai during performance in NCPA 50 Years celebration at Experimental TheatreTheatre, NCPA on 29/11/2019. Photo By : NARENDRA DANGIYA

Mallika Sarabhai

Artist, activist, dancer and choreographer

Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers, in constant demand as a soloist and with her own dance company, Darpana, creating and performing both classical and contemporary works. She has a Ph.D. in organisational behaviour and has been the co-director of the prestigious arts institution, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, for nearly 40 years.

Mallika first made a name for herself in India as a film actress but soon was recognised as an exceptional young dancer in the classical forms of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. At 18, she won the first of many awards.

She first came to international notice as an actress when she played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata for 5 years, first in French and then English, performing in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, Japan and Scotland.

Always an activist for education, human rights and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for social change. In 1989 she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. Since then Mallika has created numerous stage productions which have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues and advocated change, several of which have toured internationally as well as throughout India.

In the mid 90s Mallika began to develop her own contemporary dance vocabulary and went on to create short and full-length works that have been presented throughout India and in over 50 countries of the world.