About Mallika: The Creator
Gender Bender - co-director, performer, and choreographer
A fun lesson on gender injustice for young people created by Mallika Sarabhai and Yadavan Chandran.
Spark - co-director, performer, and choreographer
BBC India and Darpana came together to celebrate Indian women in sports on the 8th of March, International Women's Day. With a musical score by T.M.Krishna, the dance was conceived, directed, filmed, and edited by Yadavan Chandran.
Arid - co-director, performer, and choreographer
Whatever the naysayers contend, the effects of climate change and the damage we are doing to the earth, are everywhere. From the pandemic that has transformed us into scared homebodies to the tsunamis, floods, and droughts we are warned every day of the precipice we hurtle towards. To bring this message artfully to the world on World Water Day for the CNBC network, Yadavan Chandran created this piece by and on Mallika Sarabhai. The poem is by John Agard, the music by Raag Sethi, and the vocals by Aditi Ramesh.
Still I Rise - performer, and choreographer
Mallika Sarabhai's contemporary cross-cultural interpretation of Maya Angelou's I Rise, was premiered at the Tribeca Arts Centre for the Battery Dance Company and Jonathan Hollander in ….. It was created digitally in 2020 for #ifwedonotrise on a day when 500 civil society organizations got together to speak up against the shrinking of democratic values and institutions in India.
Dance Unlocked - co-director, performer, and choreographer
That was a world of greed, of want, of winning, of more, more, more. This must be the world of caring, giving, sharing, cooperation, and generosity. Towards this new world, Darpana and Natarani bring the dance of togetherness and reaching out. May the spirit of dance liberate.
The Colours Of Her Heart - co-director, performer, choreographer
With British composer-singer Samia Malik and director-writer Yadavan Chandran, this six-women performance traces the real stories of the performers and their victories over trauma, and violence, paving th4e way for a dialogue in a post-MeToo world.
Mother River - co-director, performer, choreographer
Mother River is about birth and renewal, a re-finding of soul energy and of dreams. It is an ode to the Sabarmati, to the old Natarani, to the new, and to Darpana’s founder, Mrinalini. It is about the cycles of life, the lows and highs that are inevitable, and about finding the ananda through it all.
Finding My Voice - co-director, performer, choreographer
The lyrics for Bharata Natyam were written many hundred years ago when humanity’s primary concern was the longing to find God or be united with the eternal One. The lyrics were primarily in Tamil and Telugu with later dancers bringing in the voices of Kabir, Meera, and other medieval poets. Today some of us wish to speak of other, more current issues and thoughts, still using the sophistry of the dance style of Bharata Natyam. Finding My Voice brings to the audience’s thoughts on global warming, live-in relationships, an atheist's relationship with the Goddess, sexual preferences, and the growing into reliance in the world, all in the strictest and most complex Pandanallur Bharatanatyam vocabulary.
Kadak Badshahi - performer, choreographer
A scintillating, super successful Happening on the 600-year history of Ahmedabad city.
Unearthed - principal performer and storyteller, choreographer
Based on the Marquez story, The Very Old Man With The Enormous Wings, this was an adaptation based in India, a story of prejudice, superstition, and hatred for ‘the other’.
And Lalla Sang - choreographer and principal performer
Based on the writings of the 12th-century mystic Lal Ded and directed by Yadavan Chandran, this magical performance brought to life the surreal imagery of beautiful verse.
With Love - co-director, choreographer, scriptwriter and performer
Based on the life, work, and times of Rabindranath Tagore, a performance co-directed with Steve Miller, the dance theatre production brought Tagore to the stage, highlighting his little-known love for Argentinian writer and poet Victoria O’campo.
Sunehri Aashayen –director, performer, choreographer
Sunehri Aashayen is a performance specially commissioned for the Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates dealing, in an entertaining and sometimes lighthearted way, with the many problems - psychological, economic, infrastructural, and physical - that face the laborers from the Sub-continent on a daily basis. After research and consultations with the Embassy on the conditions of these laborers, the performance was created to try to explore ways in which the workers themselves can help themselves. Amongst others, the piece tries to touch upon barely spoken issues such as the absolute loneliness and feelings of isolation, alcoholism, and the propensity to waste money rather than save.
Khadi Gaatha - director, performer, choreographer
KhadiGaatha traces the history of khadi and handlooms in India. The piece highlights Gandhiji’s use of khadi as an instrument to dislodge the British Raj, as well as traces references to the metaphor of weaving, of the warp and the weft, in Hindu mythology and in the Vedas. The performance is a slice of India’s history from the Vedic age to the present.
Phedre in India, Phedre in Hindi - performer
The title role of Racine’s Phedre is an Indo-French production of this play, directed by Astrid Bas and premiered at the 32nd Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival in Ahmedabad in December 2007.
Unheard Voices is a physical, musical theatre piece, based on Harsh Mander’s book of the same name. It gives voice to five of India’s millions of voiceless people through a series of monologues. These are the marginalized, the unseen; these are the real lives of the faces and hands of the beggars knocking at our car window at the traffic light or the children running across the street delivering chai to the offices. In an energy packed performance, you meetpeople who have confronted life on their own terms but have never accepted fate lying down. These are stores of struggle and courage. And of victories.
India : Then, Now, Forever
India lives daily in multiple realities. The tribals of Mizoram and their lifestyles is as much a part of the country as are the hip hop dancers of Bollywood. This show is a travel through time and incorporates classical, folk, tribal and contemporary dance to celebrate India’s multiculturalism and plurality. The show takes the audience from the temples of southern India to the forests of the Dangs and the minds of today’s creators.
A celebration of the leela of Krishna, through his avatars as Vishnu, and his play with the gopas and gopikas, this short piece highlights the strength of Bharata Natyam as a style, and of the innovative use of group choreography.
Staying Alive - choreographer, performer
A dance-theatre production celebrating the triumph of the human spirit, portraying a series of solos with narrated monologues about suicide and the choices we make. Written and directed by Shivani Tibrewala, music by Milind Chitnavis and Arneya Naik, choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai, videoscape by Yadavan Chandran. Performed in English
Western Woman – choreographer/performer
A collaboration between Italian director Rita Maffei and Mallika Sarabhai, produced by Teatro Stabile, Udine Italy and Darpana. Western Woman, as the title suggests, relates the experience of a woman from the Western World. A woman who embarks on a journey to a foreign land and once there, finds herself being forced to confront her fears. Hers are the fears of many westerners, namely the inability to face and come to terms with that which is “foreign”, that which is different, that which alarms, that from which they hide.
Sva Kranti:A Revolution Within – creator, writer, director, choreographer,performer
In this intensely personal performance, Mallika Sarabhai uses multimedia, theatre, music and dance to trace the journey of women seekers of truth and to contextualize them in the world today. Performed in English, Hindi and Gujarati.
The Bird in My Ceiling – director
A dance-theatre production based on poems written by inmates from a mental asylum and inspired by those on the Hindu Muslim riots by Dipti Nawal. Choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai. Performed in English
The Dance of Life – director/choreographer/performer
Inspired by the history of Indian science, from Brahmagupta and Aryabhata to Charaka, Bhaskara and scientists of the 20th century, The Dance of Life creates visual meaning from abstractions. Sequences include the discovery of the place holder zero, the early development of algebra, the discovery and development of Ayurveda and the first nose surgery, Emperor Jehangir’s research into the physiognomy of birds and the work of scientists JC Bose, Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. Performed in English
The Dancing Princesses - Choreographer/performer
Based on Scottish playwright Symon Macintyre’s adaptation of The Brothers Grimm story of the same name.
Bacchantes - performer
The Bacchantes is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides in 410 B.C. The story is about the clash between two different worlds that are not able to meet together. This production borders between reality and fiction, using the medium of television as an omnipresent and un-trustable witness of today’s tragedies, that make us lose all sense of reality, between tradition and the contemporary. The Bacchantes speak of today and of the necessity of meeting and recognizing differences. This is the only chance we have to live without violence in a world of peace. Performed in Gujarati?
Patra Mitro - performer
Inspired by the famous play “Love Letters” and set over 40 years, spanning the formation of separate states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Directed by Naushil Mehta. Co-starring Darshan Jariwala. Performed in Gujarati
Two Lives in Dance … And Two More – co-writer/co-director/performer
In this fascinating production, three generations Sarabhais relate their lives in a unique biography of thinkers and performers, using spoken words, movement and dance. Performed in English by Mrinalini, Mallika, Revanta and Anahita Sarabhai
An Idea Named Mira – writer/director/choreographer/performer
In this multimedia work Mallika Sarabhai explores through dance, music, theatre and video imagery what makes Mira relevant today. Written & directed by Mallika Sarabhai, co-choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai & Daksha Mashruwala, projection design by Yadavan Chandran. Commissioned by the Forum of World Religions, Los Angeles. Performed in English
AENEID - performer
The Aeneid is one of the mythological epics of Latin literature, written by the great poet Virgikio: it is the story of Aeneas’s adventure and misadventures in his quest for the founding of a new empire in Italy. Directed by Maximiliano Trojiani. Performed in English.
The Journey Inward : Devi Mahatmya – creator/director/performer
A multi dimensional performance based on Suzanne Ironbiter’s epic poem Devi (the Goddess) was conceived, directed & choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai with music by Indian rock composers Mark and Philipe Haydon; set & costume design by Australian Jodie Fried and projection design by Yadavan Chandran.Performed in English
In Search of the Goddess – writer/director/choreographer/performer
In this work Mallika Sarabhai explores the perception of Shakti through classical dance, theatre, storytelling and mime. Taking some traditional works from the repertoire of Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi, she juxtaposes these with her own contemporary interpretations of the Mother Goddess. Written, directed and choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai. Commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution, USA Performed in English
IK2- The Myth of Myths – choreographer/performer
A collaboration between Darpana, India and Pan Project, London. Performers Mallika Sarabhai (India) and Peter Badejo (Nigeria) explore and celebrates myths of India, West Africa, Europe and other lands, examining how through those myths people have searched for meaning in their lives, in their gods of the seasons or their gods against bad luck. Scripted & directed by John Martin, choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai. Performed in English
Conference of the Birds – co-director/performer
A 12th century Sufi tale by Farid Ud-Din Attar, a parable of the human race’s search for truth, for life’s meaning and for the self. Adapted by John Martin, co-directed by Mallika Sarabhai & John Martin, choreographed by Mrinalini Sarabhai. Performed in English and Hindi
A look at stories and storytelling in an urban TV age. Co-written by Symon Macintyre & Mallika Sarabhai, directed by Symon Macintyre, choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai Performed in English
V for... co-writer/choreographer/performer
This production tackles one of the most burning issues in India and throughout the world - the spread of violence. Using case histories, video images, quotations from violators and peacemakers, the performer invites the viewer to examine the violence within ourselves and how we deal with it. Co-written by Mallika Sarabhai & John Martin, directed by John Martin, choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai. Performed in English
Kaliyug: - The Circle of Paradise - performer
Kaliyug explores the corruption of values in this age. Produced by Pan Project, London which commissioned the script from Suniti Namjoshi. UK tour May - June 1993. Performed in English
Itan Kahani: The Story of Stories – choreographer/performer
The first ever collaboration between an Indian classical dancer and a Nigerian dancer, exploring the hidden agenda of folk stories. Toured UK in 1991 and 1992; playedthe Gulbenkien Foundation in Lisbon 1992; toured India in 1992; toured West Africa in 1993 and 1995. Produced by Pan Project, London. Scripted & directed by John Martin, choreography by Mallika Sarabhai. Performed in English
Sita’s Daughters – co-writer/choreographer/performer
A performance piece on women’s issues, developed with women activists, talking of issues like rape and female foeticides and the deification of women. The solo performance uses dance, music, story-telling, masks and mime and has been performed more than 300 times throughout India, UK, the US, Singapore and Africa. Co-written by Mallika Sarabhai & John Martin, directed by John Martin, choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai. Performed in Hindi, Gujarati or English
Shakti - The Power of Women – co-writer/choreographer/performer
A work on the image of Indian women. Through a fusion of dance, drama, mime, music and narrative, this performance penetrates the real feelings of heroines and legends created by men for their own purposes. Co-written by Mallika Sarabhai & John Martin, directed by John Martin, choreography by Mallika Sarabhai. Tour of Great Britain in 1989 and 1991 and a British Council tour of India in 1990. Performed in English
Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata - performer
Created the female lead, Draupadi, in both the French and English versions. Performed worldwide: at the Avignon Festival (France); Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York); Raleigh Studios (Los Angeles); Ginza Saison (Tokyo); Tramway (Glasgow), and as part of the Perth and Adelaide Festivals, Australia. Directed by Peter Brook.