35th Annual Gala Artists

Mallika Sarabhai

Dr. Mallika Sarabhai

Dr. Mallika Sarabhai has been one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers for over three decades. In constant demand as a soloist and with Darpana, her dance company, she creates and performs both classical and contemporary works. She has a PhD in organizational behavior and has been honorary director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for 40 years.

She first came to international notice when she played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata for five years, first in French and then English, with performances in France, North America, Australia, Japan, and Scotland. With her smoldering beauty, mellifluous voice, and sensual elegance she dazzled audiences with her brilliant and moving portrayal of the wife of the five Pandava brothers.

Dance to Change the World

For Share & Care, the honor of partnering with Mallika for this year’s Gala feels like a match made in heaven.

Frequently using humor to address serious issues, Mallika’s work is unique in its commitment to aesthetic and artistic perfection while staying deeply committed to social justice issues such as poverty, dowry deaths, female infanticide, rape, non-violence, ecology, and gender/caste disparities.

In 1989 she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. In the mid-1990s Mallika began to develop her own contemporary dance vocabulary and went on to create short and full-length works that have been presented in India and in over 50 other countries. In 1997, under her leadership the Darpana Academy created the Center for Non-Violence Through the Arts, the first organization in India to connect social justice work with the arts.  

Justice Through the Arts

Mallika dedicates her drive and her background in theater, dance, and music to constantly challenge the status quo. She uses her knowledge of ancient art forms and traditions of India to address current realities in India, and her eloquent and impassioned fight for justice through the arts has not gone unnoticed. She has been praised for her strong leadership and has even been placed under house arrest when she spoke out against the tacit government policies that oppress the minorities in India. She is also one of the few artists in India to take her art directly to slum dwellers, with audience members often joining in for impromptu storytelling of some of the injustices they face. She not only enables them to voice their concerns, she often helps to organize their self­-empowerment efforts as well.

In her own words, Mallika’s choreography “stems out of a desperate need to talk about an issue. That is the engine of my work. It is my role as an artist to instigate uncomfortable discussion.”

Revanta Sarabhai

Revanta Sarabha

Revanta Sarabhai is a performer, choreographer, multimedia designer, and filmmaker. Having made his solo Indian classical dance-debut at age 8, he has been performing professionally and touring internationally with the Darpana Performance Group since 1999, as well as independently since 2010. With training in classical, folk, contemporary, and martial art forms from India and across the world, Revanta went on to earn a masters in Performance & Creative Research at Roehampton University in 2010.

With strong foundations in Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayattu, and years of experience working with contemporary dance, Revanta has developed a movement vocabulary that brings together the expressiveness and geometry of Indian classical forms, with the dynamic energy and fluidity of other styles. Revanta’s work as a dancer/choreographer has been showcased at several prestigious venues and festivals across Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2011 his work was featured at the Alchemy festival at the Southbank Centre, London. His first feature length work, LDR, toured the Netherlands in 2012 and was presented at the Europalia Festival in Brussels in 2014. He was commissioned by the Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands to create several works that were presented at the Cadance Festival for Modern Dance and their annual India Dans Festival in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. His first major ensemble work, RU/APTURE, premiered in December 2014 at the InterArt Festival. In 2015, Revanta was commissioned to choreograph a major dance production to Philip Glass’ opera Satyagraha, which played to sold out shows in Holland.

Rooted in traditional dance and performance forms, Revanta incorporates movement, theatre, text, and multimedia to create cutting-edge work that is immersive and responsive to the society and times we live in.

Pooja Purohit

Pooja Purohit

Pooja Purohit began her Bharatanatyam training under Guru Kanaklata Sakurikar, before joining the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts to pursue a professional career under the tutelage of Dr. Mallika Sarabhai in 2008. With Darpana, Pooja expanded her performance vocabulary to contemporary dance, Kalaripayattu martial arts, theatre & voice, and aerial work. She has performed in numerous productions with the professional company across India, the Middle East, Europe, and America. In 2012, Pooja worked with French choreographers Nicole and Nobert Corsino as part of a unique multimedia-dance project titled Bangalore Fictions. In 2014 she danced in two productions as part of the Korzo India Dans Festival in Holland, choreographed by Revanta Sarabhai. In 2015, she was part of a major commissioned project that rendered the Philip Glass opera, Satyagraha, as a dance-production at the Holland India Festival.

During her time at Darpana, she has also worked with several international choreographers and directors. Pooja is a qualified dance teacher and has conducted a number of workshops teaching Indian classical and folk dance. She is also a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.

Hemvati Shah

Hemvati Shah

Hemvati Shah’s passion for dance started at an early age. She has been training in Bharatanatyam since 2000 and in Kuchipudi since 2007, under Smita Shastri. She joined the Darpana performing group in 2014 where she furthered her training in Bharatanatyam under Maheshwari Nagarajan and also expanded her vocabulary to contemporary dance. During her time at Darpana, she has danced in several productions choreographed by Mallika and Revanta Sarabhai. As a soloist, Hemvati has traveled and performed at several noteworthy festivals in India.

She has also trained in Yoga and Hindustani vocal music.

Jayan Nair

Jayan Nair comes from a family of musicians. He trained as a child with Gana Bhushanam Sankara Narayana, and later with Guru K. N. Purushottaman at Darpana, who also taught him the rare string instrument, the gottuvadhyam.

Since 1991 Jayan has been a vocalist with Darpana and has composed and sung for many productions with Mrinalini and Mallika Sarabhai. He has also toured extensively with the Darpana Performing Group. He teaches vocal music at Darpana and is adept at teaching workshops on rhythm and music. At Darpana he has had the opportunity to work, perform, and record with folk, tribal, and contemporary musicians from around India and the world.