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Mallika Sarabhai | Dance to Change the World: The 6th Sarah Kailath Memorial Lecture

Lecture | September 15 | 4-6 p.m. | Bechtel Engineering Center, Sibley Auditorium


Mallika Sarabhai, Activist and Indian classical dancer

Raka Ray, Professor, Department of Sociology, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, and Department of Geography, UC Berkeley

Institute for South Asia Studies, Sarah Kailath Chair in India Studies, SACHI, Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, Natya at Berkeley, Tarangini School of Kathak Dance, Asia Society Northern California, Department of Music


ISAS is proud to announce the 6th Sarah Kailath Memorial Lecture - a lecture series on the theme of Women and Leadership. This lecture series has been established in memory of Sarah Kailath (February 5, 1941 - October 15, 2008), a long-time supporter of ISAS’s mission and activities and in whose name the Institute holds an endowed chair titled the Sarah Kailath Chair in India Studies.

Our sixth Sarah Kailath Memorial lecturer will be acclaimed activist and Indian classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai.

Speaker Bio

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 PhD in organisational behaviour and has been the co-director of the prestigious arts institution, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, for nearly 30 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 Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi. At 18, she won the first of many awards.

She first came to international notice 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, North America, Australia, Japan and Scotland

Always an activist for societal education and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for 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 productions 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 which have been presented in North America, Scotland, Singapore, China and Australia, as well as in India.

The Sarah Kailath Memorial Lecture on "Women and Leadership," derives from the Sarah Kailath Chair in India Studies. The chair was established by Thomas Kailath, and Vinita and Narendra Gupta in honor of Dr. Kailath's wife, Sarah Kailath, to enhance awareness and knowledge of issues relating to the Indian subcontinent. The current Sarah Kailath Chair is Munis D. Faruqui, Chair, Institute for South Asia Studies and Professor, South and Southeast Asian Studies. Professors Lawrence Cohen, Raka Ray, Robert P. Goldman and Thomas Metcalf previously held the Chair.

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Please note that parking is not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.


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