What People Say About Us

I decided to study at Darpana after viewing a 14 minute long video titled "Sanskrit Drama" for a class I was taking at Vassar. In this video, Mrinalini Sarabhai (the woman I would later grow to know as Amma), speaks these words:
"To the artist: show the world the true reality of life. And from it, those who need ugliness will pick out ugliness. Those who want beauty will pick out beauty. Those who want lust will enjoy it, for it is entertainment. But somewhere inside of them, something—if it is a beautiful piece of art—something is going to speak."

In my 4 months in India, Darpana became this art and I the world; and from Darpana, Oh! the things I picked out. What I learned during my semester at DIPAC far exceeds the limits of the classroom or the pages of a book. I fell in love with Ahmedabad and with being a part of my neighborhood and community every bit as much as I fell in love with the art I was studying. If you walk through the Darpana gates with an open mind and an even more open heart, something inside of you will begin to speak so fluently, you will wonder where it has been all these years.

Upon returning to the states, everyone I encounter asks me if I plan on returning to India, or if this was a one-time experience. I look at them dumbfounded, and then remember that they can't possibly know how silly their question sounds; they weren't there with me. So, I smile and nod, "Of course I will go back. I have to go back."

Amanda Culp
Student, Vassar College

The DIPAC program showed me how to wield the power of performance and media for the cause of social justice. The performing arts aspects helped me to think creatively about methods of conveying social problems, and possible solutions to those problems, to an audience. The most beneficial aspect of the program for me was the video production project. I learned video editing skills that I have used in creating class projects and will be able to employ in developing videos for the organizations with whom I work. Darpana's knowledgeable and extremely talented staff was a joy to learn from and interact with, and I emphatically recommend the DIPAC program to those interested in Indian culture, performing arts, or creating social change.

Evan Rohar
Student, Evergreen State College

We spent two high-energy weeks of significant learning at DIPAC, working with a wide range of methods for using the expressive arts to foster social change and empowerment.  Each morning began with a focused and centering yoga session.  From there, students participated in movement and improvisation, martial arts, and puppetry workshops as well as attended screenings and presentations by independent filmmakers and documentary television producers.  They worked in small groups to create, script, film, and edit their own interpretative and mixed-genre pieces, and they drew on political themes to develop creative movement pieces with live music to hone their skills in interpretative dance.  In addition, they were exposed to the power of developmental and community television as a means to raise consciousness and bring social issues to disadvantaged populations.  All our work and study was hands-on with full participation and instruction by Mallika Sarabhai and Darpana's resident artists, each one of which is highly creative and totally dedicated to his or her particular specialty.  Master teachers, all!! We were warmly welcomed at Darpana where everyone gave generously of time and talent to create an exciting, multi-disciplinary, supportive, and for many of our students, life-changing experience.
Jeanne Hahn (Political Economy & History) and Ratna Roy (Dance & English)
Faculty, Evergreen State College


Ideal for a wide range of students and faculty, in drama, dance and Darpana’s other performing arts, obviously. But also in Indian culture, language and religious studies, in village and international development in Gandhian and Peace Studies, and in the use of multi media in development and education.

Rolf and Ronnie Lynton
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Triangle Consortium in South Asian Studies

For me as an artist, this is a very stimulating environment, especially in the blend of creative people and their deep connection to traditional arts. Collaborating with Darpana has led me into a new perspective on the creative process and the value of art.

Gilat Parag
Professor of Animation and Filmmaker, Jaffa