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Popular dancer Amala Shankar dies at 101, Mamata Banerjee pays condolence

Veteran dancer from Bengal Amala Shankar passed away at the age of 101 today

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    Popular dancer from Kolkata Amala Shankar breathed her last. The 101-year-old passed away in Kolkata on Friday morning. She was the wife of legedary dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar, who popularized Indian fusion dance across the globe.

    Amala learnt dancing in 1930 and became a path-breaker for the women back then, who were not usually allowed to perform on public stages. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid her condolence tweeting, "Saddened at the passing away of legendary danseuse Amala Di (Shankar). She was an inspiration for dancers across generations. Her demise is an end of an era. We had conferred the Banga Bibhushan award on her in 2011. My heartfelt condolences to her family and her many admirers."

    Here's the tweet:

    The dancer was born to a merchant family as Amala Nandy in 1919 in Jessore, which is now a part of Bangladesh. She was interested in education and arts since childhood. Amala met her husband by luck in France in 1930, at the tender age of 11. On her mother Hemangini Devi's request, Amala was left alone with the troupe. She impressed Uday Shankar with her dance and expressions, after which Uday and Amala were successful in their career. He proposed her in 1939 and they tied the knot in 1942.

    The couple had two children - Ananda, who is a composer and dancer, and Mamata, actor and dancer. Amala had also appeared in Uday Shankar's movie 'Kalpana' in 1948. She has been part of the Cannes Film Festival too, for the movie. The film was made after Uday's brother Pandit Ravi Shankar approached Martin Scorcese's World Cinema Foundation for funds.

    Amala was also awarded Banga Vibhushan by the Bengal government in 2011 for her contribution in art. She also received Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna award in 2012. Apart from a dancer, Amala was also a painter and writer.

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