Unique Odissi

Malaysian dancer Ramli Ibrahim enthralls Delhi

When Ganjam – an Odissi production conceptualised by Malaysian dancer-choreographer Ramli Ibrahim – premiered at Istana Budaya Festival in Kuala Lumpur last year, it included 23 Malaysian dancers who brought alive on stage the powerful folk dances and music traditions of the culture-rich Ganjam district of southern Odisha. During its recent Delhi debut, the trimmed down troupe consisted of nine dancers, but the result was no less spectacular. Ibrahim is recognised as a dynamic force in Malaysian theatre, who has mastered both Bharatanatyam and Odissi, apart from giving direction to contemporary dance. “I started dancing when I was 3,” says Ibrahim, who studied to be a mechanical engineer. He adds, “I learnt Malay folk dances and ballet, having performed with the Sydney Dance Company, and Bharatanatyam from Adyar K Lakshman. But, in Odissi, I find the scope to exercise my choreographic interpretations, unlike the structured Bharatanatyam items. My choreography is influenced by performing art genres such as Makyong and Menora, and Malay martial art form of Silat, besides Indian classical dance idioms.”

– Poonam Goel

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