Ramli Ibrahim is an established Odissi dancer, but is also trained in Ballet and Bharatnatyam. “I’m an Indian classical dancer who specialises in Odissi and Bharatanatyam, but who also happens to be trained in Ballet and modern dance techniques,” says Ramli.
He adds, “I am a product of Australian ballet. I worked as a professional dancer with the Sydney Dance Company. This explains my contemporary approach even in presenting Indian classical dance.”
While he was in Australia, Ramli was simultaneously working on Bharatnatyam, and soon his interest graduated to Odissi. “My involvement with Indian classical dance deepened as I became increasingly aware of my psychic connection and resonance with Asia, particularly India,” he says, explaining his fascination with Indian classical dance forms. Ramli still seeks to “integrate the physical, emotional and the spiritual” in his dance. This, he says, concurs with his approach to his journey in life.
The dancer will be opening his show Vision of Forever in the city tomorrow; the proceeds of which will go to a 26-year-old NGO, Vidya. It is a tour performance by Sutra Productions (Ramli’s dance company) and will move to Indore and Vadodara next.
Ramli has chosen an Odissi repertoire from three major gurus of this tradition: Durga Charan Ranbir, Gajendra Kumar Panda and Deba Prasad Das.
Talking about the act, he says, “Vision of Forever is a full program of Odissi based on the Deba Prasad parampara and inspired by a totally Shaivite repertoire.”
The dance will be performed by seven Malaysian trained Odissi dancers and will thematically feature an acolyte’s journey as he is revealed the divine vision of the universal spirit through dance.
“Apart of the Shaivite thrust of the repertoire, audiences will also become acquainted with the Deba Prasad Odissi style in a convincing manner. His broad style especially his tandava (vigorous) signature compositions, together with the strong underlying Tantric message, will be amply demonstrated in this production.”
Ask him how was the charity show planned, and he replies, “I do try not to embark on anything with any agenda, however noble. One dances because one wants to dance. This is the best philosophy.”
Besides Ramli, some of the other participating dancers in the concert include Rathimalar, Geethika Sree, Nishah Devi, Michelle Chang, Thrisherna and Guna.
Ramli belives that dance is one of the great empowering forces for women in India. “I really think that after subsistence, one of the great challenges to corporate and governmental institutions, is to be convinced that their social responsibility to the arts, is also paramount. The latter is such a cohesive and harmonious force crucial to the positive empowerment of the community, at par with caring for our environment, animal welfare, education and other noble causes.”