Dance Malaysia based Ramli Ibrahim one of the fine ambassadors of Indian dance traditions expresses his passion for the art form. MADHAVI PURANAM
R amli Ibrahim, Chairman, Sutra Dance Theatre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a remarkable, multi faceted Malaysian who is a savvy Art Manager, a Choreographer par excellence in Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Contemporary genres, an able and respected teacher who has nurtured excellent talent and above all a blazing performer. His journey began at the Royal Military College, Malaysia and then he went to Australia where he graduated in Mechanical Engineering and Ballet. He continued with the learning of Bharatanatyam under Adyar. K. Lakshman and finally started learning Odissi under the tutelage of Deba Prasad Das. Today, Ramli invests Sutra with his vision and industry which has made exemplary contribution towards fostering the traditional and contemporary performing arts of India and Malaysia.
Claiming not to be an innovator in tradition, he sticks to displaying the traditional choreographies of his gurus, albeit he renders them with finesse cultivated through rigorous practice. “Art finds its own level despite change being a constant and I use a variety of genres as my tools and refuse to be the slave of definitions. I am always willing to imbibe and continue to revel in the wonders of creativity.
Though dance is the sum total of a person's experience, one need not assimilate all into one's work,” reflects Ramli sitting in the inspiring sylvan surroundings of his theatre in Kuala Lumpur.
A self confessed embellisher and innovator of group choreographies, Ramli's works are marked with varied motifs, metaphors and finer nuances, attention to finest details, professional execution by exquisitely trained dancers and enriched with impressive visual, light and stage design. He reveals, “My choreographies offer the dancer a release from the confinement of adavus and allows them to delve deep into the body's creativity”.
What is his training methodology? Apt is the answer, “I encourage my students to acquire a basic training in ballet, lay stress on the warm-up exercises, arrange the sequence, repetition and speed of execution of the steps on the wooden floor of my studio to keep injuries at bay and also incorporate multiple techniques and influences from Yoga, Kraton, Butoh, etc. I encourage them to explore their creativity and give their best to me and to themselves”
While being very appreciative of his talented students, Ramli expresses concern about the depletion of the dedicated disciples for classical dances. Citing an incredible encounter with nature at its austere best, during his climb to the Mt. Everest base camp, as a cleansing and defining spiritual moment in his life; Ramli remarks in profound contemplation, “Spirituality is one area, I cannot imbue in my students for it is a private journey towards enlightenment to be embarked individually by each one of them.”
Endowed with deep love and passion for his art, a good soul, a fine artistic sensibility and exemplary professionalism, Ramli is at the moment engrossed mounting programs in Malaysia and India to the delight of the connoisseurs of dance.
My choreographies allows dancers to delve deep into the body's creativity