Ibrahim, Ramli (1953--) By Katrak, Ketu H.
Dancer-choreographer Ramli Ibrahim has a unique heritage as a Muslim who grew up in Malaysia, training in ballet, contemporary dance, and two Indian classical dance styles—Bharatanatyam under Adyar K. Lakshman and Odissi under the late Guru Deba Prasad Das. An engineering scholarship took young Ibrahim to Australia, where he studied ballet. He later performed with the Sydney Dance Company and the Australia Dance Company. Ibrahim remarks, “I use a variety of genres as my tools. I refuse to be the slave of definitions” (Puranam 2012). However, his abiding passion is with Odissi from which he innovates. Ibrahim’s work, remarks Leela Venkataraman, “defies categorisation … His creativity is an integrated experience transcending national, religious and racial boundaries” (Venkataraman 2004). Ibrahim is the recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Artist Award, 1999, and two Lifetime Achievement Awards from Boh Cameronian (2003) and from Angarag (2006), and the Indian government’s Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2011). He was also recognized as a “Living Heritage” individual by the government of Malaysia (2012).