Malaysia’s popular and respected Indian classical dancer, Ramli Ibrahim, has received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 2011. This is the first time that a Malaysian has received this award.
Sangeet Natak Akademi , also known as The National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama, is a performing arts academy set up by India’s government. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award is the highest recognition given to performing artists, gurus and scholars of the performing arts.
Ramli Ibrahim received the award from Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, at a special ceremony held at the Presidential House. Ramli received the award in recognition for his contributions to Odissi, one of the oldest surviving dance forms of India on the basis of archaeological evidences.
“The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award is something I will revel in,” said Ramli after receiving the honour. “Being the first Malaysian to receive the prestigious award, it is something to be treasured. It has been a great struggle to be someone in the Indian classical dance and certainly in Odissi, as with over one billion population, there is already a critical mass of very talented people in India. Hence, one has got to be really good to be able to stand out and be recognised. So the recognition is something I will treasure,” he told Bernama in an interview.
Ramli Ibrahim is a cultural icon in Malaysia. He is accomplished in ballet, modern and Indian classical dance. He has been performing internationally for three decades, and has choreographed many stunning works. He is instrumental in Malaysia for transforming the dance scene by charting new paths and single-handedly establishing Odissi as an appreciative dance form. He is currently the Chairman of the Sutra Foundation, an accomplishment which he spearheaded as his legacy to Malaysia.
Ramli Ibrahim, together with 35 other artistes from different fields who received the prestigious recognition, each received a cash price of Rs 1 lakh, which is RM5,894, an angavastram which is a long silk scarf worn on the shoulder by men and a tamrapatra, an engraved copper plate.
Watch Ramli and the Sutra Dance group perform:
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