Ram Gopal | Blender of Indian classical dance with balletic choreography

An Indian classical dancer with a modernist creative flair Ram Gopal was able to find niche in the international dance arena. His portrayal of Hindu mytholical hero,Krishna with the famous British ballerina Dame Alicia Markova in London was mon of the important milestones in his dancing career as well as in the cultural history of India.

Bissano Ram Gopal OBE,was born on 20th November 1912 in Bangalore,India. He had a Burmuse and a Rajput father who was a barrister. They lived in a mansion called Torquay Castle. Drawn to dance early on in his life,he learned Kathakali from Guru Kunju Kurup and chandu Panickar.

      Once he danced at the annual garden party of the Maharajah of Mysore without of his father permission,but fortunately the Maharaja persuaded his father to allow him receive further dance training and there was no turning back therefter. While tn this early forties,he discovered Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai of Pandanallur style under whom he started learning Bharatanatyam,followed by Muthukumaran Pillai.,he also learned Kathak from Sohanlal and Bowri Prasad and even Manipuri dance,all of which he assimilated into his choreographies in the comming decades.

      He was a soloist and toured extensively throughout his lengthy career. As a modernist,he blended the classical Indian dance with balletic choreography,and was among the first to showcase Indian classical dance in the West starting in the 1930s. Polish critic Tadeusz Zelenski called him "the Nijinsky of India".

     As a choreographer,he is most known for his productions,Legend of the Taj Mahal,Dance of the Setting Sun and Dances of India.

    He was invited to the United States by La Meri,an American dancer who specialized in non-Western forms of dance to tour with her through Asia in the 1930s. He made his solo debut in New York City on May 1,1938,at the 46th Street Theatre.In 1939,he was invited to paris,Sohanlal,and in the same year he made his London debut at the Aldwych Theatre to immediate fame and went on to meet not just Queen Mary,but also made friends with leading figures of the ballet. He returned to India with Ensa during the World War II.After the War,he returned and noted dancer,Nijinsky came to "inspect him" in 1948.

    During the 1960s,while living in Chelsea,London he was briefly married to Edith Alexander,though the marriage ended only a few years later,with her death. The couple had no children. He died in Norbury Care Home in Croydon,South London,UK.After cremation his ashes were scattered on the grounds of Lamorrise family chateau in South of France where,he had spent a decade as a house guest of Mrs Claude Lamorrise.


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