By Chris Teh
Over 300 spectators attended the “Ganjam” dance performance by Sutra Dance Theatre held at the RTM auditorium, Ipoh on Friday, November 29.
Present were Perak Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and his wife, Datin Seri Nomee Ashikin Mohammed Radzi. The show was organised by the Ipoh Fine Arts Society.
The hour-long show was helmed by renowned Indian classical dancer, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim who has over 30 years of dancing experience under his belt. Ramli led a team of 24 dancers, including himself.
According to the dancer, “Ganjam” refers to a southern region in India named Odisha, which was part of Kalinga (former name of the region), rich in folk dances and theatre genres.
“Many medieval artists were born in Ganjam. Their works are still being performed by present-day Odissi dancers,” said Ramli. “‘Ganjam’ is an infusion of new and adventurous elements and energy into the present repertoire of Odissi.”
The four sequences in the frenetic dance, which pay homage to Indian deities, are “Mangalacharan”, “Sthai”, “Rama Bhajana” and “Yogini-Moksha”, accentuated by vivid and colourful lighting designed by visual artist, Sivarajah Natarajan.
When met after his performance, Ramli thanked the Ipoh Fine Arts Society for the opportunity to showcase “Ganjam”.
“I’m impressed with what the Ipoh City Council has done to preserve heritage elements around the city,” he told Ipoh Echo. “I have a very strong connection with Ipoh. The town is changing for the better, thus arts and culture should be a part of the landscape. Everyone must be given the opportunity to experience it.”
Ramli concluded by saying, “Hopefully, Ipoh will maintain its slow-paced lifestyle and avoid being another town bustling with developments.”
The Sutra Foundation will tour South India next year. For more information, go to its website at www.sutrafoundation.org.my.