Kala Ratna Series – Our Art Gems

Sugam Culture & Heritage (SCH) is proud to bring to you a 10-episode series of talk-back sessions with some of the most influential artistes in Malaysia.

Episode 8 – Datuk Ramli Ibrahim (click here to watch)

Described by international dance connoisseurs as one of the finest artistes of his generation, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim is a cultural icon who has performed internationally for more than four decades. His rigorous training in ballet, modern, and Indian classical dance reflects not only his diverse technical accomplishment, but also his multifaceted approach to the performing arts.

As artistic director of Sutra Dance Theatre, Datuk Ramli has choreographed stunning works and nurtured some of the brightest dance talents from Malaysia, many of whom have won international acclaim in both traditional and contemporary scenes.

Datuk Ramli has been instrumental in transforming the dance scenario in Malaysia to greater heights. Today, he is known for single‐handedly establishing Odissi as a recognisable and widely appreciated dance form in the country, while creating a distinctively Malaysian interpretation of this ancient tradition.

As a pioneer, Datuk Ramli is recognised internationally within the arts scene, evident in the numerous accolades conferred upon him. He is acknowledged as a ‘Living Heritage’ by the Government of Malaysia as the United Nations declared him to be UNESCO Living Treasure in 2012.

The President of India awarded Datuk Ramli the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 2011, the first ever for a Malaysian. The award is recognised as the highest national honour conferred on performing artists, gurus and scholars of the performing arts. In April 2018, he was conferred the Padma Shri Award, from the Government of India, one of the country’s top civilian honours.

The Chairman of Sutra Foundation is now focused on Sutra Dance Outreach Program. He called the outreach programme Ground Zero, as the students did not have any experience in dance, and the challenge was to empower them through a dance discipline that was attractive and challenging to unleash their creative potential. Simultaneously, Sutra is also keen to discover new dance talents outside Kuala Lumpur to continue the legacy of our next generation of dancers.

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