Ram Gopal - Muses & the Beau Monde
Bissano Ram Gopal OBE, born 20 November 1912, was an Indian dancer and choreographer who performed mostly as a soloist and toured extensively throughout his lengthy career.
He had a Burmese mother and a Rajput father who was a barrister. They lived in a mansion called Torquay Castle, originally a small property that his farther rebuilt into a mansion. His grandmother was a well known dancer and he was also drawn to dance early on in his life.
A modernist, he blended the classical Indian dance with balletic choreography,
and along with Uday Shankar 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".
I wanted to share this unique character through images and film, his skill and impact on the world of dance.
First is a short silent film from British Pathé where Ram Gopal and members of his troupe perform an exhibition of Hindu dancing at Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1947.
Ram Gopal photographed 21 April 1938 and other early dates by Carl Van Vechten
Below is part 1 of 3 of a rare interview of Gopal from the 80s where he talks about his first experiences of dance.
Photographs from the 1940s including ones by Cecil Beaton, Francis Goodman and Madame d'Ora (Dora Philippine Kallmus).
Below is a 2016 documentary with interviews with Ram Gopal's friends and family as well as academics reflecting on Gopal's legacy.
Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations
Introduction by Ram Gopal The Autobiography of
Kay Ambrose Ram Gopal