Indian classical dances, such as bharata natyam and odissi, are represented by multiethnic dancers in Malaysia, with“star”dancers being predominantly men. Following a short historical genealogy of Indian dances in Malaysia, this paper focuses on Ramli Ibrahim, the world-renowned practitioner of odissi and bharata natyam and his first widely toured dance production, Spellbound Odissi Live! This paper examines how a Malay-Muslim male practitioner transcends ethnic and religious boundaries in an increasingly Islamic state to rise as one of the foremost advocates of classical Indian dance forms, namely odissi in Malaysia. An intersection between dance, gender, and ethnicity offer insights to the intriguing visibility of Indian dances in Malaysia, and its success at generating international presence and professional networks.


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pp. 97-121
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