Guide to the Ram Gopal "Golden Eagle" photograph and autographed card C0483
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Ram Gopal was an internationally celebrated Burmese-Indian dancer. Known as a master of Indian classical dance, Gopal blended his classical dance background with other modern dance styles. Born in Bangalore, India in 1912, Gopal learned Kathakali - one of eight styles of Indian classical dance - at an early age. As an adult, Gopal gained international renown through his interpretation of Indian classical dance for Western audiences: "Ram was shrewd enough to realise that western audiences would be daunted by an unadulterated classical repertoire. So he created short, spectacular items drawn from Kathakali...but without the traditional make-up and clothes. Costumes, staging and lighting were all meticulously considered and beautifully carried through. He interspersed his own pieces with music and other folk and classical styles" (The Guardian). Perhaps Gopal's most well-known dance was that of "Garuda," or the "Golden Eagle," a legendary golden bird in Hindu mythology. Gopal passed away in 2003.
Black and white photograph of Ram Gopal dancing in "Golden Eagle" or "Garuda" costume by Planet News, Ltd. taken on September 10, 1956. On the back is an inscription that reads: "The Golden Eagle/London: Wearing his exotic Golden Eagle costume, Indian dancer Ram Gopal flies gracefully through the air during rehearsal at the Royal Festival Hall. Ram Gopal and his company of Indian dancers - who have recently been performing at the Edinburgh Festival - open tonight at the Royal Festival Hall for a two-week season. The company, sponsored by the Indian government, is the largest ever to come to this country from India. British film producer Sir Michael Balcon has approached Ram Gopal asking him to consider playing the role in a new film as Buddha. The dancer has not yet indicated whether he will accept."
Included is a card featuring Gopal's signature in English from the collection of Thomas H. Scullion of the Autograph Collectors Society from the same year.
This is a single folder collection.
There are no access restrictions.
There are no other restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Ram Gopal "Golden Eagle" photograph and autographed card must be obtained from Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum holds performance costumes worn by Ram Gopal, including his Garuda costume.
The South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive holds the Ram Gopal Collection, which includes materials on his Garuda dance. It also hosts the Garuda project, which "in collaboration with the V&A Museum aims to raise awareness of Ram Gopal's contribution to Indian dance in the UK. This project included the conservation of Gopal's historic Garuda costume which has now been donated to the V&A's collection" (SADAA).
The Archives at Yale University hold the Carl Van Vechten Papers which contains photographs and other material featuring Ram Gopal.
Ram Gopal, 1917-
Garuda (Mythical bird)
Ram Gopal "Golden Eagle" photograph and autographed card, C0483, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber from Schubertiade Music in October 2009.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in May 2021. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in May 2021. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215.
Costume for the Eagle Dance worn by Ram Gopal, 1966. S.111:1 to 8-2004, Theatre and Performance Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O106796/theatre-costume-jenny-levy-casperson/.
"Garuda project." South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive. Accessed May 14, 2021. https://sadaa.co.uk/projects/garuda-project.
Khan, Naseem. "Ram Gopal," October 12, 2003. The Guardian. Accessed May 14, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2003/oct/13/guardianobituaries.india.
"Ram Gopal/Dancing to the Music of Time"(Documentary), 1989. Channel 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJmlBLRc5Yw. Accessed May 14, 2021.