Ram Gopal

Other names: 

Bisano Ram Gopal


Hyde Park Crescent
London, W2 2QD
United Kingdom
51° 30' 54.4212" N, 0° 10' 7.9608" W
Pall Mall
London, SW1Y
United Kingdom
51° 30' 23.6592" N, 0° 8' 3.1452" W
Date of birth: 
20 Nov 1917
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
12 Oct 2003
Location of death: 
Croydon, Surrey, England
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Apr 1939
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1939, 1947-2003




Ram Gopal, the Indian dancer, and his troupe performed at London's Aldwych Theatre in 1939. During this visit, he also danced at a charity performance for the Hindustani Social Club.

According to his passport, Ram Gopal was born in Bangalore in 1917, although some claim his date of birth to have been up to five years earlier. La Meri, the American danseuse, visited India in 1937 and, discovering Gopal, invited him to teach her Kathakali and accompany her on a tour of the Far East. He danced in Rangoon, Malaya, Java, the Philippines, China and Japan. He then went to the USA in 1938 and then on to Europe and was feted when he arrived in London. The press praised Gopal's accomplished dancing, comparing him favourably with Uday Shankar. Ram Gopal received rave reviews and was set to stay in Britain for a long run, but with the outbreak of the Second World War had to return to India.

Ram Gopal built a dance school in Bangalore during the war years, and welcomed the London Ballet Company to India. Ram Gopal returned to London in July 1947. He was asked to perform at the reopening of the Indian section of the Victoria and Albert Museum on 17 September 1947. Subsequently he and his company were asked to perform seasons of several weeks at numerous theatres in London, such as The Prince’s Theatre, Adelphi and Cambridge. He founded a school of Indian dance in London in 1962. He spent his last years in England, and died in Surrey in 2003.


Surat Alley, Mercedes de Acosta, Kay Ambrose, Yogen Desai, Anton Dolin, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gadsby, M. K. Gandhi, Arnold Heskell, Lord Lloyd, Sarojini Naidu, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vaslav Nijinski Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Anna Pavlova, Michael Rouse (company organiser and manager), Queen Mary of Teck, Felix Topolski.

Published works: 

(with Serozh Dadachanji) Indian Dancing (London: Phoenix House, 1951)

Rhythms in the Heaven: An Autobiography (London: Secker and Warburg, 1957)


New Statesman

News Chronicle

Secondary works: 

Ambrose, Kay, Classical Indian Dances and Costumes of India (London: Adam and Charles Black, London, 1950)


Extract from New Scotland Yard Report No. 156,  13 December 1939, L/PJ/12/630, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras


A short time ago Ramzan alias Surat Ali was able to secure the services of the well known Indian dancer, Ram Gopal and his company, for a charity performance in order to mitigate the distress caused by the war among Indian seamen and pedlars, and a special matinee was arranged for Friday 1st December 1939, at the Vaudeville Theatre, Strand, W.C., the proceeds of which were to be given to the Hindustani Social Club.

Archive source: 

Programmes, V&A Theatre Collection, Earls Court, London

Ram Gopal Collection, South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive, London

L/PJ/12/630, Indian Office Record, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras