• Ram Gopal in Belur Temple, Mysore - Photograph

    1920s: Ram Gopal's first performances were in temples in south India. He had trained in ‘Kathakali’ and ‘Bharta Natyam’ dance forms. This photo was taken in Belur Temple in Mysore. Photo ©SADAA

  • Ram Gopal and dancers performing a folk dance - Photograph

    1930s: Many of Gopal's early performances were regional folk dances. As well as performing in local temples, Gopal and his company of dancers took part in street performances and folk dancing in villages across south India. Photo ©SADAA

  • 1930s: These editions of 'The Sketch' magazine, were published in August and November 1939. The August edition featured scenes from Ram Gopal's first performances at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • 1940s: Gopal returned to the UK after the war and toured extensively with his new dance company. Photographs of his new dances were featured in this programme. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • United Ballet Foundation - Booklet

    1940s: Photos from 'The Rajput Serenade of Love' performance, which is described as a "one-act ballet of betrothal". Top, Ram Gopal and Shevanti, right, Ram Gopal, bottom left, Rajeshwar, top left Shevanti. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • United Ballet Foundation - Booklet

    1940s: Photos from performances, top left, Anura, a dummer and dancer from Ceylon, bottom left, Ram Gopal and Shevanti in 'Alarippu', centre right, Ram Gopal in a temple dance, top right, Ram Gopal as 'Garuda', the Golden Eagle, bottom right, Ram Gopal in the 'Cobra Devil Dance.' Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • 1940s: The booklet also featured glowing press reviews of Ram Gopal's past performances. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • United Ballet Foundation - Booklet

    1940s: The booklet also featured glowing press reviews of Ram Gopal's past performances. ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • World Ballet News - Article

    1940s: Following performances in London, Gopal toured Brussels and Paris. This made the headlines of the World Ballet News, published in London in 1947. Over the next 15 years, Gopal's company was in demand over the world. They toured Europe, USA and India. Photo ©SADAA

  • 1940s: The 'Illustrated London News' published photos of Ram Gopal at the opening of the 'Indian Section' of the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1947. “He performed, with his company, in the museum – a lively and interesting innovation – bringing life and understanding to sculpture which European people would otherwise find more difficult to appreciate.” Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • 1940s: Ram Gopal introduced nine new dances for this London tour, including 'Garuda', the Golden Eagle. Garuda is Vishnu’s winged chariot – a mythical eagle that is half bird, half man. This photo was published in the 'Tatler and Bystander' in 1948, describing, "the fabulous costume of pure gold, which is worth £800." Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • BBC UK - Photograph

    1950s: The BBC filmed Gopal's performances for television. Gopal also gave an introduction to each dance for British audiences. This programme was broadcast in February, 1951. Photo ©SADAA

  • The Legend of the Taj Mahal - Photograph

    1950s: One of the dances, Ram Gopal and his company performed at the Royal Festival Hall in 1956 was the ‘Legend of the Taj Mahal’. Gopal played the Emperor Shah Jahan. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • Royal Festival Hall - Programme

    1960s: The Royal Festival Hall hosted two seasons of performances by Ram Gopal and his company. The first was in 1956 and this tour in 1960-1. The programme included a letter to Ram Gopal by T.E. Bean, the General Manager. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • 1960s: The Royal Festival Hall hosted two seasons of performances by Ram Gopal and his company. The first was in 1956 and this tour in 1960-1. The programme included a letter to Ram Gopal by T.E. Bean, the General Manager. ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

    1960s: Gopal was finally able to work with ballerina Alicia Markova. He choreographed a duet titled Radha-Krishna, and gave Markova lessons in Indian dance technique. They performed the duet as part of a longer Indian dance programme at the Prince's Theatre, London in March 1960. Photo ©SADAA

  • Ram Gopal in his Classical, Folk and Creative Dances - Programme

    1960s: As many of Ram Gopal's dances were based on dances of Hindu gods, publications sought to explain the relationship between dance and sculpture. This programme shows Gopal as 'Garuda', the Golden Eagle alongside photos of Hindu temples to illustrate how "his dancing explains the sculptures." Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • Ram Gopal in his Classical, Folk and Creative Dances - Programme

    1960s: This twenty-page colour programme, entitled ‘Ram Gopal in his Classical, Folk and Creative Dances’ featured Ram Gopal and dancers performing temple dances. Photo ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • 1960s: Ram Gopal starred in and choreographed a number of Hollywood fims such as 'Elephant Walk' in 1953 and 'The Purple Plain' in 1954. In 1962, Gopal was invited to the Cannes Film Festival. ©SADAA

  • Aum Shiva - Film Programme

    1970s: The French filmmaker Claude Lamorisse made two films about Gopal: "Aum Shiva" and "Ram". But according to friend Pam Cullen, these were not well received at the press launch and were never distributed. Photo ©SADAA

  • Ram Gopal OBE

    1990s: Ram Gopal was awarded the OBE for services to dance in 1999. He is pictured here with his niece, Joy Jones. Gopal was also given the coveted title of Pandit by the Indian government. Photo ©SADAA

  • Gardua headdress

    2016: The Garuda costume is restored as part of the Garuda project. The conservationist restored the headdress where the upper crest of the head and back were splitting. The paint was cracking and flaking off the rubber surface. Delicate nylon gossamer was dyed to match and repair the headdress. Photo of Ram Gopal ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

  • Garuda wings

    2016: The fabric on the wings had frayed and the gelatin sequins fallen off or curled. The feather tips were creased and folded. The wing tip was stabilized with a fabric patch and nylon net overlay. Cold contact humidification treatment relaxed the fabric and straightened the remaining sequins. Photo ©SADAA

  • 2016: We gifted the costume to the V&A’s permanent collection during a day of activities and dance at the museum. It is now on public display at the V&A's Theatre and Performance Galleries. Photo ©SADAA

  • 2016: We commissioned dancer, Shane Shambhu to create a work inspired by the legendary dances of Ram Gopal. He performed the stunning 'Incarnations' to celebrate the Garuda project at the V&A Museum. Photo ©SADAA

Watch the documentary featuring interviews with Gopal’s friends and family, then click on the locations below to view Gopal’s theatre programmes.