A memorial service will be held at the San Fernando City Hall Auditorium today for renowned Trinidad-born dancer David Ali. Ali, a dancer, choreographer and instructor with over 30 years experience in Indian dance, died on January 6 in New York, where he resided for the past 20 years. He began his illustrious career in 1978 at the Trinidad School of Indian Dance, under the tutelage of Rajkumar Krishna Persad, where he studied classical Barath Natyam. A four-year stint with this school earned him a scholarship, which he pursued at the University of the West Indies, where he studied Elements of Caribbean Dances, which included African, Spanish, ballet, Chinese and Indian dances.
In 1982, under the tutorship of Pradeep Shankar and Indira Mahatoo, Ali was able to widen his scope and style through exposure to Kathak and folk dancing. In that same year, Ali and Susan Mohip, then known as Baby Susan, teamed up as dancing partners. They entered many competitions and performed at numerous events and cultural shows throughout the country. Ali’s popularity and success led to the opening of the David Ali Dance Academy, enabling him to facilitate dance classes in many communities in south Trinidad. In 1992, Ali migrated to New York where he continued to promote Indian dance through the establishment of the Mehfil Dance Group. In 1994, he was recognised by TV Host Eshri Singh from the popular show “Aap Ki Kushi” as one of the best male Indian dancers in New York.
In 1996, he joined the Bangladesh Dance Academy where he did classical style Munipuri for one year. During this period, Ali also learnt salsa and meringue. He infused these different styles into his modern Indian dance routines as part of his academy’s dance repertoire. During his career, Ali partnered with several beautiful and talented dancers, including Camille Ali, Wendy Khan, Indira Ramroop, Savi Ramdath, Nalini Ramdath, Wendy Kamal and Tiffany Ramkissoon. His classes produced many gifted dancers, some of whom attended his funeral service in New York and paid tribute to him in dance. His cousin Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh said: “It was David’s dream to return to his beloved homeland. In his apartment in New York, he literally hung thousands of photographs of his family, his students and cherished friends. It was his way of remaining close to those he loved.” Anyone wishing to attend the memorial service can call Mowlah-Baksh at 324-8606, or send an e-mail to [email protected]
to confirm attendance.