Dance Traditions of India

Dancers of India

Pioneer of modern dance in India.

Special Performance on the 16th July 2002 at the World Bank
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Astad Deboo's journey as a dancer began with lessons as a child in the Indian Classical dance form Kathak in the steel city of Jamshedpur in Eastern India . The young Astad struggled to come to terms with the iron frame of classical tradition, breaking free ønly when a chance encounter with Murray Louis doyen of modern dance set him on a long journey in search of a unique idiom. For two decades Astad traversed the globe, in the time honored tradition of a seeker of knowledge. He exposed himself to a bewildering variety of traditions, styles and techniques taking classes where he could, observing where formal learning was not possible and always performing to earn his keep.

His search took him to the dance traditions of South America, Japan Indonesia, Europe, China and USA. After many years abroad Astad returned to India and trained in Kathakali the powerful dance theater from the state of Kerala bringing to his dance a combination of extreme physical control and stunning visual impact. the eclectic universe gradually coalesced into a style uniquely his own. A style that celebrates in one breath the exuberance of narrative based forms and the cerebral intensity of contemporary abstraction

.Astad’s dynamic performance art has attracted critical attention in the world of dance leading to collaborations with Pina Bausch of the Wuppertal Dance Company from New York. Diverse influences have given Astad Deboo the rich vocabulary of a successful soloist. It has also given him the resources to engage the creative collaborations with performers from other forms. His work with Dhrupad one of the oldest forms of music from the Indian Classical tradition has won accolades for its strength and interpretive clarity.

His creative partnership with master puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee has been described as poetry in movement and his on-going work with the action players a deaf theater company from Calcutta has been most successful.
Astad Deboo's range is phenomenal. from deeply introspective solo expression his choreography has also been in mainstream cinema and of mega corporate events. In recognition of the unique position he now occupies Astad Deboo was awarded the Sangeet Natak Academy award the highest honour bestowed on creative performers by the Goverment of India.


Astad Deboo pioneered modern dance in India ..", Times of India.


"Astad Deboo belongs to the honourable company of Ruth St Denise, Lester Horton Asdata Daforan Michio-Tio and Uday Shankar who have combed through world cultures for material they could fruitfully combine with their traditions." 

Alan M. Kriegsman, Washington Post.

In recognition of his unique blend of styles and his consistent rapport with audiences around the world, the noted dance critic of India. Dr. Sunil Kothari commented "Astad makes dance accessible to every one."

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