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Mr. Deboo at ABWA

'Following the inspiring tête-à-tête with Steffi Graf earlier this month, the students of grades 6, 7 and 8 were privileged to interact with the internationally acclaimed contemporary dancer, choreographer and Padma Shri recipient, Astad Deboo. Mr. Deboo kicked off the hour long session with a brief description of his early life as a student at the London School of Contemporary Dance, and of the initial years of his career as a struggling artist.

He went on to explain his unique style of dance and followed it up with a quick demonstration through a sequence from his latest production 'Rhythm Divine'. The epitome of grace and expressiveness, Mr. Deboo's slow and controlled dance moves represented a flowing river, both strong and serene at the same time.

The students were then introduced to his troupe, consisting of eight Pung Cholom drummers from the temples of Manipur, whom he has moulded into strong contemporary dancers. As proof of this amazing transformation, the troupe put up a slow, rhythmic performance that showed off their strong dancing skills.

They then graduated onto a more frenzied piece where they chanted, clapped, stamped and twirled to the beats of their traditional drums viz. the 'pung' and the 'dhol'. This energetic, enthralling performance was reminiscent of the joyous festivities in the courtyard of a temple complex.

The afternoon ended with a Q&A session where Mr. Deboo eagerly responded to student's questions on his style of work, his inspirations, etc. This short spectacle of music and dance, organized as a part of the NCPA Dance Department's Outreach Activities, gave students a rare insight into Manipuri culture, and is sure to remain etched in their memories for a lifetime.