Modern Indian Dance Pioneer Astad Deboo Passes Away at 73

The Padma Shri recipient's career spanned 50 years.

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Veteran contemporary dancer Astad Deboo.
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Contemporary Indian dancer Astad Deboo has passed away at the age of 73, reported PTI. "He left us in the early hours of 10 December, at his home in Mumbai, after a brief illness, bravely borne," his family announced on social media. "He leaves behind a formidable legacy of unforgettable performances combined with an unswerving dedication to his art, matched only by his huge, loving heart that gained him thousands of friends and a vast, number of admirers. The loss to the family, friends, fraternity of dancers, both classical and modern, Indian and international, is inestimable. May he rest in peace. We will miss him," it added.

Deboo is noted for marrying Kathak and Kathakali to create a unique modern dance vocabulary. Born on 13 July, 1947 in Navsari, Gujarat, he studied Kathak with Guru Prahlad Das and later Kathakali with Guru EK Pannicker. He later attended the London School of Contemporary Dance, where he learned Martha Graham’s modern dance technique, and trained with Pina Bausch in the Wuppertal Dance Company.

Astad Deboo's dance career spanned half a century, with performances in over 70 countries, both solo and with other artistes. He also choreographed for directors such as Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bhardwaj and painter MF Hussain's Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. He received a Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1995, followed by a Padma Shri in 2007 for his contribution to contemporary creative dance.

Deboo was also noted for his charitable work. In 2002, he founded the Astad Deboo Dance Foundation which provided creative training to marginalised sections, including the hearing-impaired.

(With inputs from PTI)

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