Astad Deboo passes away at 73

Astad Deboo passes away at 73

Astad Deboo who is hailed as the pioneer of contemporary dance in India died on Thursday morning in Mumbai. Deboo is known for marrying Kathak and Kathakali into a unique form and is also a recipient of prestigious Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards. He was 73 years old. 

His death was announced by the family on social media. In this note, they mentioned that Deboo had been ill for a brief while. The note reads, "He left us in the early hours of December 10, at his home in Mumbai, after a brief illness, bravely borne. 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."

Deboo was born in 1947 in Navsari, Gujarat. He was trained in Indian classical dance forms of Kathak and Kathakali to create a dance form that is unique to him and had become a pioneer of modern dance in India. He started his training in Kathak at a very young age with Guru Prahlad Das, and later he started learning Kathakali with Guru E K Pannicker. He even went on to attended the London School of Contemporary Dance, learning Martha Graham’s modern dance techniques. 

Recognition did not come easy for Deboo as there was time when most Indians saw his style as "too western" while westerners found that it was "not Indian enough". However, he continued to work with his skills and stick to his form.  

During the course of his career, Deboo worked with various prominent performers such as Pina Bausch, Alison Becker Chase and Pink Floyd to name a few.  

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