He recently completed 50 momentous years of performing on stage, but for Astad Deboo, it may well have been just another day at work. Born in 1947, this prolific dancer and choreographer has spent decades exploring freedoms of a different kind. At 72, he continues to dance with the energy of a young man and inspires his peers, students and fans.
His early life as a small-town boy from Jamshedpur, his ride to foreign shores on a cargo ship, his ground-breaking collaborations with artistes like Pink Floyd and training under Pina Bausch are the stuff of legend, and yet he remains rooted in the now. Constantly pushing the boundaries of performing arts, he has created new vocabularies of movement. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Astad Deboo is synonymous with contemporary Indian dance. In a conversation with Urmi Chanda-Vaz, Astad Deboo talks about his work, sexism in the performing arts, and walking on more than his share of less-trodden paths.