Rhythm Divine believes dance is a system of ideas and together with music can enrich the moral, the material and the intellectual. Astad walks the perimeter with Manipuri Pung Cholam drummers to create a universe of dance. In Rhythm Divine, Astad plays with “a seamless blend of the avant-garde with traditional movement”. The soulful sound of an operatic soprano intones profound feeling reflected in Astad’s body. Throughout the first two segments, a dedicatory quality is pervasive, offering everything to a higher realm; qualities of reverence and spirituality that are part of the Pung Cholam tradition of Manipur, North-Eastern India. The segments flow with a perceptive choreographic logic from the slow and devotional to staccato beats and martial movements. The overall feel of the work is ritualistic and meditative.
Astad Deboo’s dance journey over the past four decades is remarkable for his prodigious artistry, solo and group choreography, and collaborations with different performing artists in India and across the globe. His work has been seen in 65 countries. Astad is the recipient of the 2007 Padma Shri Award, a prestigious recognition by the Government of India for his pioneering work in contemporary Indian dance. His artistry is marked by technical virtuosity along with a unique humanism in his dance work with the physically and socially disadvantaged – with the deaf (in Kolkata, Chennai, Washington DC) that now spans two decades, and more recently, with street children of the Salaam Baalak Trust. Astad is creatively passing down his legacy and the gift of his signature style onto these youthful bodies.
Cast & Credits
Choreography: Astad Deboo
Collaborator: Guru Meihoubam Seityaban Singh
Performers:Pungcholam Drummers of Shree Shree Govindaji Nat Sankirtan – Ibungo Singh, Handsome Singh, Santosh Singh, Sanasam Shantikumar, Nelachandra Singh, Narendra Singh, Ojit Nongthobam, Dharmendra Singh & Astad Deboo
Music: Yoichiro Yoshikawa, Dawn Upshaw, Drummers of Shree Shree Govindaji Nat Sankirtan
Costume Design: Archana Shah, Hiloo Mehta & Seityaban Singh Lights: Pushan Kripalani