While what began on a gentle note gradually started picking pace and increasingly spilled more energy around, the audience at Rock Heights couldn’t help but applaud in admiration. Asta Deboo, the veteran contemporary dancer from Imphal, was in the city for a dance show at the ongoing Krishnakriti Festival of Art and Culture. He took the viewers on a journey of sorts through Rhythm Divine II, his unique show, performed with his troupe called Shree Shree Govindji Nat Sankirtan, comprising artistes of Pung cholom and Dhol cholom dance forms.
The show unravelled an alluring amalgamation of Astad’s unique style, which in itself is a blend of Indian classical dance and western group dance techniques, and the quintessential Manipuri dance forms of Pung cholom and Dhol cholom. The Manipuri dance form had the artistes play the pung, a hand-beaten drum, along with their dance which comprises acrobatic moves that run in sync with the rhythm. Pung cholom is influenced by elements of the Manipuri martial arts Thang Ta, Sarit Sarak and their traditional Maibi Jagoi dance. The dance was choreographed by Guru Seityaban Singh.
About his troupe, Astad Deboo told the audience that he had met the artistes at one of his international performances, and they have been working jointly for over a decade now.
“For me, my art is a channel to portray the political unrest around in a subtle manner. Subtlety is the key element,” he added.
The sexagenarian artiste, who is an expert in Kathak as well as Kathakali, continues to surprise his audience with an amazing stamina and a graceful finish in his moves.
Astad has also worked with eminent performers such as Pina Bausch, Alison Becker Chase and Pink Floyd, and has the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Padma Shri to his credit.