Contemporary dancer and choreographer Astad Deboo will present his interpretation of the works of Rabindranath Tagore in the world premiere of his latest production
Life-size puppets. Masks. Flamboyant costumes. Astad Deboo is in the house. The contemporary dancer and choreographer will present audiences with his interpretation of legendary bard Rabindranath Tagore, in his latest production aptly titled, Interpreting Tagore.
"I wanted to do something on Tagore for his 150th birth year," says Deboo, who has choreographed four pieces on Tagore's poems. "The works are inspired by translations of the poems by Aruna Chakravarti."
Second time This is not the first time Deboo has been inspired by Tagore. In 1995, he had presented a solo work on the Nobel laureate and decided to revisit that body of work on the occasion of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary.
"It's different from the one I did that time," clarifies Deboo, adding, "For one, Interpreting Tagore includes eight youngsters I have been training for the past four years."
The young dancers were previously associated with the Salaam Baalak Trust, Delhi, a non-profit NGO that offers food, shelter, education and vocational guidance to street children. "The kids are very talented. Three of them even teach other younger kids," shares Deboo.
His previous production titled Breaking Boundaries explored the concept of space and body, and also included performances by some of the youngsters.
Eighty minutes Work on the 80-minute performance began over three months ago in August. "It took me two weeks to choreograph the 15-minute piece in Walking Tall. In it, there are three sets of movements happening simultaneously," he says.
The four pieces of Interpreting Tagore that include Walking Tall, Your Grace, Surrender and Awakening have been set to world music.
"The music for the performance is very complicated," shares Deboo about the work done by musician Frederico Senesei. "I was in Milan when I met him. I liked his music and decided to use it for the performance."
Walking Tall is semi-autobiographical shares Deboo. "It talks about the intersection of dance, mafia and the corporate world."
Deboo, who has already been approached by the Ministry of Culture to take the production overseas, says, "Wherever (in the world) I go the response has been heartening. It is inspiring."
Even at the age of 64, the Padmashri awardee remains driven about his passion: Dance. "Maintaining energy levels does sometimes get difficult. (But) I guess there is still fire in my belly."