He appears in his floor-sweeping gown that swirls with the slightest gust of wind. His face is expressionless for a few seconds as he finds a seat. In a jiffy, his bearings change. Performing at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), pioneer of contemporary dance in India, Astad Deboo, says if there is anything that brings out the best in him, it’s his dance.
Performing as part of an act titled The Everlasting Flame to celebrate the ethos that makes the unique ethnic and identity of the Parsi-Zoroastrian community, this veteran will showcase his movement flair with aplomb.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs under its scheme Hamari Dharohar in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Parzor Foundation is hosting this event that is going to showcase Zorastrians roots, culture and the contribution of the Parsis in India. “This is the first time such an event is being held,” says Deboo, smiling at the thought.
As time has gone by, many of his concerns vanished. At one point, the pioneer’s greatest concern surrounded the fact that it would be extremely challenging to convince the masters of Indian Classical traditions, and individuals in the government, to create a space for artistes who wished to express their creations out of the classical tradition. “It took me ten years to get acceptance for the same. I wish dancers today acknowledge that effort and not take it for granted,” he says.
Deboo’s journey so far has given him experiences which he cherishes more than anything else, but at the same time, there’s been a lot of disappointments too. “Even today, life brings surprises and shocks, but my dance has always given me the strength to carry on. I have never been complacent and know there is a long way ahead,” he says.
March 21 at Indira
Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 1, C.V. Mess, Janpath. 6.30 pm onwards. Entry is free.