World Sacred Spirit Festival


Rhythm Divine 11, the river runs deep, choreographed by Astad Deboo and guru Seityaban Singh
Performed by the drummers of Shree Shree Nat Sankirtan and Astad Deboo

Astad Deboo, main Indian choreographer, has been working with the drummers for the last ten years and the first work Rhythm Divine was created with a grant by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). Now in this second creation with the drummers, choreographer Astad explores the unrest in the region of Manipur and extends his work with them creating a cohesive new piece.

River Runs Deep begins on a gentle note, reflective of ordinary life as it is lived in the North East, with a gradual build-up to the sense of insecurity and even fear against which many people in the region actually conduct their existence. The build up to the crescendo is gradual and powerful, with the drums coming into play the tempo now frantic, in stark counter point to a prolonged session of Like form and content, neither can be separated.

Deboo was the first Indian Dance Company, Indian Classical / Contemporary to be invited for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary Of the International Arts Festival in Santiago Chile.

Regarding Astad Deboo:
“The North-east is a heart breaking amalgam of natural beauty and militant aggression, of lightning moves and glacial response, of the turbulence of politics and the calm pace of tradition, flowing one below the other like twin rivers. Sixteen years ago, I began my tryst with the region. A decade ago, the pungcholom drummers came into my life, young, vigorous, steeped in their own cultural traditions, performing with their instruments in a comforting cycle of familiar security. I wanted them to change. Their guru, Seityaban Singh, head of Shree Shree Govindji Nat Sankirtan in Imphal, already knowledgeable about my work with martial art performers in the Thangta tradition, proved an invaluable and prescient ally. Rhythm Divine I was born in 2007 and has since then made the drummers part of the international cultural landscape in five countries. Nationally, they have crisscrossed the sub-continent, from Delhi to Pondicherry and Kolkata to Mumbai. The pull of the drums in a contemporary, highly evolved setting, has always drawn the deepest appreciation. Seven years after the first work, I felt it was time to challenge the drummers in a different direction, that of a more open articulation of old fears through bold, new creative choreography that reflects in music and movement, a brasher engagement with restlessness and frustration…”

About Astad Deboo:
Astad Deboo, a pioneer of modern dance in India, is a contemporary choreographer and dancer, who employs his training in Indian classical dance forms – Kathak and Kathakali – to create a dance form that is unique to him. His work has been seen in seventy countries and a critic sums his work as poetry in motion.