Innovators: Dancers Who Stunningly Fused Dance Forms

Posted on 27 October, 2016 by Team Wishberry

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Dance is an art of emotions, grace, movement and so much symbolism. The world has given us beautiful dance forms over centuries. The world today is a global village sharing many a things, and dance is not far away. Boundaries between dance forms have been blurred and different dance forms communicate with each other in one performance.

In the midst of all of this, some dancers have truly built something unique out of their knowledge of varied dance forms. Here is a look at some of these special, revered innovators.

Astad Deboo

Astad Deboo is a phenomenal dancer. After hitchhiking his way in 1974 from India to Europe to New York, he ingrained the western forms of dance on top of his existing knowledge of Kathak and Kathakali. He then went on to fuse the forms with folk dances in India. His notable work being with the Manipuri dance and martial art forms of Thang-Ta and Pung Cholom, and collaborating with the legendary rock band Pink Floyd for one of their London concerts in the 1980s.

But, despite all of that, his work with deaf dancers is the most revered. Deboo has collaborated, taught, and choreographed deaf dancers in India and abroad and performed phenomenal shows.

Deboo won the Padma Shri in 2007.

Pandit Chitresh Das

Pandit Chitresh Das was a maverick. Born in Calcutta, where he took his early lessons in the dance form of Kathak, he went to the USA and set up the Chhandam School of Kathak and the Chitresh Das Dance Company in 1979 in California. After firmly establishing Kathak in the Indian diaspora in the US, he went on to mesmerise audiences world over with his dance.

Chitresh Das danced till he died at the age of 70 in 2015. His long time collaboration with Jazz dance legend Jason Samuels Smith is one of the most revered fusion of dance forms from the east and the west. The high-energy performances of Pandit Das are still held dear by his fans world over. He showed the world how inclusive Kathak was, and how dancers with different backgrounds can communicate with each other and entertain audiences at the same time.


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Shobana Jeyasingh

Shobana Jeyasingh was born in Chennai and grew up learning the nuances of Bharatanatyam. She went to London in 1981 and formed the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance company in 1988. Her heritage is from varied countries - India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia - and she says that cocktail of origin has her explore all the cultures and dance forms.

Jeyasingh’s choreography is influenced by varied dance forms like Ballet, Bharatanatyam, and other contemporary ethnic dances. She has received an MBE from the British Government. Shobana Jeyasingh’s work, [h]Interland, also has the honour of being the first dance performance to be webcasted between the UK and India. She has always been attracted to the odd outside, public spots and has delivered some phenomenal work utilising the outdoors. Her stunning work has attracted world class collaborations from a variety of fields including music composers and even mathematicians!


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Seeta Patel

Seeta Patel is a British dancer of Indian origin. Her early education was in the dance form of Bharatanatyam, but she also has received education in other folk and contemporary dance forms.

She has worked with stalwarts of Indian and Contemporary dance worlds, and toured the world with her shows. She has also choreographed and taught dance to the hearing impaired, and fused the sign language with dance movements to create a beautiful performance. Patel is one of the most notable modern dancers who have achieved great heights by fusing dance forms and creating something unique.


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Dance has always enamoured with its different styles, but all of them speak of one thing - emotions. These dancers have picked the emotions from various dance forms and fused them together.

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