Brought up in Jamshedpur where his father worked for the Tata Iron & Steel Company, Deboo was initiated into dance in 1953 through Kathak, which he learnt from Prahlad Das. The elder of his two sisters also trained with him. After eight years of training in Kathak in Jamshedpur and Calcutta, Deboo had his first exposure to Modern dance when after shifting to Bombay with his parents, he saw Asha Coorlawala perform. He even performed on the same platform as Asha, doing a short item choreographed by her. A little later he saw the Murray Louis Company of U.S. in action and, since then there has no been looking back for Astad.
Astad Deboo has been described as a pioneer of modern dance in India. He has extensive training in the Kathak and Kathakali styles (under Guru E Krishna Panicker).
Astad trained in the Martha Graham dance technique and was an apprentice under Pina Bausch of the Wuppertal Dance Compant and Alison Chase of the Pilobolus Dance Company. Along with these and other experiences with various dance companies in Japan and Indonesia, he has created a dance theatre style of his own. Astad’s style is an amalgamation of Indian dance and western techniques. He was commissioned to choreograph for the Bolshoi Ballet and over the years has collaborated with PinkFlyod and Gundecha brothers.
In January 2005, he along with a troupe of 12 women with hearing impairment from the Clarke School for the Deaf, Chennai participated in the Deaf Olmpics.He was conferred the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1995 and the Padma shri in 2007.