The vision of a choreographer

Winning accolades

Mayuri Upadhya, the founder, artistic director, principal choreographer of Bangalore-based Nritarutya, an Indian contemporary dance trust, recently received the ‘Bronze Prize for India at International Competition of Choreography Plan’ in Seoul, Korea.

All smiles: Mayuri (centre) with the finalists.Titled The Asta Dikpalakas, her work was a presentation of one hour 15 minutes duration.

Inspired by the Hindu mythological concept of eight dikpalakas who support the balance of universe in its eight corners, Mayuri’s work stressed on the need for human beings to understand, appreciate and live in harmony with other species.

Speaking to Metrolife, Mayuri says, “Like other dancers, even I spend all my time in a studio, either training or performing. I don’t get much time to go online. But when someone told me about this competition, I decided to go online and apply,” she informs.

Elaborating on the basic idea of the competition, she says, “The Asian Dance Committee had held an online competition, in order to digitally archive Asian dances and have a dance production to raise funds. Thirty countries had taken part and they shortlisted five
participants from different countries — Malaysia, India, Israel, Sri Lanka and South Korea.”

She adds, “There were 16 panelists on the board and they heard our presentation. Each of us had ten minutes to present our work. There was no dancing involved, just presentation and communication. It was all about the plans and vision of a choreographer. We had to present our idea and they questioned us on the same.”

She explains her work and says, “According to The Asta Dikpalakas, the world is balanced due to the eight guardians at eight different corners of it. These guardians maintain the peace and harmony of those who reside in that particular corner. So I just applied this concept to eight corners of Asia. I emphasised on how man likes to dominate the nature chain due to his need and greed. This is ruining the equilibrium of the universe due to which everything is going down.”

Mayuri feels the competition was “one of the best memories of her dance journey”. “It was a fantastic experience. It was novel challenge to take part in a choreography competition minus dancers. I also enjoyed bonding with the other contestants. I was the youngest and watching them, I learnt a lot. I also realised how your own country can inspire and design your work,” she notes.

She feels the entire competition was extremely well organised. “There were interpretors talking to each one in their language plus translating machines that would  simultaneously translate one particular language into any other. The whole execution was impeccable and we also got to see the Korean culture,” she explains.

Ask her if her vision will turn into reality and she says, “It was a large scale vision with 60 dancers. We had to copyright our work so it can get executed only in Seoul and only if they choose to fund it.” Being in Bangalore has played an important role in her victory, she feels. 

“It has given me lot of exposure to methodology and work structure. My level of execution is more fine tuned since I’m in Bangalore.”

Thanking her team at Nritarutya, especially Madhuri Upadhya, Satya and Geeta, her advice to all budding dancers is, “Just follow your heart as you are born with the energy to pursue this as a profession.”

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