'Dance is like my second skin'

Graceful steps

'Dance is like my second skin'
She captures India’s grandeur and rich cultural heritage in her beautifully descriptive and heartwarming choreography. Mayuri Upadhya has, with time, grown to become one of the most sought-after choreographers in the country.

The accomplished woman has broken barriers and built a universal language of expression through dance.

In a chat with Surupasree Sarmmah, the Bengaluru-based bharathanatyam and contemporary dancer talks about her association with the art, her inspiration and more.

Your tryst with dance...
It began at the young age of six years. Dance happened to me very inorganically and I used to dance to any music being played on the television. I was always very enthusiastic about it and my mother put me in a dance school, only for the interest to grow stronger.

And your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from almost everything around me. There are multiple things that I get inspired by — when people applaud me, when an idea in my mind is realised on stage and even when I overcome challenges. Dance is no more a career for me, it is a part of my identity. Dance is like my second skin.

You have many feathers in your cap. How do you feel having achieved so much at such a young age?
Honestly, I don’t think I have achieved much, I have just begun. I have a lot more to achieve. There are many more initiatives that I want to start, to bring about better development for the community of dancers.

A dancer you admire.
Surupa Sen.

Dance in three words...
Breath, soul and energy.

Your favourite style of dance.
Odissi.

What goes on in your mind just before a performance?
Actually, I don’t feel anything. I usually go into a void, meditative space, so there is no fear, excitement or anything whatsoever.  

Do you still get a little nervous sometimes?
Yes, I do, especially when I have choreographed a performance rather than during my own performance.  

What else do you enjoy?
I love reading, gardening in my balcony and playing with my pets. I also enjoy having meaningful conversations with my friends, where I listen and they do all the talking.

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