India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
July 05, 2016

Madhuri Upadhya: From Dancer To Dance Entrepreneur

Text by Simone Louis

She talks about her career highlights and starting her own dance company

First steps
“I started dancing at the age of six; I was performing for annual days at school and choreographing since forever. My mother enrolled me for Bharatanatyam classes when I was around eight years old. I’ve always loved to communicate through movement and, as a child, I enjoyed standing in front of an audience and absorbing the applause!”

Talent to tycoon
“It was only after I dived into the world of contemporary dance that my mind, body and sense of discipline changed. Ever since I started the Nritarutya dance company with my sister 16 years ago, I’ve been practising yoga, Kathak, contemporary dance and martial arts. Today I’m not only a dancer but a choreographer, researcher and dance entrepreneur. I am able to impart a structured dance education, and audition and recruit dancers from all over the country. I feel like a medium, connecting dance to dancers and dance lovers.”

Career highlights
“The Make in India show at Hannover Messe in Germany, World Performing Arts Festival in Lahore, India Now festival at Trafalgar Square and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle. These were special because I was representing the country.”

I’ll never forget the time…
“When I danced Kali, the dance of death, after my dad’s demise. It moved me because my relationship with death changed…my fear was gone and I accepted the absolute truth of life.”

Remarkable setting
“Dancing in front of the Gateway of India was amazing because the floor was mirrored and it reflected the grandeur of the historic monument.”

Favourite getaway
“The Himalayas — being there is liberating.”

Footwork essential
“Homework and research. If one does not understand and believe in the purpose behind the choreography, it’s just an empty set of movements.”

What people don’t know about dancers
“Our feet are always dirty, we love food, and we are very restless!”

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