I am Shreema Upadhyaya, Bharatanatyam dancer from Bangalore. I have been learning this art form for the last 19 years.
What was your childhood like? Where did you grow up ?
I was born and brought up in Bangalore and my whole childhood was about going around to places in South Bangalore. I started dancing when I was 4 years old. My mother was a dancer and I also used to listen to a lot of classical music during those days.
Was your dream same as where you are right now?
Growing up, I had a variety of dreams and wanted to do different things in different stages of my life. Since the last few years, my focus has been completely into dancing and I cannot picture myself doing anything else. One of the reasons why I left all my silly dreams behind and took up dancing as my profession.
What inspired you to take up dancing as your career?
Honestly, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Growing and learning with incredible dancers around me, being in different productions really helped me to see what dance means to me. I realized that if I love it this much, it should be my entire life.
When was your first performance as a dancer and what do you remember about it?
My first performance on stage was when I was 7 years old. That is when I started practising under my current Guru, Shri Praveen Kumar. My first solo performance was when I was 12 years old and every performance I had since then has been a new experience.
How did it feel performing a Indian dance form in a foreign country?
It was extremely exhilarating. It taught me that the vocabulary of a classical art form can reach anybody in the world. The essence of a classical dance form can be transformed or absorbed by anyone. Even though the audience there might not be able to completely comprehend the art form like an Indian audience would do, they do appreciate what is being performed on stage.
What are your other passions apart from dancing ?
My yoga practice that forms a very crucial part of my day as well. I have been doing yoga since I was a kid. I love painting and sketching in my free time. It provides me a lot of solace. I enjoy acting and modelling as well!
How does it feel to be where you are right now?
It feels like I have long way to go. The whole point of it is to never feel like you have achieved anything, done something or gone somewhere. The goal is always to keep improving, keep learning, keep growing and that is what I aim to do.
How do you manage your time ?
I think time management has been a huge part of my life growing up. My parents and my guru have been very supportive. They have always valued and nurtured me enough to teach me that you have to learn to prioritize yourself in life.
Favourite part of the day?
The favourite part of the day has to be my mornings. I always start them with about an hour of yoga. It sets the pace for my entire day. It sets the pace for my practice.
How would you describe your style?
I’m very partial to Indian ethnic designs but I do enjoy wearing a lot of western outfits.
How do you relate yourself with Teejh?
Teejh has been one of my favourite jewellery brands for a very long time now. I have been following the brand since the beginning. All their designs are so beautiful with an element of contemporary in it which really resonates with my style. I absolutely adore them.
What are your future plans?
My future plan is to dance for as long as possible, for the next few decades I hope. I have my guru, my guru’s guru who have been dancing in their 70s and 80s and have been a huge inspiration in my life and that’s what I aspire to be.
What message would you like to give people who wish to follow their passions ?
My advice in whatever capacity I can give is to first dedicate yourself, find discipline, see what you really want, figure yourself out and then start chasing your dreams.