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Regained confidence
- Pia Bunglowala

October 5, 2013

(Braving a post injury phase, Pia reminisces on working on Mayuri Upadhya's solo choreography.)

I performed a solo piece as part of Nritarutya choreographed by Mayuri Upadhya at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai, on the 16th of September for an intimate audience. The dance was based on the theme of the ingredients that go into making a perfume and I was the one who was playing with nature and controlling it and pulling out all the flavour from around me to blend it into the perfect fragrance.

This performance was quite challenging for a few reasons. First, I had fractured my big toe so I was on a forced rest period for almost two and a half months. This was the first performance for me after the break so it was physically a bit tiring. Also, after an injury there is a little bit of fear that creeps into the mind where you feel like you might just injure yourself again and this makes it a bit difficult at times. Second, it was a solo performance! And solo performances are always a bit unnerving to be honest. It's because there is only one performer on stage that has to carry the whole performance through. But the thing is also that solo performances have an advantage and that is once you are on stage and you get comfortable, it's a great feeling to own the space and have everything in your control. Third, my mum was here to visit from Goa and spend some time with me. I had been complaining and cribbing over the phone to her during the time I was injured telling her how miserable and restless I was feeling.

Trust me when I say this, THE WORST THING FOR A DANCER IS TO BE TOLD THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE REST! We are so used to movement that resting is like torture… really! So as it happened by the time my mum mustered up the courage to come to Bangalore to meet me (she is not very confident about travelling, especially alone), I had the most hectic schedule ever. C'est la vie! And this is the first time she came to stay with me for a whole 10 days. And I felt like a little girl again, so happy to have my mum around. I didn't realize till then how much I miss family. So there were times when all I wanted to do was be with mum but I couldn't and that made me a bit distracted. And the last thing was that we didn't get much time to work on this piece and it all came together just in the end. But when it did come together, it was amazing.

The whole team working on it really stepped up in the end and made sure everything turned out just the way the client had envisioned it. And once I was on stage I felt so calm and graceful. I felt a bit like a magician who was conjuring up some magical potions. Working with Mayuri is a process I really enjoy because she taps into a performer's natural strengths and then pushes you to become better. She also allows you to be in your comfort zone and then slowly eases you out of it so it almost feels normal to not be in your most comfortable space. This was a performance that made me feel confident again.

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