Choreographer Nicole Concessao talks about being a fan of Madhuri Dixit’s journey from Lagos to Mumbai Team Naach Workshops

Choreographer Nicole Concessao talks about being a fan of Madhuri Dixit’s journey from Lagos to Mumbai Team Naach Workshops

New Delhi: Choreographer and dancer Nicole Conceição was a Public Relations and Market Research professional until she found her true vocation – Dance and Teaching. Born in Mumbai and raised in Lagos, Nigeria; Nicole started her dancing journey with dancing at the age of 5. She grew up learning Kathak, participating in every possible dance event and loving Bollywood movies, especially those with Madhuri Dixit!

In frank conversation with ABP live On a video call, Nicole talked about how she started with Team Naach, her plans to participate in a reality show, her love and respect for Madhuri Dixit and much more…

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Can you share something about your journey with dance?

My journey with dance dates back to when I was 5 years old. I’ve been dancing ever since. I was trained in Kathak first and growing up it was always school functions and where I used to perform – as everyone at school knew Nicole would be dancing because there was no other extracurricular activity they would want to put me in besides dancing. After college, somewhere in between, I lost touch with dance, and then all of a sudden, this whole thing – starting my dance company and all, it just happened and it’s been history ever since. From someone who was constantly winning dancing to being someone who is teaching – it’s been a beautiful journey for me.

Also, when I was a kid, dancing was not considered a viable career option. With the social media boom and all, it has become a fantastic opportunity for me and many dancers to pursue a career in dance.

Before founding Team Naach, you worked in public relations, what made you change careers?

Before PR I did a lot of things – I did sales and market research, I wrote content, and finally PR is where I stayed. Then to dance, honestly, it was just wanting to do something for me. When all the opportunity to teach came up, I just jumped at the opportunity with my friend, so I started teaching. I was so happy working from 9 to 6 and after 6 pm going and teaching because it gave me joy. So I figured this was what I love to do versus what I like to do. So I told my family that I’m quitting a full-time job to take up this freelance life and I’m going to wait six to eight months and see what happens. If it works out and I can support myself financially, then I’ll stick with it, go back to full-time work.

Mumbai to Nigeria and back, can you share something about that journey?

When I went to Nigeria, I was only 2 years old. It was great there, it was a very sheltered life and there was a set routine for every day. In addition, it was an indigenous community that was installed there. So I participated in every puja, every event that took place. So everyone there was involved in participating in different activities. It was culturally very rich.

So I moved to Mumbai and realized what freedom is because you can get off anytime, get in a car, do anything and go anywhere and it’s safe. You don’t have to depend on your transportation. I love growing up abroad because the way you think and process and your love for all cultures is really, really high and when I came to India with all that knowledge, I love Bombay. I haven’t been back to Lagos since.

You seem to idolize Madhuri Dixit. What aspect of her attracts you the most?

Growing up whenever I watched her, it was always lovely to see the way she expresses herself, the way she plays with her face so beautifully. And I always tried to learn and absorb something from her. Because how can you just use your eyebrows and eyes and say so much?

I met her for a dance collaboration and I was speechless. We showed her a 1 minute choreography and we had to show her once. She had never seen that choreography before. She saw this one-minute choreography once and she knew it, she remembered it and she performed it. I marveled at her and said to myself: I want to be like that. And she did beautifully. We make mistakes and falter. She is on another level.

You’ve also collaborated a lot with other creators. Who is your favorite co-creator?

I can’t say who’s my favorite and all. But talking about Mithila, she came to the set, she hadn’t seen the choreography and that fact amazes me how quick people are. She came to the set and learned it right away and performed it right away. In 2-3 hours we wrap everything up and normally that doesn’t happen because when you’re dancing with another creator you have to do rehearsals, you have to see the steps and everything, but this was so, so fast. Even I was in shock!

There are many videos on your Instagram where you are seen doing workshops, what do you think is the best part of these workshops?

First and foremost are the people who come to class. Like, these are the people who comment and like your social media and suddenly you see them in person and they’re interacting with you — I think that’s a great way to meet people, even if you think you’ve done something right and people have so much adoration for you.

So there are people from different age groups who are coming and dancing under one roof and the third thing I want to say about these workshops is the general vibe of a Team Naach class that we do – there’s so much positivity, it’s a safe space. So there’s this great energy that we get in a class and the girl power that you get to see is incredible. Like, even if a student comes in nervous, you’ll see them leave with a lot of confidence.

Have you ever wanted to participate in dance reality shows?

No, like I never planned to be on a reality show. But, I was on a reality show years ago when I was in college. It was called ‘Ye Hai Jalwa’ and it used to come in 9X. That was my first time on a reality TV set and that’s when I realized the kind of hard work that it takes, the kind of time and dedication and effort that reality TV requires, especially dancing – because it’s hours of rehearsals. Back then, we would rehearse for 10 years and then film, so it affects one’s mind and body. So, it’s not something I thought about after that, because I’m very happy teaching and this space I’m in makes me happy, so reality was never in my head.

Furthermore, ABP live also had a fun round of rapid fire with Nicole.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: