Choreographer, Founder at Dancing With Preeta

Preeta Pereira

Preeta Pereira, has done her MBA, worked as an HR recruiter, and now she is following her passion, her passion for dance. Preeta is a Choreographer, a trained Kathak Dancer, a Performer, a Coach, a Director and an Artist. Preeta has choreographed actors, assisted choreographers, and has been part of many Bollywood movies, videos, and music videos as well. She has been part of ads. She has choreographed marriages, and also takes online classes for kids and celebrities.

Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

What was the breakthrough in your professional journey?

So initially, because dance was not really a career, nobody was aware about it, not me, not my family, nobody. I just knew I wanted to dance. But it didn’t make sense, technically, because it’s like wanting to, I don’t know, do something that you’ve not heard anybody else do much about? But of course, I started dancing with my dance troupe in college, I slowly met people who inspired me like the choreographers and teachers. I met them, and I kept following them while pursuing my studies, and simultaneously started working as well. And I knew that eventually I will dance full time.
One incident I would like to share: My immediate manager had an accident, tragically she just passed away one day, And that kind of jolted me out of my comfort zone. So I realised that I could be gone tomorrow, and what am I waiting for? I had decided that I am going to take up dancing full time.

Like, at that point, I realised that I’m not going to do a corporate job and at the same time, I’m going to pursue what I want because I’m not going to wait any more because life is not going to wait for me. So that was a very huge turning point. And then of course, I just went on, like it was a journey that went on from there.

When was the first offer as a choreographer you got in Bollywood?

In Bollywood, when I shifted to Bombay back in 2015.
In 2003, I was working as an assistant choreographer. And then I went into choreography on my own, I travelled around performing and choreographing but in the film industry as such, I came back to Bombay full time again in 2015. And that’s when I did my first Fevicol Ad. And that kind of changed things for me. Things started rolling from there. And, yeah, now it’s 2021. And things are great right now.

Glimses of Preets’s work!

And what was your parents reaction or your family’s reaction, when you left your job ?

They had a mini heart attack. They were in complete shock, because South Indians are expected to be at least postgraduate. Also, they wanted me to do corporate job. I mean, I don’t think they were so worried about me for getting married as much as being successful in my job. So it didn’t strike them that I would pursue something like this. They thought it was a hobby. And when I quit my job, they wondered what was wrong with me? So it was not just my family, it was even my friends who asked me every single time if I was sure or not.
But then I had to take a step. I knew if I didn’t do it, now, it would not happen. So I had to take a step and move out. And I think within two to three years of seeing me handle myself; my parents, my family, parents  accepted me doing this.

At any point of time did your graph go down professionally in the sense that you are not getting work, or you know, there’s a lot of struggle that you have to go through to get projects.

It happens to all artists continuously. It’s been 22 years since I’ve been doing this and every four to five years, the graph goes down. And when the graph goes down, it’s a very clear signal that I have to change the way I work. The world is changing, we need to change the way we work, because a lot of new people are coming into the field every day, so if I don’t cope with it or if I stay just the way I am, nobody would like to hire me. They want to hire someone new. Yeah. So you have to upgrade yourself every four to five years. And that’s what happens. So the minute I see work slowing down, I know that I have to upgrade.

And what is the extra effort or extra idea that you have put in your choreography?

So basically, I think my biggest strength is that I just don’t choreograph steps. For me doing random heavy steps doesn’t matter. For me, the story characters matter. That is why I kept to cinematic dance. There is a story, there’s an emotion and it should convey it in a bunch of steps only. So yes, it’s not the reality show mode, which goes to tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. No, it’s something which has meaning. The visual impact of what we’re doing is important, which is why we conceptualise our shows and videos very carefully. We don’t just start choreography, we take a week to understand the story and create the concept and story behind it, before we get down to actually choreographing it. 

One memorable day at work which you had like which is very close to your heart?

Walking into the set, after 10 years of leaving it. I left around 2005 as an assistant choreographer from the film industry, and then 10 years later 2015 when I walked in on the set as a choreographer, it was such a wonderful feeling. I still remember that moment I entered the set as a choreographer-nothing like it!! Walking a set is what I love the most, I love being on set.

Recently we did the Fujifilm ID that is attached with Alia Bhatt but choreographed for the Fujifilm Instax promotion. That was about a year ago a year or so ago. Yes. And then recently, very recently, we’re doing a music video with two renowned artists for Desktop films. And we just finished the shoot. We are waiting for the release of the video. It should be anytime this month.

What will be a dream come true like a project you really dream of doing?
So one is of course choreographing a whole film . That is something I’ve always wanted to do. But I want to direct and choreograph a stage musical and Indian stage musical. Like how we have Mughal-e-Azam, with beautiful stage musical plays by all these amazing directors in Bombay, and I want to do one of those. I’m hoping in another two years that comes through because it’s like my dream project. And I hope it lasts for like another five, seven years, people look back and say, wow, how beautiful Indian and Indian dance is.

There is so much to learn from Preeta, starting from the determination to follow one’s passion to making it possible in the toughest times.

To get connected with Preeta Visit her website .

Listen to our very interesting conversation here:

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