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My Story

Shalaka Kulkarni (she/her) is an interdisciplinary dance artist. Trained in Indian Classical dances- Bharatnatyam and Kathak, she creates experiences that bridge the ancient and contemporary, uplifting marginalized voices. She is interested in creating and presenting a hybrid movement form that fuses techniques of Bharatnatyam and Kathak with other movement influences, text, film and technology.

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Recent Projects 

Highlighting some of the performances and projects in 2023

Ongoing Projects in Development

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Dance Film supported by See Chicago Dance

2022 Selected artist for Dance for Camera Residency with See Chicago Dance. The dance film is through its final editing stage and is being submitted to film festivals held in 2023-2024. 

Recognition for the short dance film- 'Nyra's Dreams' so far: 

-Finalist at International Short Film Festival in Seoul, Korea

- Official Selection for Best Experimental Film for ARFF Paris/International Awards 

- Official Selection for Chalachitram National Film Festival in Assam and Mumbai Shorts International Film, India

-Winner for Short Film at Cinema World Fest Awards (LA, California)


A project in development at High Concept Labs as their 2023 Fellow Artist-in-Residence. The current project studies myths and mythological female-identified figures in various cultures with an investigative focus on Indian culture. The story invokes a creature derived from myths and fictitious stories of deities and monsters in Indian Culture.

Chicago Performance Lab at University of Chicago

Summer residency at the Logan Arts Center at Univeristy of Chicago supporting making of dance-play building upon research and experimentation about myths and mythological truths exploring the Devadasi (Temple Dancers) system and its deranged trajectory into sex trafficking and prostiution in post-colonized India.

".....a solo work choreographed and performed by Shalaka Kulkani, whose style is a juxtaposition of fluid Bharatanatyam (Southern Indian) and rhythmically more syncopated Kathak (Northern Indian) dance forms. The dancing is set to music by Ludovico Einaudi, which includes overlayed voices reading text by Maya Angelou, Sujatha Bhatt and Kulkani, and visual media by Justin Botz projected on the back curtain.

The piece begins with Kulkani —wearing a shiny, sea-green, jewel-embedded top over an orange skirt with gold-lined layers of fabric resembling flower petals—in a low crouch, balancing on the balls of her feet, knees wide apart. Her gaze draws attention to the quickly shifting mudras in her hands, an impressive display of technique. .......Despite the technical limitations and dim lighting, Kulkani’s movements are noticeably sharp and detailed."

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