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  • Writer's pictureShalaka Kulkarni

Nyra's Dreams

This short dance film is about the abandoned Nyra, who walks between different worlds and connects with women who teach her about strength, frailty, and hope within her fragmented mind to fight back home to Dyavaprthivi.

Longer synopsis:

Nyra finds herself walking in an unfamiliar land. Unsure of her journey, she searches for guidance. Soon she finds a woman who helps her understand how to control the fragments of her mind scattered across different worlds.

The woman teaches Nyra the strength and power within her fragmented mind, helping her accept and understand her unique gifts. As a result, Nyra grows in awareness, understanding that if she can trust herself and accept the parts of herself that have been broken apart, she can return home to Dyavaprthivi.

Nyra continues on her journey, connecting with more women who teach her about strength, hope and the frailty needed to fight through life’s struggles. Along the way, she forms powerful bonds with these women, learning the need to break down barriers preventing her from being completely healed.


Nyra's character is devised from research about stories and myths about mythological female identities described as monsters or deities. Nyra's uniqueness is loosely based off the Goddess Saraswati worshipped in Indian Culture, specifically in Hindu religion. Goddess Saraswati represents education, creativity, and music. The name Saraswati stems from the Sanskrit root "saras," which means "that which is fluid." Nyra is not depicted as an enactment of Goddess Saraswati's reincarnation but is based on the characterization of Saraswati in stories. Nyra's actions are similar to what a mythical creature like Saraswati, if abandoned in the human world can do like reach across multiple worlds to instill strength, knowledge and courage. Where Nyra's story becomes her own is whether she is aware of her inner goddess-like strength as a human or is she a lost creature trying to find her safe place.

Indian Classical Dance is experimentally used in this film. Bharatnatyam (A dance form originating from the South Part of India) Mudras and the ghungroos (the bells that dancers wear around their ankles) used to create percussive sounds while dancing Bharatnatyam are dominantly used to explore abstract non-traditional Indian Classical movement, emotion and dialogue.

Film Title: Nyra's Dreams

Writer, Director, Choreographer and Editor: Shalaka Kulkarni

Dancers: Shalaka Kulkarni, Eva La Feva,

Azeema Naheed and Yana Atim

Soundtrack: Invocation of Nisaba by MaDula Hara and David Stout

Camera Ops: Spence Warren

Producer: Surinder Martignetti

Film Locations: Thank you to Garfield Park Conservatory and Newport Theater in Chicago

Created with support from See Chicago Dance

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