May 24, 2019 5:08 pm
Updated: May 24, 2019 5:55 pm

Warrior women dance features Calgary nurse who helps babies battle for their lives

WATCH: Some creative Calgarians are staging a tribute to warrior women this weekend. As Gil Tucker shows us, one of the performers helps harness that fighting spirit every day – making a life-and-death difference for local families.


Warrior women are very much on the minds of members of Calgary’s Kala Bhavan Dance School this week and for one dancer, it’s like a blend of the mythical and her daily life.

The dancers are rehearsing for their biggest show of the year, an original production they’re creating called Yoddha: The Great Warrior, set in a mythical kingdom in India.

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“The kingdom is under threat,” dancer Pooja Thakore said. “And so these warrior women who trained together their whole lives are now being sent to fight the opposing demon queen.”

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The dancers say their mythical scenario comes with some real-life relevance.

“Everyone has their own challenges, their own battles that they have to fight and persevere throughout life,” Thakore said.

Members of the dance school have been drawing on their own experiences as they shaped the story.

“I think we have a lot of warriors among us,” dancer Anita Stephen said.

Stephen herself regularly harnesses the fighting spirit as part of her daily life.

“I work as a nurse at the Foothills Hospital NICU, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” Stephen said. “Moms who have babies with complications or have premature babies, they come to our unit.”

READ MORE: Inside a NICU: a ‘tough world people are totally unaware of’

Having helped many families through those tough situations, Stephen is always impressed how they remain so strong.

“You’re fighting for these little warriors,” she said. “You think that they’re so small and fragile but they’re extremely strong.

“No matter what, they keep fighting!”

The other dancers says Stephen’s experiences at the hospital have helped the production team.

“She sees how families and little babies are working so hard every day and fighting to survive,” Thakore said. “The perspective she brings to our show is really invaluable.”

Stephen says it’s all about giving 100 per cent effort in every situation.

READ MORE: A premature Edmonton baby weighed just over 1 pound at birth. Now, he’s thriving

“It’s just perseverance with the babies and the warriors (show),” she said. “Doing the best you possibly can every single day.”

The Kala Bhavan dancers perform Yoddha: The Great Warrior at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 at the Bella Concert Hall at Mount Royal University.

Members of the group say Stephen’s fighting spirit helps inspire the performers to new heights.

“She’s kind of a day-to-day warrior in her day job, helping and supporting families,” Thakore said, “and then a mythical warrior when she comes to the stage. It really is about women having that extra strength and that power.”

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