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Development   /  Emma Balnaves

Pure Dance

The story of an ancient dance and one teacher’s quest to create healthy minds and bodies and help others heal themselves


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Emma Balnaves

  • PRODUCER Lara Damiani



Never before have the impacts of mental ill-health been so acute as during the pandemic. Levels of stress, anxiety and worry have reached an all-time high. In Australia, almost half of all adults will face mental ill-health during their lives.
Governments and NGO’s around the world are facing an epidemic. It is not only mental health that we need to nurture, but also our physical health. Around Australia, the issue of creating resilient communities by ensuring good health and wellbeing is being talked about everywhere.

Pure Dance is a stunning visual exploration of an ancient form of movement that can help offer a solution to building resilient communities and ensuring positive health and wellbeing. It is a story with unforgettable characters and breathtaking landscapes about an ancient dance that can help create healthy minds and bodies.

Yoga practitioner and teacher, Adelaide-born Emma Balnaves has devoted her life to creating a healthy mind and body by mastering the techniques of the ancient yogis. With a growing and devoted following globally, the impacts of Emma’s teachings on her students are clear: quality of life is greatly enhanced with mindfulness and movement, inner freedom and peace.

In the late 90’s, Emma discovered the ancient yoga practice of the Pure Dance. This film is the story of her journey to India and Nepal to uncover the hidden treasure that is the Pure Dance – the ancient Nrtta sadhana. On this journey, as she investigates the people and explores the places that have given rise to the Pure Dance, Emma has one quest: how to share this ancient wisdom with people everywhere so that individuals and communities around the world can have better lives.

This is the story of a treasure uncovered in South India. A treasure that could hold the key to helping heal our world.

Support this project

0.35% funded
  • $500,000.00

  • $1,738.00

  • May 2024

  • 11

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $100.00
Janis Baskind $50.00
Radhasri Fogel $108.00
Louise Goodvach $120.00
kathryn wyer $500.00
Laura Fior $100.00
Anonymous $50.00
Shelle Ball $500.00
Yazmin Todd $10.00
Natalie Smith $100.00
Alison Crook $100.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Good Health and Wellbeing is number 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

As we emerge from the pandemic, governments and NGOs around the world are putting mental health and wellbeing on the top of their radars. In Australia, greater resources are being diverted to support health and wellbeing to create preparedness and build resilient communities.

Worldwide, studies show the benefits that yoga has on mental health and wellbeing. Regular yoga practice is associated with increased wellbeing including improved sleep, better body awareness and greater happiness. Improving mindfulness helps boost compassion, gratitude and "flow" states, all of which contribute to greater happiness.

As both a physical activity as well as a mental exercise, there is no doubt that yoga can make a difference.
Through sharing the teachings of the Pure Dance - this film will offer a unique insight into an ancient tradition that can be part of the solution to help heal our world.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

To share the ancient teachings of the Pure Dance in a way that is accessible so that the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities around the world can be improved.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We believe this film will:
(a) raise awareness of this ancient wisdom and its relevance to improving health and wellbeing.
(b) be a tool to inspire people to change attitudes and behaviours to improve their mental health and wellbeing
(c) be a tool to inspire organisations and community groups to encourage and promote mental health and wellbeing through this film
(d) help to create and instil better mental health and wellbeing practices among people, communities and organisations resulting in more resilient societies.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We will create an Impact Campaign designed to maximise audience engagement and reach. This will include, but not be limited to;
(a) establishing relationships with partners to help us increase the film’s impact. These impact partners will include organisations and individuals across the health and wellbeing sectors.
(b) collaborating with our impact partners to create outreach and promotion opportunities through a strategic Impact Campaign
(c) a planned roll out of screenings with filmmaker Q&A sessions formulated specifically to reach our target audiences
(d) a marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the film to maximise audience engagement for the screenings and create a sense of excitement about the film pre-release. The marketing campaign will also promote any broadcast or streamer distribution deals we create.
We will explore other ways our documentary will achieve its outcomes as we develop our Impact Campaign.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have interest from La Belle Façon (France) and Think Films (Australia) as co-partners for production.
We are also exploring other partners that could add value to our film and maximise distribution and outreach.
La Belle Facon and Think Films are currently working with us on story development and our impact campaign.

Their expertise will help guide the development of a story that has appeal to both a wide audience as well as significant distribution partner/s.
Think Films will help us secure finance through the Producer Offset Program to help achieve our budget goals. They will also help us find and secure distribution partner/s and work with us on our Impact Campaign.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope that viewers will:
(a) gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of the Pure Dance and begin or expand their yoga practice
(b) engage more deeply with ancient wisdoms and teachings from the Yogic tradition (in particular the Pure Dance) as a way of improving health and wellbeing
(c) feel inspired and motivated to explore or expand their own personal journeys with mental health and wellbeing on a more wholistic basis
(d) encourage their friends, families, workplaces and communities to watch the film and explore ways of improving mental health and wellbeing.

Our impact campaign will include practical ways viewers can take action to improve their health and wellbeing after seeing the film and these will be made available to viewers.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our indicators for success will include: the ability to secure broadcaster and/or streamer distribution deals; audience rating numbers from those deals; recording the attendance numbers at our screenings as well as the number of screenings we have and where they are located; evaluating demand for new workshops and teachings from our existing students; conduct surveys with viewers after the screenings; measuring the extent of media coverage received, measuring unique website ‘views’ along with measuring Facebook and Instagram followers.
Other indicators of success would include: demand for the film in other languages; demand for film screenings from organisations, community groups and corporate groups.
Our impact vision is a long term one and we recognize that achieving it will require continuous effort. We will know we have achieved our impact vision when we can measure the improvements in the health and wellbeing of those who have seen our film.