Laura a very special occasion
THE biennial Laura Dance Festival, held last weekend, successfully celebrated the songs, dance, ceremonies and art of more than 20 indigenous communities of Cape York last weekend, culminating in the announcement of the winner of the dance competition.
This area’s local indigenous people were represented by two dance groups, one from the Mossman Gorge Community, Manjal Dimbi, and the other, Ngurrban Bulbur Kadar Dancers, also from Mossman.
Festival organiser Ms Tracey Ludwick said groups came from as far away as Bamaga and Lockhart River to Yarrabah and Kuranda.
“It is the coming together of the Cape York people to transfer culture to new generations and to meet up with other communities,” Tracey said, “and all up there are about 7000 people gathered here as spectators or performers.”
The events were held on the Ang-Gnarra Festival Grounds 20km south east of Laura which is a sacred area of the Aboriginal people of the Cape, having been a meeting place for centuries.
“It is an alcohol and drug free event, and there is no phone or internet connection so there are no distractions from the purpose of being here,” she said.
The Manjal Dimbi group from the Mossman Gorge community performed several dances including the Crocodile Dance and the Flash Flood.
“This is happiness,” Ms Kym Missionary, organiser of Manjal Dimbi said, “being to- gether, sharing our Kuku Yalanji culture with other communities.
“It is a very special occasion – this dance festival and one of our elders, Uncle Hondo, (Henry Buchanan), will perform the Old Man Dance which hasn’t been done since 2001.”
The Ngurrban Bulbur Kadar Dancers were led by Mr Robert Lafragua who said his group were dancing for the second time in memory of their former dance leader Zaman Ryan who died just a couple of weeks before their 2015 appearance.
“It really is all about teaching the young ones about our history, our culture and our ways and we focus on our youth with dancers from 9 years old to 21.”
According to Tracey Ludwick, it was the first time the judges were split on the winner of the competition.
“So the first place was shared by the groups from Bamaga, Lockhart River and Mayi Wunba from Kuranda,” she said.
Ngurrban Bulbur Kadar dance group from Mossman performing at the Laura Dance Festival