Laura a very spe­cial oc­ca­sion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Moya Stevens

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.

Pic­ture: MOYA STEVENS

Ngur­rban Bul­bur Kadar dance group from Moss­man per­form­ing at the Laura Dance Fes­ti­val

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