Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

A THANK you can go a very long way.

When Yol­ngu teenager Lionel Dul­manawuy de­cided in 2007 he wanted to thank his sis­ter’s Greek carer by pay­ing trib­ute to her her­itage with a group per­for­mance of Zorba the Greek on an El­cho Is­land bas­ket­ball court, he never imag­ined where The Chooky Dancers would end up a decade later.

His fa­ther Frank Djir­rim­bilpil­wuy up­loaded a clip to YouTube which has since had more than 2.5 mil­lion views.

The Chooky Dancers, re­named Djuki Mala (Djuki mean­ing Chooky with a Yol­ngu ac­cent and Mala mean­ing mob) in 2013, have since con­tin­ued to present shows that re-in­ter­pret pop­u­lar cul­ture and dance with nar­ra­tive and drama.

Joshua Bond is the artis­tic di­rec­tor and a found­ing mem­ber of the North East Arn­hem Land en­sem­ble and di­rected/ pro­duced the crit­i­cally ac­claimed 2014 show Djuki Mala which will be pre­sented in Perth for the first time at Fringe World Fes­ti­val 2017.

“The com­pany has been to WA nu­mer­ous times up in the Pil­bara but not with this par­tic­u­lar show, so we’re re­ally ex­cited to bring it to Perth,” Bond said.

“When we first had the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate this show, we dis­cussed how the main ques­tions we would get asked were peo­ple want­ing to know more about The Chooky Dancers; how it came to be what it is and how we came to be do­ing these dances.

“So in a sense this show is very much a ret­ro­spec­tive or au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal work that re­flects on the ge­n­e­sis of the com­pany.

“It talks through­out the show about the his­tory of the com­pany, the ups and downs. It shares some of the more in­ti­mate mo­ments that have shaped the com­pany to be what it is to­day.”

Bond said the small cast drew on di­verse cul­tural ref­er­ences from around the world and this di­ver­sity had cre­ated a show ac­ces­si­ble to au­di­ences of all ages.

Tanya MacNaughton

Mem­bers of the Djuki Mala en­sem­ble.

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