Dancers share story

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Tanya MacNaughton

ELCHO Is­land in­dige­nous dancers Djuki Mala (formerly known as The Chooky Dancers) are shak­ing up Fringe World Fes­ti­val with their 2014 self-ti­tled show.

From north­east Arn­hem Land, Djuki Mala (Djuki mean­ing chooky with a Yol­ngu ac­cent and Mala mean­ing mob) is an en­er­getic pro­duc­tion com­bin­ing tra­di­tional Yol­ngu and contemporary pop cul­ture.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Joshua Bond has cre­ated a retrospective or au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal work that re­flects on the gen­e­sis of the com­pany.

In 2007, teenager Lionel Dul­manawuy thanked 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.

The video footage went vi­ral on YouTube and shaped Djuki Mala into what it is to­day.

The five dancers performing in the Perth sea­son are Baykali Ganam­barr, Yalyal­wuy (Wakara) Gon­darra, Kylie Didi­warr Yunupingu, Tib­ian Wyles and Marko (Wat­jarr) Dhuban­puy.

Ganam­barr joined Djuki Mala in 2013 af­ter as­pir­ing to be part of the group since he was a young­ster.

“When I was a kid I would watch the orig­i­nal Chooky Dancers per­form on tele­vi­sion and live, and I thought I had to get up there and be like them one day,” Ganam­barr said.

“Most of those boys are older now and liv­ing back in the com­mu­ni­ties. We’re all the new boys; performing with them is pretty awe­some.”

Ganam­barr, who also acts and plays Aus­tralian rules foot­ball and bas­ket­ball, said the show was a great way to share their cul­ture.

Djuki Mala is at Sa­lon Perdu Spiegel­tent, The Plea­sure Gar­den, North­bridge, un­til Fe­bru­ary 14.

View our Djuki Mala photo gallery at­mu­ni­

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d464512

Mem­bers of the Djuki Mala dance group.

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