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 AFL 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.
Tickets at www.fringeworld.com.au.