Djuki Mala to perform in Perth at Fringe World Festival 2017


Djuki Mala ensemble.
Djuki Mala ensemble.

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, has since continued to present shows that reinterpret 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 sat down and 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.”

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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.

“There is also so much of Australia that still knows little about indigenous culture in this country,” he said.

“Each time we perform, we see it instigates a conversation about where we are, whose country we’re on and how we live our lives here.

“It provides a deeper understanding, appreciation and respect for the first people of this country.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Djuki Mala

Where: Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Garden, Northbridge

When: January 27 to February 14

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au