Adelaide Fringe: Djuki Mala

AF Djuki Mala AARI had heard great things about Djuki Mala but really didn’t know what the show was about. The best thing about not knowing what to expect is when you are blown away in awe and sheer excitement. The Djuki Mala Dance Troupe are from the north-eastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of the Yolngu people where they have been able to preserve their culture for thousands of years.

Dancing is an important part of their community and especially today where it has given young people an opportunity to be a part of something so inspiring. Djuki Mala is the Indigenous name meaning Chooky Group. Djuki is the adopted word for ‘chook’ and ‘Mala’ means a group or set of people who share a common feature.

Starting by telling the audience the history of the Aboriginal people and the settlement of the white man, we are reminded of some important truths with a serious and poignant message. The history of the Yolngu people along with their survival is one certainly to be celebrated and through dance is the perfect way!

This group of “chooky dancers” are full of energy from the moment they get on stage. We were told that the more we cheer and clap the more they will response and they did! It was non-stop! I was surprised to hear the tune of Zorba the Greek coming from the speakers but through the video on the screen we found out how and why this dance troupe started.

The dance was created as a tribute to a special Greek lady who was a carer for one of the community members. From there Djuki Mala has been creating their own brand of traditional dancing to the sounds of modern music.

From Bollywood to Singin’ in the Rain and songs of the 60s to the modern dance tunes of the 90s, cue Pump Up The Jam and Ride on Time – there wasn’t a period in music they didn’t cover. The disco era of the 70s was a highlight as well the solo dance piece paying tribute to Michael Jackson. They even got their dance on to Missy Elliot’s Get Your Freak On!

The dancing is simply infectious and makes you move in your seat. It’s storytelling at its most captivating and dynamic that it draws you in wanting more. While all the energy and dance are a fun way to showcase their dance skills it is also a way to tell the story of their life and culture as Yolnugu people. Djuki Mala deserved their standing ovation and adulation from everyone in the room. This is a MUST SEE show. You walk away feeling inspired and full of happiness.

Djuki Mala
The Factory at The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Rundle Park, Adelaide
Performance: Monday 5 March 2018
Season continues to 18 March 2018
Information and Bookings:

Image: Djuki Mala (supplied)

Review: Anastasia Lambis – courtesy of All About Entertainment