Sixty thousand years ago Aborigines inhabited Australia but after the arrival of the colonists in the 18th century the Aboriginal people were forced into smaller and smaller areas of land. The Yolngu tribe is one of the largest remaining Aboriginal communities and from the tribe come the dancers of Djuki Mala with an entertaining fusion of their traditional culture and more modern influences.
The dancers begin with traditional movement and dance drawing the audience in to their story and educating people about the importance of keeping their culture alive. Interspersed between each section are moving video diaries from the dancers themselves and from relatives and friends who explain how the dances came to be and the vital link the Chooky dancers are providing.
Started as a way to keep the boys active and healthy the Chooky dancers soon went viral on YouTube with their thank you tribute to a Greek nurse who had helped a member of their community: Zorba the Greek. The show bursts into life when they perform their ‘internet sensation’ dance with an energy and joy which has everyone in the audience smiling and clapping along.
Djuki Mala are at their best when performing these comedic numbers, their enjoyment radiating from the stage as they give a glimpse of their own dance influences including tributes to dance legends, Gene Kelly and Michael Jackson. As dance goes they are not the most technically astute and in a competitive genre there are better shows out there for the dance enthusiast but it is nevertheless inspiring to watch the four men portray a culture most of us know very little about with complete commitment and dedication. It is no surprise that they are glistening with sweat and ready to hit the floor when the non-stop hour of dance comes to a close and for those looking for a cultural education, you couldn’t go far wrong with this show.