Dance Rites

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Dance Rites
Photograph: Syrenne Anu

The fourth annual Indigenous dance-off returns to the Opera House

Sydney’s beloved harbourside landmark will be transformed into a massive dancefloor for a free weekend of Indigenous celebration. This nation-wide Indigenous dance competition honours long-standing cultural traditions and welcomes performers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from across Australia.

Each dance troupe, dressed in traditional skin markings, will present three choreographed numbers including a welcome and farewell dance, and a freestyle piece. They’re competing for a grand prize of $20,000. Last year, the event attracted over 300 performers from across 21 nations and 31 clan groups. And for the first time, the group who has contributed outstanding communication of cultural knowledge in their community will receive special recognition.

If you watched from the stands in years past, you’ll recognise a few familiar dancing faces returning to the stage. The 2017 overall winners, the Kulgoodah Dancers, will shake a leg on the dancefloor, and you’ll see 2017 wildcard winners ALLKUMO Malpa Paman Dancers perform. Highly acclaimed professional troupes like the Muggera Dancers and New Zealand dance collective Te Rua Mauri will also make an appearance.

There’ll even be some award-winning music to match the skilled dancers. Double threat electro-pop duo Electric Fields will sneak in a Saturday night performance, and on Sunday Canada’s Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner will join forces with Julian Bel-Bachir, the drummer for Indigenous hip hop group OKA, in a one-off set.

By: Time Out editors