Dance Rites

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Dance Rites
Photograph: Syrenne Anu

Time Out says

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

Sydney Opera House's forecourt will come alive over the weekend of November 23 and 24 as Dance Rites, the House’s annual Indigenous dance competition, returns for a fifth year.

This year marks the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages and the competition is guaranteed to be bigger than ever, with more than 300 performers from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia travelling to Sydney to compete for the grand prize of $20,000.

Designed to foster the safeguarding and sharing of First Nations languages and cultural practices across Australia, each group must present three choreographed numbers, including a welcome and farewell dance – one of which must include a chant in a local language – and a “wildcard” dance of the group’s choosing. These are then assessed by an expert judging panel for their technical skill and engagement with language, skin markings and instruments.

This year, look out for Kimberley Echoes, a cross-cultural celebration of the Kimberley featuring didgeridoo virtuoso and singer Mark Atkins and guitarist Stephen Pigram, as well as a performance from last year’s winners, Nunukul Yuggera. Rhyan Clapman, aka Dobby, a rapper and drummer of Ngemba, Muruwari and Filipino heritage will also perform, alongside beats group OKA and Indigenous Enterprise, a group made up of First Nations Canadian and United States dancers.

By: Polly Simons

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