Dance Rites, Australia’s annual First Nations dance competition, will take place November 24-25, at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt.
This free, two-day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance and cultures will see some 300 performers representing nations from across the country.
Each group will present three dances: a welcome and a farewell dance, one of which must include a chant in local language, and a “wildcard” dance of the group’s choosing.
Up for grabs is $20 000 for the winning group, with $5000 for the runner-up and $3000 for the highest scoring “wildcard” dance. There is will also be special award that celebrate’s a dance troupe’s outstanding contributions to the communication of cultural knowledge. The judging panel, which includes Juanita Duncan, Libby Collins, Matthew Doyle and Waangenga Blanco, will assess groups on the technical aspects of their performance, and their engagement with language, skin-markings and traditional instruments.
The competition will also see exceptional Dance Rites alumni return to perform exhibition dances including Kulgoodah Dancers (overall winners, 2017), ALLKUMO Malpa Paman Dancers (winners of the Wildcard Award 2017) as well as professional troupes such as the highly acclaimed Muggera Dancers and the inspiring New Zealand dance collective Te Rua Mauri. Saturday evening will conclude with a performance from electro-pop duo Electric Fields, while on Sunday Canada’s Anishinaabe award-winning singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner will be accompanied by Julian Bel-Bachir, the drummer for OKA.
Find out more at www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Photo: Daniel Boud