Review: Djuki Mala

From East Arnhem land, the Yolongu dance group Djuki Mala (previously known as “The Chooky Dancers”) first became known in 2007 when they posted the performance of a routine to the popular tune Zorba the Greek on Youtube.

Following this they became an internet sensation and have since toured the world, sharing their culture and personal stories through dance. They have won many accolades for their work, including winner of Best Dance at the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2015.

Djuki Mala present their self titled show this year at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. The group has a distinctive and unique style: a fusion of traditional Yolongu dance, contemporary techniques and physical comedy. In what is a deeply moving, cheeky and inventive performance, they are a crowd favourite.

Video footage features interject the dance periodically and the dancers and family detail their journey, struggles and aspirations through interview and visual imagery. This aspect of the performance provides real and meaningful context to the work and helps the audience celebrate their culture and identity as young Aboriginal men.

The dancers are athletic and impressive, light on their feet and invested in the piece. They move effortlessly from one segment to the next with genuine joy and enthusiasm. As a group they are collaborative, in synch and complement each other’s individual style, personalities and strengths.

Djuki Mala reimagine popular culture, traditional dance and make it their own. With skill and maturity they bring a boundless energy to the choreography that is both touching and relevant.

Djuki Mala performed at the Vagabond Tent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights on Sunday, 26 February, and will continue until Sunday, March 5

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