Dancers Support Cyclone-Hit Indigenous Community
One of Australia’s most successful dance companies, Djuki Mala (The Chooky Dancers), is sending money to a remote Indigenous community recently affected by cyclones Nathan and Lam.
The Indigenous dance company have announced a donation of $10,000 to help rebuild Elcho Island’s main community, Galiwin’ku, which is home to many of the group’s dancers. Located in Arnhem Land, the remote island community was hit hard by Cyclone Lam in February, and then by Cyclone Nathan just a month later.
The cyclones left more than 200 people in the community homeless, but there was very little outside support for those affected. Djuki Mala artistic director and executive producer Josh Bond has told the ABC that there was “no mentionable support from the government” despite the vast damage done by the two storms.
While some dance members were able to help with initial clean-up efforts, they also decided to use their creativity for good, using performances at Adelaide Fringe Festival as an opportunity to gather audience donations as well as their own profits to go towards the “Hands Up For Arnhem Land Cyclone Appeal” started by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA).
“We’re really proud to return and be able to give back to our community in another way and help families get back into their homes sooner,” Bond says in his interview with the ABC.
“Everyone is taking it in their stride and remaining positive. There has been such an incredible amount of support from the community to clean up the damage and this demonstrates the incredible resilience of our families in remote communities.”
Djuki Mala came into the public eye in 2007 when a video of their “Aboriginal interpretation of Zorba the Greek” dance was uploaded to YouTube. Within hours the video had gone viral and has now been watched over 2.5 million times. They have since gone on to tour all around Australia and performed at major festivals and events locally and in China and Taiwan.
As well as raising funds for cyclone relief in Galiwin’ku, Djuki Mala also won the 2015 Adelaide Fringe award for best dance.
Their next performance is at Melbourne International Comedy Festival on 16th April 2015, for one night only.
Images: Djuki Mala with their 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival award, source: Instagram; a satellite image of Cyclone Lam as it moved through the Northern Territory in February, source: NASA/Wikimedia Commons.