Djuki Mala

Djuki Mala, formerly known as the Chooky Dancers, rose to fame ten years ago with a viral YouTube video of Aboriginal dancers performing Zorba the Greek in homage to a Greek woman who cared for the sister of one of the troupe. This led to a massive demand for the dance group to perform all over the world and, since then, they have gone on to receive critical acclaim and win multiple awards. Now they’ve arrived at the Edinburgh Fringe with a show that has the whole audience bopping along in their chairs.

An hour of infectious joy

After a charming and funny intro from one of the production team, where he entreats us to cheer, clap, whoop and be a part of the fun, we watch a short film briefing us on the history of the Yolngu people of Elcho Island and the horrific legacy of British colonialism. It’s a grim but valuable opening to a joyful show. The footage returns throughout; mostly in the form of intimate interviews with the dancers and their family and it’s some welcome context to the process of Djuki Mala and the pride and history of the First Nations people.

However, we’re here for the dance, and it is glorious. The cast have brought together many genres of dance and pop culture influences so we get everything from the fascinating and entrancing indigenous dances of the Yolngu culture to homages to Singin’ In The Rain, Michael Jackson, swing, jive and, of course, Zorba The Greek.

Djuki Mala is an hour of infectious joy; the dancers onstage appear to be having so much fun that you can’t help but be carried along and, even the more poignant moments created by the interview footage add to the feeling of celebration of these wonderful performers and their enthusiasm for dance.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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The Blurb

Best Dance Adelaide and Perth Fringe. West Australian Arts Editors Award. Aboriginal dance and YouTube sensations Djuki Mala make their UK debut. Unique, infectious, high-energy and always exuberant, fusing traditional Yolngu and contemporary pop culture, dance and storytelling to create work that is a marvel of timing, comedy and clowning, with a hefty dose of heart and soul! If there is one show that is guaranteed to leave you feeling genuinely happy then this is it! 'No better offering at this year's Fringe' ***** (West Australian). 'Joy enhancing, inspiring, enthralling, thrilling, intoxicating' ***** (Upside News).