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.