Fringe World 2019: Djuki Mala review

Djuki Mala is a phenomenal celebration of dance and a heart-warming tribute to culture, sharing the joy of movement with passion, charisma, and love of dance that flows through the bodies of the performers.

Djuki Mala sure know how to draw a crowd, and on a hot summer’s day the West Australian Spiegeltent was absolutely packed, with a shimmer of excitement rippling through the tent. From the moment the four young men graced the stage, they had the entire place in their thrall, and anyone passing by outside was sure to hear just what a fantastic time we were having inside.

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One of the most unique, infectious and high energy shows of Fringe, Djuki Mala is an indigenous dance sensation unlike anything you’ve seen before. It seamlessly brings together traditional dance with contemporary Yolngu culture and storytelling to make your heart sing. You will be grooving and clapping along, a giant smile on your face as you feel the joy in the room, thanks to a dash of comedy, pitch perfect timing, and the undeniable elation that comes from music, dancing, and being seen.

From fierce, foot-stomping traditional dance to tributes to Motown, Bollywood, hip-hop and techno, an exuberant mash up of classics, a cheeky umbrella-filled salute to ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, and my personal favourite, a spirited homage to Michael Jackson that took me right back to my childhood, Djuki Mala is a fun, thrilling, and heartfelt 70 minutes of power.

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Interspersed between the dances is video footage giving insight into how Djuki Mala began, alongside footage sharing stories of family, love, culture and the important role of dance and music in the lives of these young men, from their homeland of Elcho Island, North East Arnhem Land.

I always say the best art is the kind that not only entertains bit that shares a message, whether it be of hope or history, of education or empathy, and this is something that Djuki Mala does extremely well. There’s a lesson in history, but it’s not shoved down your throat, instead delivered with heart and poignancy as the young men say “Despite the past, we are here”. This is the kind of performance where you’ll walk out feeling a bit more connected, more empathetic, bubbling with hope and, most of all, an uncontainable desire to dance you own heart out, for no reason other than for the happiness it brings.

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Djuki Mala has a huge run at Fringe World this year:

19th Jan – 25th Jan at 4pm and 6:45pm

22 Jan and 12th Feb – 15th Feb at 6:45pm

9th and 10th Feb at 2pm and 4pm

16th and 17th Feb at 4pm and 6:45pm

You can catch it at the West Australian Spiegeltent at The Woodside Pleasure Garden.

 

 

*I was gifted media tickets for this show. All opinions are my own.

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