The show was sold out, and the Factory in the Garden was at capacity, which for a Monday night in Adelaide speaks volumes. Djuki Mala, an aboriginal dance group from Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land had arrived in Adelaide for Adelaide Fringe 2018.
The show starts quite sombre with a soliloquy on the history of the first nations of Australia and the subsequent persecution – a snapshot of history and acknowledgement of the past. Taking us on a journey through traditional dance before bursting into the dance that threw them in the spotlight – Zorba the Greek.
The show then continues through an entertaining rollercoaster of dance routines from 50s musicals, to Michael Jackson.
The performers do the entire show with infinite energy and such authenticity and soul, that you cannot help but feel overcome with infectious energy and happiness. The audience getting caught up with the energy, clapping along, cheering, and dancing through the dance routines.
What I enjoyed the most was the story line interwoven between dances, shown through narrative video of family and friends from the country from where Djuki Mala come from. This gave meaning and context of the dance group and their evolution since forming. More importantly, it created awareness and understanding of their culture and background, and why dance is important to them.
The merging of cultures and fusing Yonlgu influence on modern dance is an incredible way of maintaining their traditional culture but also allowing it to evolve and make relevant for younger generations. This is their way of learning their traditions and culture, but sharing their song-lines and stories with a wider audience.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this show and I didn’t go in with any expectations. I left with a smile on my face and a feeling of happiness and joy. This show was an hour of pure unadulterated joy and energy.
This is easily my pick of Fringe 2018
Fringe Review by Ilona Schultz
For more info and tickets to Djuki Mala head to https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/djuki-mala-af2018