Milpirri (jarda-warnpa) 2014


Lajamanu, North Tanami Desert

Presented by the Warlpiri People of Lajamanu and Tracks Dance Company 

An impressive cross-generational performance

“Sitting in the red dust under a full moon, absorbed by the dancers, soaking up their stories. Such a magical experience”.

Set against a backdrop of dramatic and damaging change for Warlpiri people in the Tanami Desert, the success of this ever-evolving event is testament to its ongoing importance to this remote community and the ongoing relationship between Tracks and the community. Started in 2005, the Milpirri project success story is marked by themes of continuity and adaptability with a focus on fitness, learning, and cultural identity.

This year’s Milpirri performance draws on themes and values from the Jarda-Warnpa ceremony. This Warlpiri “Fire” ceremony is associated with atonement and reconciliation.

The Milpirri performance is created by the creative team, through a six-week residency in Lajamanu, involving the entire community and an external production team. This leads to a one-night performance involving approximately 200 community members performing (from primary school children, young men and women, to the male and female elders). The Milpirri festival, of which the performance is the showcase, includes visual arts exhibitions, community forums, and a DVD creation of the event.

Creative Personnel

Creative Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Artistic Directors: Tim (Jampijinpa) Newth, David (Japaljarri) McMicken
Traditional Choreography: Lajamanu Elders
Youth Choreography: Nick (Japanangka) Power, Kelly (Napurrula) Beneforti assisted by Caleb Japanangka Patrick

Soundtrack Production: Marc Peckham (Monkeymarc) and Rob Tremlett (Mantra), Voiceovers: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Jasmine Nangala Patrick, Michael Jungarrayi Doolan, Vocals and musicians: Lyndon Jupurrurla Gordon, Gerald Japanangka Robbo, Anton Japangardi James and students of Lajamanu school. Desert People - Jarda-warnpa Mix: North Tanami Band with Lajamanu Elders, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Teddy Jupurrurla Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Tasman, Molly Napurrurla Tasman and Rosie Napurrurla Tasman (original mix Matthew Cunliffe).

Banner Designs: Joe Japanangka James, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Teddy Jupurrurla Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Kelly, Tim Jupurrurla Kennedy, Peter Japanangka Dixon, Lindsay Jungarrayi Herbert, Leslie Jampijinpa Robertson, Norman Jampijinpa Kelly, Dick Japaljarri Raymond, Jacko Jakamarra Gordon, Thomas Jangala Sampson, Marcus (Paku Paku) Lawson, Victor Jupurrurla Simon, Robin Lawson, Molly Napurrula Tasman, Rosie Napurrula Tasman, Biddy Nungarrayi Long Anderson, Judy Napangardi Martin, Liddy Nampijinpa Miller

Production and Promotions Personnel

Producers: Tracks Dance Company
Tracks General Manager: Susan Congreve
Tracks Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Tracks Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Sound and Light Operators / Technical Assistants: Mathew McHugh, Neil Macknight
Poster Design: Mark Marcelis
Photo Documentation: Peter Eve
DVD Production: Vamp TV
Editing: Todd Williams
Camera Men: Todd Williams, Rod Balaam
Evaluation Consultant: Miles (Jangala) Holmes, Allan (Jampijinpa) Marshal


Jupurrurla Jakamarra Napurrula Nakamarra (Red Group)
Male Dancers and Singers:
Female Dancers and Singers:
Male Youth Dancers:
Female Youth Dancers:

Japaljarri Jungarrayi Napaljarri Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)
Male Dancers and Singers:
Female Dancers and Singers:
Male Youth Dancers:
Female Youth Dancers:

Japangardi Japanangka Napangardi Napanangka (Green Group)
Male Dancers and Singers:
Female Dancers and Singers:
Male Youth Dancers:
Female Youth Dancers:

Jangala Jampijinpa Nangala Nampijinpa (Blue Group)
Male Dancers and Singers:
Female Dancers and Singers:
Male Youth Dancers:
Female Youth Dancers:


Milpirri 2014 draws its ideas from the values found in the Warlpiri Jarda-warnpa ceremony. These values still hold true for both Warlpiri and non-Warlpiri alike. Each major theme is explored through traditional men’s and women’s dancing as well as through youth contemporary dance.

“To exist in the land of the kangaroo we must first understand the emu”
Warlu – a fire is ignited in the children of Lajamanu

‘Pilapakarnu’ Waterbirds Dance:   “Celebration” – Manyu Warna
(Jampijinpa, Jangala / Nampijinpa, Nangala– Blue Group)
This is a story of coming together to celebrate. A time of year when everything is here for us to enjoy. This is the end of the rainy season, “Walyka”, when the water returns to the land, the time of the emu awakening. The water holes are full, the rivers are running. We all come together to celebrate

‘Warlawurru’ Wedge-tail eagle Dance:   “Protection” - Mardani
(Jungarrayi, Nungarrayi / Japaljarri, Napaljarri– Yellow Group)
A wise hunter the wedge-tail eagle protects his country. But even the eagle is vulnerable, because the hunter can be hunted. The eagle unites the sky (emu) with the land (kangaroo). The eagle does not own the land, just as we do not own the land. The land owns the eagle, and the land owns us.

‘Wardapi’ Goanna Dance:   “Guidance” - Purami
(Japanangka, Japangardi / Napanangka, Napangardi– Green Group)
The story of the Wardapi offers us a warning. There is a saying in this story to always walk in your older brother’s footsteps. Stay on your path and don’t be distracted by the Wardapi hole. A Goanna hole might look like it contains good tucker but it could be dangerous, you could be bitten by a snake.

‘Wampana’ Wallaby Dance:   “Unity” - Jintanka
(Jupurrula, Jakamarra / Napurrula, Nakamarra– Red Group)
We all have others helping us, teaching us, looking after us. So too there are others we must help, teach and look after. It is the responsibility of one to care for the other. If we help each other and care for one another, we grow strong. We achieve more together than by ourselves. We can work together to achieve our common goals.

Finale: Jarda-warnpa - A place for everyone
Jarda-Warnpa is a fire ceremony, a cleansing ceremony: a chance for people to come together to settle disputes and work out their differences. The fire represents the burning away of past wrongs. Just like we burn country, to cleanse the country, this is an opportunity for the country to burn us, to cleanse us. Featuring ‘Desert People’, a remix of a song sung by the North Tanami Band and the lighting of the Witi poles (fire).

Thank You

Milpirri Governing Body: Geoffrey Jungarrayi Barnes, Roger Japaljarri Jurrah, Stephen Japanangka Dixon, Minawara (Steven) Jupurrurla Morton, Steven Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Peter Jangala Jigili, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Rene Napangardi Dixon, Noressa Napurrula White, Doris Nakamarra Lewis, Laura Nakamarra Lewis, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick

To the Warlpirri people of Lajamanu and to the staff of the following Lajamanu organizations: Central Desert Shire, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program, Western Desert Dialysis, Lajamanu School, Lajamanu Progress Association, Activities Centre, Lajamanu Rangers program, Michael Fleming - Government Engagement Coordinator, Northern Territory Police, Lajamanu Health Clinic and the many other people form Lajamanu who help out.

Allan Marshal - Deakin University, Leeanne - ANU, David Taylor - Knock About Chefs, Warehouse 73, Stewart and Cath - People Pictures, Miles Holmes, Jeniffer Biddel, Jeff Bruer - PAW, Wormald


Newmont Asia Pacific, GMAAAC, Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, Lajamanu Progress Association, Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, KnockAbout Chefs (St Vincent de Pauls), Dreamedia, Southern Cross TV

Funding Bodies

Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

Tracks 2014

Artistic Co Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Dance Animateur: Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: Heather Van Holt
Geek in Residence: Jeffrey Withaya Campbell

Committee Members: (Chair/Public Officer) Michael Grant, (Vice-Chair) David Taylor, (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, Stephanie Cvirn, Kate Hudspith, Mary Durack, (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AC, Administrator of the Northern Territory


When and Where

*Permits from the Central Lands Council are needed to attend this event. There are no camping facilities in the community. Campers need to be completely independent.

Sunset Saturday November 1, 2014

Lajamanu, North Tanami Desert

The Milpirri performance is part of the Milpirri Festival weekend (November 1-2), which also includes visual arts exhibitions, sales and more!

Exhibition and sales: Warnayaka Arts Centre 08 8975 0808,,

Participants Responses

“Milpirri is a time that brings the whole community together. On that day everyone joins in and celebrates.” LynetteTasman – Warlpiri performer.

Audience Responses

“Tracks Dance Company and the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu are to be commended for their dedicated work to ensure a splendid performance was enjoyed by all. The uninhibited joy of the children participating in the festival was a pleasure to see, and what moves they had! We also thoroughly enjoyed the traditional dancing and the artwork serving as a backdrop to the stage.” The Northern Territory Administrator, the Hon Sally Thomas AM.

“Milpirri shares Aboriginal culture and stories with a diverse audience, through the collaboration of traditional and contemporary dance, song and artistry, by means of a positive partnership between the Lajamanu community and Tracks Dance.”  Madge Fletcher – Arts Manager

Further Reading

A short history of the long-term relationship between Lajamanu and Tracks Dance Company

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