Milpirri - Jurntu 2018


Lajamanu, Tanami Desert

Milpirri is based upon a relationship between Tracks Dance Company and the community of Lajamanu that began in 1988. It exemplifies how long-term relationships are vital to creative, collaborative, heritage-making. It is an intergenerational, bilingual, bicultural event designed to bring Warlpiri, and non-Warlpiri together to “enliven tradition for an intercultural twenty-first-century future” - Steve Jampijinpa Patrick.

“Milpirri is one of the most successful community arts collaborations today, modelling new trajectories for the arts industry and professional partnership. It is also one of the industry’s least well-known initiatives (at least, to the broader, non- Warlpiri, public) because it remains radically site-specific. Lajamanu is the northernmost Warlpiri community (technically situated on Gurindji country) of approximately five hundred people, located in the Tanami Desert, 950 kilometers south of Darwin. For one night only, every two years, Milpirri brings the whole Lajamanu community together in a spectacular high theatrical performance in Lajamanu itself.” - Dr Jennifer Biddle -University of NSW.

Watch this short edit of the documentary Winds of Change and learn about the Making of Milpirri.

Milpirri Themes

2018 Milpirri draws its material from the Warlpiri ceremony (the Jurntu Purlapa) which teaches about law and justice. The Jurntu performance teaches a story about kuruwarri (the law) that was given to a woman, Jangiya (Liddy) Nakamarra, in the 1950s or 1960s. It is based on real events that occurred in the late 1800s or early 1900s, concerning a man who committed a very serious crime.

The themes: Justice, Respect, Discipline, and Responsibility of the Jurntu ceremony describe how all Warlpiri people are bound by the law and must face the consequences of their actions. Kuruwarri explains the proper functioning of the world, including the correct way in which humans should relate to each other and the world around them, as given to Warlpiri people through the Jukurrpa, rather than a set of rules designed and constantly modified by humans to regulate society.

These themes are matched with songs, stories and metaphors related to traditional Warlpiri artefacts. For example, boomerangs symbolise respect, digging sticks symbolise the search for knowledge, and the stone axe is a mark of responsibility.

Read more about this years themes, artefacts and their meaning.

Learn about the Making of the Milpirri Soundtrack.

Milpirri Properties 

Sixteen young women and nineteen young men were active throughout the year painting sixteen sets of Milpirri props which they will dance in this year's Milpirri - Jurntu performance. They were supervised through the process by established Lajamanu artists.

Tracks collaborated with the Lajamanu Warnayaka Arts Centre towards the making of boomerangs for the men and clap-sticks and dancing boards for the women, which have been inspired by the Milpirri banners.

Milpirri Banners

In 2018 we researched and gathered information contained within each banner and created the Milpirri Banners Home Page. We are excited to develop this digital 'keeping place' for the wealth of Australian knowledge found within the Warlpiri culture.

It began in 2005 with a series of sixteen, three-metre high banners which were created as the backdrop to the first Milpirri performance and in 2012 another eleven banners were added. The banners are like a set of coat of arms to the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu. Each individual is able to identify which banner belongs to them as they represent their family's dreaming symbol.

Through a consultation process led by anthropologist Miles Holmes, we talked to families about the banner designs and their meaning, checking and crosschecking information. We looked at dreaming designs and linking into knowledge gathered by other linguists, anthropologists, researchers and elders working in Lajamanu in the past.

Explore the Milpirri Banner Home page.

Creative Team

Creative and Founding Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Warlpiri Cultural Adviser/ Elder: Jerry Jangala Patrick
Artistic Directors: Tim Newth, David McMicken
Traditional Choreography: Lajamanu Elders
Youth Choreography: Kelly Beneforti, Aaron Lim

Soundtrack Production: Marc Peckham with Kelly Beneforti and Rob Tremlett
Voiceovers: Roger Japaljarri Jurrah, Steve Jampijinpa Patrick, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Liam Jangala Patrick, Walter Jangala Wesley, Matthew Jakamarra Patterson, Shaun Japanangka Johnson, Max Japanangka Gordon
Song vocals: Lajamanu school Year 4/5 (Respect), Year 5/6 (Responsibility), Year 7/8/9 (Justice), and Year 3/4/5 with Agnes Napanangka Donnelly (Discipline) 
Read about how the 2018 Milpirri Soundtrack was made.


Manyi Manyi - rememberance (Brush Banners with leaves - Male and female dancers and stand with fire sticks in front of the Banners - Community Members)
Opening up Milpirri - (Japaljarri, Jungarrayi)

Yellow Group
Yinirnti (Coral Bean seed) Dance - Women (Napaljarri, Nungarrayi)
Wiringarri (Barn Owl) - Men (Japaljarri, Jungarrayi)
Respect Dance - Youth

Blue Group
Ngapa - Mardu (Water Carrier) - Women (Nangala, Nampijinpa)
Kurruwa (Stone Axe) - Men (Jangala, Jampijinpa)
Responsibility Dance - Youth

Red Group
Ngurrlu (Seed and Grinding Stone) - Women (Napurrula, Nakamarra)
Jajirdi (Spotted Quoll) - Men (Jupurrula, Jakamarra)
Justice Dance - Youth

Green Group
Wadapi (Goanna) Dance - Women (Japangardi, Japanangka)
Wadapi (Goanna) Dance - Men (Napangardi, Napanangka)
Discipline Dance - Youth

Wantarri-tarri (Milky Way) - Men and Women (Green and Yellow adults group dance)
Colour Group Dance - Youth finale
Tall Fire Lights (Milky Way) Wantarri-tarri and Fire Sculpture (Flying Emu) Yankirri - Men and women


Male Singers: Jerry Jangala Patrick, Henry Jakamarra Cooke, Teddy Japanangka Dixon.
Female Singers: Myra Nungarrayi Herbert , Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Judy Napangardi Martin, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Molly Napurrula Tasman.

Green Group
Female Dancers: Biddy Napangardi Raymond, Denise Napangardi Tasman, Ursula Napangardi Marks, Agnes Napanangka Donnelly, Christine (Napangardi) Reid (CLC).

Male Dancers: Shaun Japanangka Johnson, Tarkyn Japanard Tasman, Japeth Japanardi Tasman, Josiah Japanardi Dixon, Kerrin Japanardi Rex, Nicholas Japanardi Johnson, Vincent Japanardi Dixon, Devon Japananka Marks.
Leader: Maxwell Japanangka Tasman.

Female Youth Dancers:

Male Youth Dancers:

Red Group
Female Dancers: Laura Nakamarra Doolan, Belinda Nakamarra Baker, Melinda Napurrula Simon, Katrina Nakamarra Andrews, Barbara (Lisa) Nakamarra Morrison, Cassie (Nakamarra) Nugent (WYDAC).
Worker: Audrey Nakamarra Baker.

Male Dancers: Jake Jakamarra Patterson, Kimath Jupurrula Patterson, Lyndon Jupurrula Gordon, Lincoln Jupurrula Cooke, Jack Jakamarra Gordon, Clive (Jakamarra) Liebman.

Female Youth Dancers:

Male Youth Dancers:

Yellow Group
Female Dancers: Biddy Nungarrayi Jurrah, Marjorie Nungarrayi Gibson, Beth Nungarrayi Barnes, Peppa Napaljarri Tibbet, Anna (Nungarrayi) Spencer (Art Centre), Barbara (Nungarrayi) Glowczewski (Anthropologist).

Male Dancers: Brendon Jungarrayi Payton, Waylon Jungarrayi Hudson, Corey Jungarrayi Raymond, Rowan Jungarrayi Jurrah, Michael Jungarri Payton.
Leader: Roger Japaljarri Jurrah.

Female Youth Dancers:

Male Youth Dancers:

Blue Group
Female Dancer: Nita Nampijinpa Patrick, Liddy Nampijinpa Miller, Lavah Nangala Tasman, Angela Nangala Kelly, Leisha Nampijinpa Patrick, Jennifer (Nangala) Burkes (WYDAC).
Workers: Patsy Nangala Herbert, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick.

Male Dancer: Kane Jampijinpa Kelly, Tony Jampijinpa Sampson, Kealyn Jampijinpa Kelly, Ricky Jampijimpa Sampson, Jepidia Jampijimpa Patrick, Keanu Jampijimpa Kelly, Jason Jampijimpa Patrick, Edmond Jangala Kelly, Anthony (Jampijimpa) Johnson (Council)
Worker: Steve Jampijinpa Patrick, Henry Jampijinpa Burns.

Female Youth Dancers:

Male Youth Dancers:

Production and Promotions Personnel

Producers: Tracks Dance Company
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Production Technician: Mathew McHugh
Assitant Production Technician: Michael McHugh and Miki Ensbey
Milpirri Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Graphic Design: Narelle Sullivan
Photo Documentation: Peter Eve
DVD Production: People Pictures
Editing: Cath South
Camera: Stewart Carter
Evaluation Consultant: Alan Marshall

Thank You

Central Lands Council Rangers, Kurdiji group, Learning Centre, Staff of: Lajamanu School, Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC), Central Desert Regional Council, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Lajamanu Store, Activities Centre, Government Engagement Centre, Northern Territory Police, Lajamanu Health Clinic, and the many families and people that call Lajamanu home who have helped in the making of Milpirri.

Company Partners

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.

Project Partners

Australian Government through Building Better Regional Fund (BBRF), Newmont Australia, Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation.

Supporting Partners

Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program (WYDAC), Lajamanu School.

Tracks 2018

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: It Figures

Committee Members: Mary Durack (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, David Taylor, Ken Conway, Venaska Cheliah, Sudha Coutinho, Mandela Yu. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)

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

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory




Saturday November 3, at Sunset

Lajamanu, Tanami Desert, Northern Territory

Note: Permits required for travel and entrance into the community

Explore Futher

Making of Milpirri
Watch this short edit of documentary, Winds of Change.

What does the word Milpirri mean and why is the performance called Milpirri. Click to read.

What are colour groups?
Learn how the colours are linked to the Warlpirri kinship groupings.

Milpirri People
Portraits of those who have been involved in Milpirri over the years. You will also find a full list of performances and projects created by Lajamanu and Tracks artists since 1988.

History of Tracks in Lajamanu
Read about our long-term relationship and history.

The paper Ngurra-kurlu explores how we can find a sense of home within ourselves by acknowledging Land, Law, Ceremony, Language and Kinship/family. Read now.

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