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
Producers: Tracks Dance Company
Traditional Choreography: Lajamanu Elders
Contemporary Choreography: Nick (Japanangka) Power, Caleb Japanangka Patrick, Jessica (Napangardi) Devereux, Kelly (Napurrula) Beneforti


Darwin International Airport, 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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