Milpirri (jarda-warnpa) 2014

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Lajamanu, North Tanami Desert

Winner 2015 Australian Dance Award Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance.

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.

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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 Jupurrula 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 Jupurrula Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Tasman, Molly Napurrula Tasman and Rosie Napurrula Tasman (original mix Matthew Cunliffe).

Banner Designs: Joe Japanangka James, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Teddy Jupurrula Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Kelly, Tim Jupurrula 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 Jupurrula 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, Alan (Jampijinpa) Marshall

Performers

Jupurrula Jakamarra Napurrula Nakamarra (Red Group)

Male Dancers and Singers: Bhoas Shane Jupurrula White, Dion Jakamarra Patterson, Henry Jakamarra Cook, Jake Jakamarra Patterson, Jarad Jakamarra Ross, Keith Gibson, Parker Jakamarra Patterson, Titus Jupurrula White, Will (Jupurrula) Crawford, Yami Jakamarra Simon, Zack Jakamarra Patterson, Ben (Jupurrula) Healey, Anthony (Jakamarra) Knights.

Female Dancers and Singers: Annanta Simon, Doris Nakamarra Lewis, Jenny Johnson, Judy Nakamarra Collins, Laura Nakamarra Doolan, Melinda Simon, Molly Napurrula Tasman, Noressa Napurrula White, Rosie Napurrula Tasman, Charmaine Napurrurla Brown, Leilani (Napurrula) Butler, Yana (Napurrula) Malste.

Male Youth Dancers: Adam Cook, Alex Dixon, Dane Victor, Daniel Jakamarra White, Ezekial Jupurrula Walker, Fraser Jupurrula Peters, Goliath Simon, Jarad Jakamarra White, Jeff Jnr Simon, Jesiash Jakamarra James, Joe Walker, Keron Lawson, Kiriath Jupurrula Patterson, Leo Patterson, Oscar Jupurrula Simon, Regan Jakamarra Lewis, Simeon Ross, Tristan Jakamarra Morton, Victor Jupurrula Simon.

Female Youth Dancers: Alzara Cooke, Cara Napurrula Ross, Cher Matthews, Dakota Dixon, Eliza Patterson, Estella Gordon, Felicia Simon, Leilani Napurrula Walker, Lianna Napurrula Patterson, Lizzie Gordon, Marisha Walker, Regina Nakamarra Patterson, Savannah Napurrula Armstrong, Shemaiah Napurrula Matthews, Sinarta Napurrula Ross, Tamika Walker, Tara Morton, Terrasita Nakamarra Lewis, Tessa Matthews.

Jangala Jampijinpa Nangala Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

Male Dancers and Singers: Ashley Jangala Patrick, Clinton Jampijinpa Kelly, Dion Jangala Kelly, Felix Jampijinpa Jigili, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Julian (Jampijinpa) Murphy, Kealyn Jampijinpa Kelly, Leslie Jampijinpa Robertson, Micky (Michaelis) Jangala Sampson, Norbert Jampijinpa Patrick, Peter Jangala Jigili, Stephen (Jangala) Karpeles, Tarrpa Jangala Patrick, Thomas Jangala Sampson, Travis Alum, Tyrone Gibson, William Jampijinpa Patrick.

Female Dancers and Singers: Annette Nampijinpa Patrick, Jackie Nampijinpa Patrick, Jasmine Nangala Patrick, Jenelle Nampijinpa Burns, Liddy Nampijinpa Miller, Patsy Nangala Herbert, Stephanie (Nampijinpa) Adamopou, Georgia (Nangala) Croad, Aroha (Nangala) Yates.

Male Youth Dancers: Ainsley Jangala, Albert Seela, Chris Moora, Eldridge Ross, Ezekial Leo, Fabian Ross, Jamien Tilmouth, Kane Jampijinpa Kelly, Lesley Jampijinpa McDonald, Leyland Jangala Patrick, Mazlan Patrick, Muhummed Jangala Dixon, Norbert Jampijinpa Patrick, Shem Jurrah, Steven Jampijinpa Robertson, Warrick Jangala, Xyrone Ross, Zamiro Martin.

Female Youth Dancers: Elvira Nampijinpa Stevenson, Emilia Ruby McDonald, Gloria Rose, Linda Nangala Moora, Mikeisha Burns, Mona-Lisa Nampijinpa Kelly, Naylah Tchooga, Niveka Nagala Donnelly, Nyasha (Nampijinpa) Mukarati, Richache (Zinzei) Nampijinpa Jigili, Shenise Watson, Thomazena Jigili, Trixie Kelly, Zaphania Robertson, Zarifah Hargraves.

Japaljarri Jungarrayi Napaljarri Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

Male Dancers and Singers: Male Dancers and Singers: Ananias Japaljarri Gibson, Brendon Jungarrayi Payton, Dick Japaljarri Raymond, Dwayne Jungarrayi Gibson, Gareth Jungarrayi Rose, James (Japaljarri) Parfitt, Jonas Jungarrayi George, Manuel Japaljarri Herbert, Mike Jungarrayi Doolan, Rhys Japaljarri Gibson, Richard Japaljarri Payton, Ricky Jungarrayi Gibson, Shannon Richy Rose, Travis Jungarrayi Penn, Tyson Jungarrayi Rose, Waylon Hudson, John (Japaljarri) Cumming, David (Jakamarra) Alenson.

Female Dancers and Singers: Amy Pitcher, Billy-Joe Wesley, Lilly Nungarrayi Hargraves, Louisa Napaljarri Payton, Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Marjorie Nungarrayi Gibson, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Sonya Napaljarri Cooke, Alice (Napaljarri) Csabi, Natasha (Napaljarri) Francois.

Male Youth Dancers: Caleb Falkner, Costello Cody Jungarrayi Dixon, Daniel Japaljarri Kelio, Emmanuel Japaljarri Martin, Jayden Jungarrayi Rennie, Jumile Doolan, Keenan Penn, Keithan Ross, Kevina Napaljarri Payton, Kyle Japaljarri Doolan, Liam Japaljarri Rose, Mervyn Rose, Mick Martin, Thelonius Rose, Trevion Lewis, Zebeon Jungarrayi Robbo, Zeon McDonald.

Female Youth Dancers: Athelita Dixon, Azaleah Lewis, Chenara Jurrah, Colleen Bambra, Fiona Payton, Janine Penn, Jemmelia George, Lucy Rose, Prestina Hogan, Raphayelia Kelly, Remika Napaljarri Payton, Renata Nungarrayi Gordon, Saranchez Jurrah, Savannah Napaljarri McDonald (Dorothy), Shakira Napaljarri Payton, Shaunisha Herbert, Shemira Rose, Theona Herbert.

Japangardi Japanangka Napangardi Napanangka (Green Group)

Male Dancers and Singers: Alex Japangardi Tasman, Amos Japangardi Poulson, Brent Japangardi Tasman, Cyril Japanangka Tasman, Gerald Japanangka Robbo, Josiah Dixon, Maxwell Japanangka Tasman, Ralphie Japangardi Dixon, Scotty Japangardi Dixon, Stewart (Japangardi) Carter, Teddy Japanangka Dixon, Thomas (Japanangka) Quayle, Tristan Japanangka Tasman.

Female Dancers and Singers: Agnes Napanangka Donnelly, Anita Napangardi Johnson, Annie Johnson, Biddy Napangardi Raymond, Denise Napangardi Tasman, Judy Napangardi Martin, Kitty Napanangka Simon, Putrina Johnson, Remeika Napangardi Simon, Sherise Napangardi Donnelly, Sylvannia Martin, Ursula Napangardi Marks, Valerie Napanangka James, Emily (Napanangka) Davies.

Male Youth Dancers: Caleb Japanangka Patrick, Finley Marks, Japeth Japangardi Tasman, Jerry Japanangka Patrick, Jezaniah Poulson, Josiah Daniels, Kamahl Rex, Kamus Johnson, Martin Johnson, Michael Farquharson, Nicholas Japangardi Johnson, Ramahli (Junior) Japanangka Marks, Ronan Johnson, Tarkyn Japangardi Tasman, Zedakhyas Rex.

Female Youth Dancers: Charlita Poulson, Chloe Napanangka Dixon, Dylena Robertson, Kenesha Napangardi Gordon, Kimberley Napangardi Dixon, Leah Napanangka James, Lovina Napangardi Patrick, Natasha Cersia Sampson, Prestina Dixon, Sarafina Marks, Sheniel Symons, Shontana Napangardi Tasman.

Scenario

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.

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

‘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.

‘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.

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) Jupurrula Morton, Steven Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Peter Jangala Jigili, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Noressa Napurrula White, Doris Nakamarra Lewis, Laura Nakamarra Lewis, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick.

To the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu and to the staff of the following Lajamanu organizations: Central Desert Shire, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program (WYDAC), 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.
Michael Erglis, Alan Marshall - Deakin University, Lee-Anne Proberts - ANU, David Taylor - Knock About Chefs, Warehouse 73, Stewart Carter and Cath South - People Pictures, Miles Holmes, Jeniffer Biddle, Jeff Bruer - PAW, Wormald

Sponsors

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 Anholt
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

Photos: 

Videos 

Responses

“As a proud Warlpiri Woman from Yuendumu it warms my heart to see the passion and excitement that this creates for all Communities. The Milpirri (Jarda-Warnpa) program that you offer grows every year and is positive for the health, fitness and creativity that it encourages. The diversity of dance in the Northern territory should always be encouraged, as it is what makes us unique. The opportunity to share our cultures and history of our stories, translated through music and dance on the national Stage, is a very exciting time for us.”  Minister Bess Price

Participants Responses

“It is really, really good. No other community has anything like this” Lesley Jampijinpa, Warlpiri Elder

“We are going to see how strong our culture is, how strong we can be” AJ Japanangka, community spokesperson

“Can we have Milpirri every night?” Leland Jangala (aged 11), Milpirri Dancer

“Milpirri is about people getting to know each other yapa way, which mean polite way, softly – rather than the rough way that sometimes happens between groups” Steve Jampijinpa Patrick, Milpirri Creative Director

“I been put them there the kardiya (non-Aboriginal people).  They come into my culture, purlapa [public ceremony]. Kardiya
and yapa [Aboriginal people] together, ngurju [good]”
Thomas Jangala, Warlpiri Elder

“Milpirri is still about two way learning” Tim (Jampijinpa) Newth, Artistic Director

“There is an investment in the ritual of Milpirri now.  The kids know that it is something.  There is a trust in the process of Milpirri because they know it is repeated” David (Japaljarri) McMicken, Artistic Director

“Yes and everyone was really happy, photo, photo, photo.  From both kardiya and yapa.  Yapa taking photos of each other, family groups, at the banners, ohh really happy now, really happy night” Valarie Napanangka, Warlpiri community leader and Teacher’s Aide

“All the kardiya (non- Aboriginal people) was making us proud and proud for themselves, we have to be one.  I saw some kardiya dancing and they were making me proud, because they are dancing for our culture, they are respecting us too, we are in one family, every kardiya got a skin name” Peter Jupurrula, Night Patrol worker.

Audience Responses

“It was all good! The cheerfulness of all was a wonder to behold” Milpirri Visitor

“I was happy to be part of a shared cultural experience. It was great to have the whole community come together for the event” Milpirri Visitor

“People love Milpirri.  They are proud, it is a great cultural thing, and generates huge excitement” Dr Jennifer Biddle, Anthropologist, University of New South Wales

“What the arts based approach represents is a successful formula for community engagement based on traditional knowledge and value systems” Gerry McCarthy, Member for Barkly

“Milpirri has some tensions, but smoothing over, that is the whole point of Jarda-warnpa.  At the end there is happiness and relief” Dr Lance Box, Teacher

“Milpirri opens people up to a yearning to connect to this country” Stewart Carter, People Pictures

“Great.  I have never seen Milpirri before so it was great to see all the smiles on the kids and community.”  “Kids were excellent, did really really well.”  “It was better than 2009.”  “In the week beforehand when elders were out in the park practicing there were lots of good vibes.” Teachers from Lajamanu School

From Milpirri Evaluation

Milpirri is characterised by extremely high participation and attendance. 738 people watched or participated in Milpirri 2014. To put the figure in perspective the population of Lajamanu was given as 656 residents in the 2011 Census.

This year’s Milpirri showed an increase in the number of performers dancing in Milpirri and, following the trend of previous years, a particular increase in the numbers of non-Aboriginal visitors.  Non -Aboriginal visitors came from Sydney, Canberra, northern NSW, Melbourne, Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs.  Warlpiri came from Tenant Creek, Yuendumu, Darwin and Kalkarindji. 

A fundamental aspect of Milpirri 2014 is sharing of knowledge.  Milpirri seeks to explain and showcase Indigenous identity.

Milpirri is ringed by kuruwarri (customary designs).  Their visual representation on bodies and the 27 Milpirri banners is a direct link to the most powerful and sacred aspect of culture and country.  They symbolise ancestors, country, ceremony and law.  They are powerful statements of each family’s cultural identity.

Further Reading

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

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