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Yellow Group - Japaljarri, Jungarrayi, Napaljarri and Nungarrayi
Male Artefact - Boomerangs (Karli and/or Malpa)
Female Artefact - Bean Necklace (Yinirnti)
Respect is how we co-exist. With respect for each other, for ourselves, for the land and for the law.
We are all parts of the same body. The body of humanity. We are the arms and legs of each other. Just as in the human body, every part is important. If the parts of the body do not work together, the body will be powerless and our ability will be limited. If we work together, if we treat each other fairly, if we value everybody equally, then everyone will succeed. The body of our community will thrive.
The Karli - the boomerang - is given as a symbol of respect. It is used for hunting, and for bringing the ceremony alive with the boomerang clapping. The two boomerangs represent the two moieties, land and sky. The knowledge of the sky, the law of the land; with equal respect for both. They reflect each other’s understanding.
The bean necklace – yinirnti - represents the choices we make, and the consequences of those choices. It can guide us to make sense of the choices, and keep us on the right path.
Blue Group - Jangala, Jampijinpa, Nangala and Nampijinpa
Male Artefact - Stone Axe (Kurrwa)
Female Artefact - Water Carrier (Mardu)
Look after the law and the law will look after you. It will flow, just like it’s supposed to. It is up to us to keep it flowing. Blow on the embers to make it strong again.
Kurrawarri is the way everything flows. Like the eco system, it is something we are all part of. Our existence lies within Kurrawarri. We all have our own part to play. And so, we must take on the kurruwa that is handed to us. If we take up responsibility for our land, our story and our culture, it will shape our identity and look after us into the future.
We need to adapt to the seasons and maintain the flow of mother earth. Adapt to our challenges. Move forward together. Our Kurruwa/responsibility is what will shape the system into balance again. Like the Milpirri’s cold air forming and hot air rising we can make sense of adapting to each other. Then we become the rain, the nourishment for our home country.
The stone axe, kurruwa, is a tool that requires great skill to master. It is essential to survival on country. It gives us respect ,discipline, justice and eventually gives us the understanding we need to survive on this great land. To be given the stone axe is to accept responsibility. If it falls into the wrong hands, our ability to hunt and make tools will be jeopardised.
The mardu, water carrier, holds life-giving water. It holds that which nurtures us, nurtures the system of life itself. To carry the mardu is to shoulder responsibility. Without water, ngapa, we will not survive. If we have ngapa, we are rich.
Red Group - Jakamarra, Jupurrula, Nakamarra and Napurrula
Male Artefact - Black Headed Spear (Mangurlpa)
Female Artefact - Grinding Stone (Ngalikirri)
Law is like a road, laid out for us to follow. If we look to the milky way – Warntarri Tarri – its knowledge and guidance will steer us on the right path. If you do not follow the law, the law will follow you. You cannot escape it. Both the sky and the earth carry you. Ngurru Kanyi Kangu.
If we do wrong by the law, justice will be done. It may hurt us. But justice can make a wrong thing right and make a bad thing good.
This restorative process of justice is represented by the Mangurlpa – black-headed spear – and by the Ngalikirri – the grinding stone. As the spear dispenses its justice bringing in balance, the grinding stone winnows the bad from the good. Righting wrongs. Shaping and restoring the balance.
Green Group - Japanangka, Japangardi, Napanangka and Napangardi
Male Artefact - Stone Knife (Junma or Wulampi)
Female Artefact - Coolamon (Parraja)
Discipline is taking time to know, understand and follow the law. With discipline, our lives are full. We can keep our stories alive. We can help our country. With discipline, we are free.
We often see the effects of living an undisciplined life. We see lawless behaviour, and how it impacts our community. We see scars on the back of those who have been undisciplined. We wear scars on our chests to remind us of the importance of discipline.
In Warlpiri law, these scars are made by the Wulampi – the stone knife. But similar scars can be seen in other types of law. Prison is a scar; community service is a scar. The mental scars we bear are not always worn on our bodies, but they show devastating consequences like suicide.
When a baby is first born, it is put in the Coolamon – called Parraja – where it is carried by its mother. For the first few weeks of its life, the child cannot be touched by its father while it is in the Coolamon. This is a test of discipline and also to not interrupt the sacred bond between mother and child.
If there is no discipline the consequences will be too big to handle.
By practicing discipline, we gain strength and freedom.
Grey Panthers Youth Development Fund
In 2018 The Grey Panthers launch their Youth Development Fund and perform on stage at Fresh Tracks with the inaugural recipient Will Nery.
Darryl Butler has danced with the Grey Panthers for seven year’s and in 2017 suggested to the Troupe that by making weekly donations of spare change they could raise funds to support a new generation of NT dancers. The whole group got behind the idea and the Grey Panther Youth Development Fund was born.
Darryl described his motivation as: ‘Tracks has given us so many opportunities to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do and we want to give back and give something to younger dancers, offer a helping hand.’
The inaugural recipient of the Grey Panthers Youth Development Fund.
With no territory dance education in Darwin, Tracks Choreographic Intensive is the NT’s flagship annual development program for emerging choreographers. Will Nery’s participation in the program was supported through the Youth Development Fund.
Will has been passionate about dance since he was five years old when his sibling brought home a DVD of a world champion break dancing crew. Since that time he has been driven to perfect his head spin and break dancing style.
“To be involved in the Choreographic Intensive program [and Fresh Tracks] for me, means to represent young people in the dance community here in Darwin, especially male dancers”, said Will Nery who went on to say “The message I wanna convey [through my dance] is that dance can connect anyone and everyone.”
Darryl described Will’s motivation to connect people through dance as ‘a big tick for the Grey Panthers.’
David McMicken and Tim Newth
"The seeds of this work were planted four years ago with an idea of exploring our local Australian identity as seen through generational evolution. Drawing together the creative team began when we recognised that two of our peers, (long term company collaborators, and strong community cultural drivers), Putu and Chandrika, both had young adult sons that danced. Discussions about what passes on from one generation to another grew. As the talks expanded, the emergence of sport and the passion for it, and how it often crosses generations, seeped in.
Putting our creative team together is always a joy and draws on our connections and relationships with the community. Kelly Beneforti, (Tracks’ Animateur and one of Darwin’s most exquisite dancers) has for many years been dancing with Putu’s Tunas Mekar Balinese dance ensemble, and was the best person to take lead with Putu of the Balinese/Football section. Other core choreographers, such as Chandrika, Bryn, Venaska, and Madeleine, have danced in other Tracks shows as well as participating in our choreographic development course.
Venaska has a background in the classical form of Bharatanatyam and has performed in a past Tracks collaboration with Putu. Also, having danced with Chandrika’s Multicultural Academy, she was a clear choice. Paring Venaska with Madeleine, who has recently studied Bollywood dancing in Mumbai, seemed the clear partnership to lead the Bollywood style Finale.
Madeleine and Bryn worked together this year as two of our Tracktivators. We knew Bryn as a versatile dancer, but discovered that she had a delightful sense of characterisation. Her ability to work with a broad range of people made her an obvious choice for our Captain of the Cricket team, formed predominantly with people from a non-dance background.
As with most Tracks Darwin Festival shows, we start with a big and not-fully formed concept that involves many collaborators, across many fields. Piece by piece the jigsaw is developed and refined. It is usually well into working with the community groups and core artists that the pieces begin to fuse. This moment keeps us on our toes as we sew together the action, design, compositions, and narrative of the work. Working with James this year with his rich musical, cultural and sporting passions has created a harmonising and dynamic soundtrack. And Chris Kluge’s lighting abilities enhances the magic of our site. Creating an outdoor theatre venue from nothing is a credit to our design and production staff.
Thanks to all the creative, production, and operational team, and cast for coming on board for yet another “it could only happen in Darwin” show. We hope you enjoy the ride, loving the people and place of Darwin as much as we do."
May 31, 2018
Tracks' newly appointed Patron, Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O'Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory invited the Grey Panthers and Tracks staff to join her for afternoon tea at Government House. Her Honour wished to celebrate the achievement and milestone of 30 years of The Grey Panthers.
Opening with a welcome from Her Honour, she reflected on the spirit of The Grey Panthers and their place in the Darwin community, followed by Tracks Artistic Co Director David McMicken reminiscing through the history and many delights that this group has been through. One thing was certain, that The Grey Panthers hold a very special place in both Tracks and the community of Darwin's hearts.
Meet the participants behind the inagural 2018 Choreographic Intensive, facilitated by Tracks' Dance Animateur Kelly Beneforti who aims to support emerging choreographers in developing their work to the next stage of craftsmanship and refinement.
My love for dance is intrinsic to my well-being. My dancing journey started in the early nineties when I looked for dance at Cairns Tafe but found only art and music. In 1999 I was successful in my audition to attend The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts in Brisbane, directed by Michael Leslie, where I completed an Introduction and Cert IV in the Performing Arts. In Darwin, I have attended contemporary ballet classes with Gary Lang and completed the Choreographic Program at Tracks in 2017, which included a public showing of my work, Mother the Giver of Life.
I am passionately into experimental performance art, multi-disciplinary collaborations, and cross-cultural projects. My interests are as much about the process of creation, as in the end results. I let questions emerge naturally, weaving a variety of art forms, psychology and spirituality into all of my explorations through a grounded research methodology. Recent initiatives include Nibbles Theatre, Ritual Opera and Movement Lab, which have focused on immersive art experiences in unusual places, creating site specific performance art that reflects the truth of the moment. I continue my crossdisciplinary participation in projects involving puppetry, physical theatre, contemporary dance, poetry and photography.
My first inspiration for dancing was a DVD that my brother brought home from the shops when I was five. It introduced me to Gamblerz, a world champion break dance crew, and to Bboy Lazer’s insanely fast head-spins - I trained hard every day just to practice that one move, and I still do. For the past fifteen years I can absolutely say that doing those head-spins is the closest thing I've ever felt to flying. Breakdancing also brought out this competitive edge within me which has brought out my confidence. Now I compete not only with other break-dancers, but with myself. That thirst for constant improvement helps me feel alive every day.
To watch the works developed in the 2018 Choreographic Intensive program, book tickets to Fresh Tracks - as part of the Darwin Fringe Festival. For more information about the performance and process follow the link to our Fresh Tracks page.
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