2018 Milpirri - Jurntu


Lajamanu, Northern Territory

November 3, 2018

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 kilometres 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.

Kuruwarri (themes of law and order)

2018 Milpirri draws its ideas from the Warlpiri ceremony (the Jurntu Purlapa) which teaches about law and justice. The public 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 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 how 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 year's themes, artefacts and their meaning.

Learn about the Making of the Milpirri Soundtrack.



Manyi Manyi  (Rememberance) Brushing the Banners with leaves - Male and female dancers stand with fire sticks in front of the Banners - Community Members

Opening up Milpirri

Junma or Wulampi (Stone Knife) (Japaljarri, Jungarrayi)


Japaljarri/Jungarrayi/Napaljarri/Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

Respect is how we co-exist. With respect for each other, for ourselves, for the land and for the law.

Wakaya Dance - Women 
Pulawanti (Whistling Kite) - Men 
Respect Dance - Youth


Jangala/Jampijinpa/Nangala/Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

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.

Kurruwa (Stone Axe) - Men 
Ngapa - Women 
Responsibility Dance - Youth


Jakamarra/Jupurrurla/Nakamarra/Napurrurla (Red Group)

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.

Wampana (Spectacled Hare Wallaby) - Men 
Ngurlu (Seed and Grinding Stone) - Women 
Justice Dance - Youth


Japanangka/Japangardi/Napanangka/Napangardi (Green Group)

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.

Mina Mina Dance - Women 
Wardapi (Goanna) Dance - Men 
Discipline Dance - Youth


Wantarri-tarri (Milky Way) - Men and Women (Green and Yellow adults group dance)
Colour Group Dance - Youth finale

Flying Emu

Tall Fire Lights Wantarri-tarri (Milky Way) and Fire Sculpture Yankirri (Flying Emu) - Men and women

Milpirri Properties 

Sixteen young women and nineteen young men were active throughout the year painting sixteen sets of Milpirri boomerangs, dancing boards and clap-sticks which will be utilised 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, inspired by the Milpirri banners.

Creative Team

Creative Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Warlpiri Cultural Adviser/ Elder: Jerry Jangala Patrick
Artistic Co-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

Read about how the 2018 Milpirri Soundtrack was made.



Male: Jerry Jangala Patrick, Henry Jakamarra Cooke, Teddy Japanangka Dixon.

Female: Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Judy Napangardi Martin, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Molly Napurrula Tasman.

Japaljarri, Jungarrayi, Napaljarri and Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

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

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

Female Youth Dancers: Azaleah Napaljarri Lewis, Zackalina (Kunja) Nungarrayi Dixon, Fiona Napaljarri Payton, Jimmelia Napaljarri George, Chenara Napaljarri Jurrah, Janine Nungarrayi Penn, Lucy Napaljarri Rose, Athelita Nungarrayi Dixon, Tenneal Napaljarri Lake, Prestina Napaljarri Spencer, Raphayelia Napaljarri Kelly, Nora Nungarrayi Jurrah, Zakeyia Napaljarri McDonald.

Male Youth Dancers: Joseph Japaljarri Burns, Lindsay Jungarrayi Herbert, Vincent Japaljarri McDonald, David Jungarrayi Brown, Conway Jungarrayi Herbert, Thelonious Japaljarri Rose, Morgan Jungarrayi Farquharson.

Jangala, Jampijinpa, Nangala and Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

Female Dancer: Nita Nampijinpa Patrick, Lavah Nangala Tasman, Angela Nangala Kelly, Leisha Nampijinpa Patrick, Ruth Nangala Jigili, Jennifer (Nangala) Burkes (Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation - WYDAC). Elder: Liddy Nampijinpa Miller.
Workers: Patsy Nangala Herbert, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick.

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

Female Youth Dancers: Seivera Nampijinpa Robertson, Jasmine Nampijinpa Burns, Vicky Nampijinpa Robertson, Zaphaniah Nampijinpa Robertson, Mikeisha Nampijinpa Burns, Jaylene Nampijinpa Burns, Trixie Nampijinpa Kelly, Winona Nampijinpa Burns, Russellisha Nampijinpa Burns, Zarifah Nampijinpa Hargraves, Raelene Nangala Jigili

Male Youth Dancers: Bobby Jampijinpa Leo, Mark Jampijinpa Rose, Akeam Jampijinpa Gordon, Shem Jampijinpa Jurrah, Jamien Jangala Tilmouth, Jude Jangala Jigili, Chris Jangala Moora, Morgan Farquharson

Jupurrula, Jakamarra, Napurrula and Nakamarra (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, Kiriath Jupurrula Patterson, Lyndon Jupurrula Gordon, Abraham Jupururrla Cook, Jacko Jakamarra Gordon, Clive (Jakamarra) Liebman.

Female Youth Dancers: Narelle Napurrula Patterson, Irene (Lizzie) Nakamarra Gordon, Kiendra Nakamarra Lewis, Trisvina Nakamarra Lewis, Natalia Nakamarra Nelson, Cassandra Nakamarra James, Alzara Nakamarra Cooke, Estella Nakamarra Gordon, Liza Nakamarra Patterson

Male Youth Dancers: Jonas Jakamarra Cook, Edmond Jakamarra Gordon, Casimir Jakamarra James, Joe Jupurrula Walker, Keith Jakamarra Gordon, Romelle Jakamarra Lawson, Bradleyius Jupurrula Rockman, Simeon Jupurrula Ross, Roman Jupurrula Simon, Romanus Jakamarra Lawson, Leo Jupurrula Patterson, Alex Jupurrula Dixon, Keron Jakamarra Lawson

Japangardi, Japanangka, Napangardi and Napanangka (Green Group)

Female Dancers: Biddy Napangardi Raymond, Denise Napangardi Tasman, Ursula Napangardi Marks, Agnes Napanangka Donnelly, Christine (Napangardi) Reid (Central Lands Council).

Male Dancers: Shaun Japanangka Johnson, Tarkyn Japangardi Tasman, Japeth Japangardi Tasman, Josiah Japangardi Dixon, Keran Japangardi Rex, Nicholas Japangardi Johnson, Vincent Japangardi Dixon, Devon Japanangka Marks.
Leader: Maxwell Japanangka Tasman.

Female Youth Dancers: Sheniel Napangardi Simons, Darline Napangardi Dixon, Charlita Napanangka Poulson, Dylena Napanangka Robertson, Sarafina Napanangka Marks, Leah Napanangka James

Male Youth Dancers: Fabian Japanangka Dixon, Zedakhyus Japanangka Rex, Denzel Japangardi Tasman, Jallara Japanangka Johnson, Leevon Japanangka Simon, Martin Japanangka Johnson, Jezeniah Japanangka Poulson

Sound Track

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)

Production and Promotions Personnel

Producers: Tracks Dance Company
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Production Technician: Mathew McHugh
Assistant Production Technician: Michael McHugh and Miki Ensbey
Poster 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, Central Lands 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, Lajamanu Store.

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, and Mandela Yu. David McMicken, Tim Newth, and 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



Explore Futher

Lajamanu/Milpirri Home Page

Milpirri Dances  - Videos

Themes and Song Lyrics

Iconic Tracks Works


“The joy expressed by all generations who performed is enough to legitimize the continuation of the Milpirri project. Some people I talked to afterwards, especially the visitors from Yuendumu, were very enthusiastic at the fact that the night was not a Kardiya (whiteman) controlled festival or show but an intertwining of decisions in the making which created the same atmosphere as some Warlpiri ceremonies where things are decided in a collective dynamic as the rituals unfold.”  Barbara (Nungarrayi) Glowczewski (French Anthropologist)

“The values and activities undertaken to prepare for and undertake the Milpirri performance fits exactly with that of the CLC Ranger Program. To look after culture is to look after country and people too.“  Christine (Napangardi) Reid (CLC Indigenous Protected Area Coordinator)

“Milpirri helps with teaching the proper way. Young people don’t really know, even old people don’t really know, we need Milpirri.”  Elizabeth Nungarrayi  Ross (Warlpiri Painter & Kurdiji Group Member)

“It was really good, getting involved, make us a little bit happy and proud. Good to see all the Kardiya people brush the banners, that’s good every one help celebration, Kardiya and Yapa, and the kids were really good.” Robyn Napaljarri Payton (Warlpiri Painter)

“Good the whole community came together. Everyone very proud. Really good to learn some culture, to carry it on after elders no longer here.”  Jake Jakamarra Patterson (Young Adult Dancer)

“We don’t want that Milpirri to go down, we need it to keep lifting up.” Myra Nungarrayi Herbert (Elder, Warlpiri Painter, Singer)

“Milpirri took people to a different perspective and different ways to see things not just family, and we need to do this as family, but it taught the whole community to live life and do life together, and that was due to Milpirri.”  Jennifer (Nangala) Burke (WYDAC Youth Worker)

“Milpirri means a lot to the community. Learning about your culture, learning about your family, learning about everything really about life, being strong and understanding where you standing.”  Katrina Nakamarra Andrew (Community Liaison Officer, Lajamanu School)

“I really loved Milpirri, it was fantastic. We come out to the community regularly so it was really great to get to experience an aspect of community which we don’t get to see very much when we come out here. It adds a little bit to understanding of what’s important to the people out here and what things are like.”  Johnathan Hall-Spence (Civil Law Solicitor, NAAJA Katherine)

“Milpirri helped us to learn more about making of shields, boomerangs and that sort of stuff, is going downhill so got to keep on doing it.”  Donald River (North Tanami Ranger)

“Kids good, yeah really good. Emu burning ngutju (good).” Biddy Nungarrayi Long (Warlpiri Painter)

“It was fantastic, absolutely amazing, I absolutely loved it. It was great to see a community come together and the kids were amazing as well and for them to remember the dances and get up and have a good time was great.”  Sue (Administration Officer Lajamanu School)

“The kids were great and especially on the night there was so many kids, we got everybody nearly, so that was a real positive, and bringing it together with seeing the families there supporting the kids and so many outsiders come as well, so it was great.”  Tracy (Nampijinpa) Dargan (Curriculum Coordinator)

“When so many of the Kardiya were brushing the banners, even the men were quiet watching them all coming through. It is things like that, that help Milpirri to become stronger.” Wanta Steve Jampijinpa Patrick (Creative Director)

” … does a lot of work throughout the Kimberley and has seen a lot of communities that do activities, says you are lucky to get a handful of kids that will come out the front. He has never, ever seen a whole stage full of young kids doing that. It is in itself a phenomenon.” David (Japaljarri) McMicken, (Artistic Director)

“… the beautiful and generous show resulting from the long-term collaboration between some Warlpiri families and Tim, David and his Tracks team, allowed the emergence of the deep spirit of a ritual”  Barbara (Nungarrayi) Glowczewski (French Anthropologist)

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