Dhangu Walu - In The Now

Dhangu Walu - In The Now


    Community Engagement Project for Elders

    Darwin, Coomalie region, and Yirrkala
    February - June 2022

    Dance, Age, and Connection

    Working with Elders in Darwin, the Coomalie Region, and Nhulunbuy/Yirrkala, this project focused on community connectivity, group cohesion, and engagement and social well-being of older adults in regional, rural, and very remote communities. Combining the 30 years of experience Tracks has with the elders in Darwin and Lajamanu, this project worked on new relationships with the Elders of Yirrkala and local Nhulunbuy-based Indigenous dance artist Rachael Wallis, using digital platforms to communicate and engage.

    From this project, we produced:

    • 66 workshops (33 shared Zoom)
    • 4 Cultural Exchange/Sharing workshops in Darwin face-to-face with the Grey Panthers in DArwin and Coomalie region
    • Darwin and Coomalie dancers learned 3 Yolŋu dances - Water (Gapu), Morning Star, Stringy Bark (honey flower)
    • Music for 2 dances was recorded in Yirrkala - Gapu and Morning Star
    • Photo Documentation of workshops and sound recording
    • Video Documentation - dance workshops, gesture dance, dancing on the beach, Interviews with Janet and Banula
    • 1 Sign Language Dance was created and taught to Darwin Grey Panthers
    • Coomalie Group created an 'In The Now' Video of new place-based work
    • 1 Bilingual Work Sheet based on Gestural dance from Yolŋu sign language


    Creative Team

    David McMicken and Rachael Wallis
    Yolŋu Cultural Consultants: Janet Munyarryun, Banula Marika
    Coomalie: Darryl Butler, Ellen Hankin


    Explore Further

    A Whole of Life Activity

    Tracks have had a consistent focus on dancing and the older adult since the company's beginnings more than three decades ago. We believe that our elders hold valuable cultural information that only comes from age and experience. Their wisdom guides much of what we do, ensuring our focus on dance as a whole-of-life activity remains core to our thinking.

    Older Adult Dance

    Photo by Duane Preston. Janet Munyarryun, Banula Marika
    Photo by Duane Preston. Janet Munyarryun,
    Photo by Duane Preston. Grey Panthers
    Photo by Duane Preston. Rachael Wallis with the Grey Panthers
    Photo by Duane Preston. Banula Marika teaching
    Photo by Duane Preston. Rachael Wallis with the Grey Panthers
    Photo by Duane Preston, Janet Munyarryun with Grey Panthers
    Photo by David McMicken. Janet Manyarryun with Coomalie Grey Panthers
    Photo David McMicken. Banula Marika with Coomalie Grey Panthers
    Photo Jess Devereux. (l-r) David McMicken, Banula Marika, Rachael Wallis
    Photo Jess Devereux. (l-r) David McMicken, Banula Marika, Rachael Wallis


    I appreciated the visit by dance teachers from Arnhem land. Learning through sign language, imitation and stories was an enjoyable creative experience. Two-way learning and social interaction through dance is a powerful way to promote intercultural understanding, and knowledge of Indigenous culture, as well as extend our dance repertoire. Jill Finch - Grey Panther

    I really enjoyed Janet and Banula’s visits with Rachael.  I don’t normally have contact with indigenous dancers and performers so learning some dance moves and especially the meaning of them was very interesting and made me want to learn more.  ... There is so much knowledge and history the aboriginal people carry in their heads and most, probably, speak at least two languages and a sign language.  I am flat-out coping with just the English language and writing things down so I don’t forget (that could be old age). I would love to have Banula and Janet visit us again.  Marge Duminski - Grey Panther

    I have lived in the Territory since 1986. I am 72 years old and a newbie to the Panthers. I was simply blown away to be taught the Yirrkala Aboriginal women’s Morning Star dance and another water dance by you. In that short time you were with us you gave me so much insight into not only the dances but the cultural attitudes and differences. ... To come and inspire 60+ older white women with your generosity of spirit gives me such hope for reconciliation …..what a marvellous way to do it, sharing your dance. Sally Gearin - Grey Panther

    I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Rachel, Janet and Banula. Some details of dances I have seen on many occasions in Darwin but have not appreciated their meaning. It has certainly added to my enjoyment of traditional dancing …. And it was very enjoyable. Di Koser - Grey Panther

    Tracks 2022


    Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth (Tim is currently on long service leave)
    Company Director: Adelaide Wood
    Assoc. Artistic Director: Jessica Devereux
    Dance Animateurs: Kelly Beneforti and Steph Spillett
    Production Manager: Duane Preston
    Administrator: Mikaela Earnshaw and Debbie Micairan
    Bookkeeper: It Figures

    Committee Members

    David Taylor (Chairperson), Max Dewa Stretton (Vice-Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Venaska Cheliah, Andrea Wicking, Rachael Wallis, Michael Grant, Ken Conway. David McMicken, Tim Newth, and Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)

    Public Fund Trustees

    Maari Gray, Will Crawford, and Lachlan Peattie


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

    Company Partner

    Tracks Inc. is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government

    Project Partner

    Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

    Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

    Tracks Inc is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

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