Iconic Tracks Works

Iconic Tracks Works

Celebrating the Spirit of People and the Place they Live

Tracks Dance Company’s Artistic Co-Directors David McMicken and Tim Newth have conceived and directed many iconic works between 1996-2021. Starting in the late eighties, Tracks' early roots were in making dance performances with diverse communities. This work has developed into radically local, large scale spectaculars, celebrating the spirit of individuals and groups, and the place they live.

Our Inspiration for Making Work

Tracks dance artists are in a wonderful position of having made work over three decades about the Northern Territory and the amazing people who live there. As Artistic Co-Directors, Tim Newth and David McMicken have created an extensive body of work that comes from many different places, spaces, people, ideas, and feelings. As a contemporary company, we are always trying to tap into the very fabric of our community, allowing the influences to infuse our practice. Sometimes deeply personal, sometimes conceptual, unfailingly about our community, and always entertaining.

An iconic work: is full length, tells a local story, is performed in an outdoor venue created especially for that performance season and is not made to tour, has a large (30 on average) culturally diverse cast of predominantly local performers that is made up professionals and passionate amateurs, includes diverse dance forms and styles, and is very often intergenerational. Most of these works have featured in the Darwin Festival, the first being in 1997. In doing so we have produced a recognised dance vernacular that could not come from anywhere else.

You don’t move Uluru

As we say - “ You don’t move Uluru - you have to go to that place" and so it is with Tracks; if you want to see our iconic works live, you have to come to us.

Place is the Work

Sometimes Tracks' work is about the place we live and work. It may be an old sporting facility such as a bowls club, matched with a society that tries to tell us that you are either a friend or an enemy, resulting in A Bowls Club Wedding - a love story between two rival clubs and their senior members. At a time when Darwin was booming and the skyline was rapidly changing we asked our youth if they thought the city was being built with their future in mind, resulting in Mr Big. Or the simplicity of sitting on the cliffs and watching the sunset over the ocean as in Last Light. In Landed the swampland is the source of the only freshwater creek in Darwin (Rapid Creek), and is located beside the airport. Dancing fully immersed in the pandanus trees, and scrubland we get to feel the beauty of this part of our country. Even the Darwin City mall, that people walk through daily to eat or shop, gets revisited through the layers of history and usage, in Global Positioning.

Jenelle Saunders, Darren Edwards, Jordan Bretherton, Madeleine Brown and Bryn Wackett - Global Positioning. Photo Duane Preston

People are the Work

When you have such diversity to choose from in Darwin, there is no end to the personal stories that can be told. Our diverse youth with their trials, tribulations and joys are explored in shows such as Ignite and Fast. How very personal your back yard can be with so many different cultures at play, and yet how publicly this is shared and explored in Without Sea. Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman is directly drawn from Tracks' costume designer and her Hungarian father and Thai mother. When you hear the stories of proud Balinese and Sri Lankan mothers boasting about their sons’ prowess and total love of Australian Rules football and cricket, there could be no other result than In Your Blood.

Julia Quinn and Yoris Wilson - Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman. Photo Jason Lamb

Laughing and Thinking

Comedy allows us to take some serious social concepts and shine a humorous light on them, letting us re-think our positions. Bowls Club Wedding was drawn from ideas about George Bush and 9:11, where we were being told 'you are either friend or foe'. With a Prime Minister instigating a citizenship test to make sure you are Australian enough, and a general cultural cringe that always puts us in ‘second’ position, You Dance Funny is unafraid to tell the joke. Lipstick and Ochre shows the joyous side-by-side and sometimes togetherness of Darwin Seniors the Grey Panthers and Senior Women from Lajamanu; both like painting up and having fun through dancing. While Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman looks at a different time when a refugee steps off a boat and is given a job immediately, travels to the Northern Territory to hunt crocs, and ends up marrying a Thai bride who sells pineapples and loves throwing a 70's party.

Gail Evans, Judith Allen, David McMicken and Kay Brown - Lipstick and Ochre. Photo Peter Eve


For many dance companies, their dancers fall within a tight age range, but not so with Tracks. When the community is our inspiration, it is not uncommon to see an intergenerational cast. 4WD Sweat Dust and Romance went from local primary school pupils, all the way to our romancing seniors. From an angelic child, abseiling firemen, pregnant Grannies providing heaven’s administration, through middle age and on to ceremonial dancers Angels of Gravity covered generational shifts in attitude and combined this with multimedia. 8-80 The Architecture of Age was quintessentially intergenerational, with, as the title suggests,  dancers aged between 8 and 80, while Global Positioning’s multi-aged cast displayed a place for everyone in our CBD. In Man Made we saw males of diverse ages and backgrounds performing both together to ask s the question; what attributes do we want our men to have? Milpirri brings the young children, the youths and the senior dancers and singers combining the remote Warlpiri community of Lajamanu’s strengths and hopes in a powerful performance.

Ethan Bowden, Bernie Trinne, Josh Mu and John Sullivan - Man Made. Photo David Hancock

Historically Influenced 'True Stories'

With the Northern Territory’s chequered history that involves some of the oldest culture on earth and some difficult post-colonial times, Tracks created Fierce, looking at Black and White first contact between the Warlpiri people and anthropologist Olive Pink. Outside The Camp looks at the local Channel Island that was once a leper colony, predominantly housing Indigenous people, and Struck looks at wartime Darwin, bombed repeatedly and yet kept quiet from the rest of Australia. The Cook The Queen and the Kelly took fanciful stories we had been told and presented them as “True Territory Tales”.

Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Trevor Patrick
, Lilly Nungarrayi Hargraves and Biddy Nungarrayi Long - Fierce, the Story of Olive Pink. Photo Peter Eve

Culturally Diverse Voices

It is important for us that our work reflects the diversity of our population, and we recognise the need to ensure this is seen on our mainstream stage. 4WD Sweat Dust and Romance had a strong Papua New Guinea influence with dancers and musicians represented. The Land The Cross and The Lotus drew from Indigenous, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, and Thai choreographers and performers, while Rivers of the Underground strongly multicultural cast expressed the myriad ways different cultures respond to the afterlife. Snake Gods and Deities included dancers and musician from the Sama Ballet from Sri Lanka, and the Maori, Papua New Guinea, Filipino, Indonesian cast took us through ways to overcome fear. Without Sea represented 6 local cultural groups, and Zombies In The Banyan Tree combined Balinese, contemporary and hip hop beatboxing. Joining culture and sport In Your Blood gives us a contemporary story drawn from real-life Balinese and Sri Lankan Mothers and their sporting sons.

Susana Lu-Dizon, Vera Tabuzo and Indira Jones - Without Sea. Photo Peter Eve


Tapping into the social moods and influences of the time some works just have to be made. While Mr Big tapped into issues of Darwin as a boom and bust town, You Dance Funny commented on our country's rising distrust of migrants, the race to get into Asian markets, and the growing influence of China. Zombies in the Banyan Tree hitched a ride on the incredibly fast-changing technologies, people’s fear of the new, and the increase in supernatural films and series. And with the #Metoo movement rising Man Made took an intergenerational look at how we must have diverse positive male role models. And when Global Warming is on everyone’s lips and conservation and recycling are necessities, Global Positioning asked us to look at what global positions we are prepared to take, and how we can make that effect locally.

Aaron Lim and Andy Lay - Zombies in the Banyan Tree. Photo Jess Devereux

Warlpiri People of Lajamanu

Discover more major Track works by exploring the long term creative relationship between Track and the remote Indigenous community of Lajamanu. From this relationship started in 1988 many works have grown. However, it is the Milpirri performance that has become woven into the community's identity and has attracted international acclaim.

Milpirri is a bilingual, bicultural event designed to bring Yapa (Warlpiri, Aboriginal people) and Kardiya (non-Warlpiri, non-Aboriginal people) together to “enliven tradition for an intercultural twenty-first-century future”.  Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick.

Valentine Napaljarri McDonald, Leah Napanangka James (front) and Lianna Napurrula Patterson - Milpirri 2016. Photo Peter Eve

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.

4WD Sweat Dust and Romance

A gutsy evening of entertainment: with dancers, music, and four wheel drives.

The Land the Cross and Lotus

Three life journeys; Purukupali the creator of Tiwi culture, the Virgin Mary of Christianity and Siddhartha, the Buddha.

Outside the Camp

Based on stories of Indigenous and Non-indigenous people’s experience of Channel Island Leprosarium.

Rivers of the Underground

Does living in Darwin prepared you for your journey into the afterlife?

Fierce - the Story of Olive Pink

Miss Olive Muriel Pink, once labelled “the fiercest white woman in captivity”.


Explore our youth's ups and downs, dreams and desires, and new responsibilities and commitments.

A Bowls Club Wedding

Kitty and Jack are members of long-standing rival bowls clubs. Can love conquer the most virulent rivalry?

Snakes Gods & Deities

A journey into freedom from fear with the Sri Lankan Sama Ballet Company and cultural dancers and musicians from Darwin.


FAST paced, FAST music, FAST cast: driven by a desire to seize all that life offers.

Milpirri 2005

Based on the Jarda-Warnpa Ceremony and its lessons of reconciliation.

Angels of Gravity

Lured by gravity, Angels descend from heaven, placing foot upon earth. Join the swings around the middle years.

Mr Big

The spirit of Darwin, from its transition as a sleepy little town to one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities.

Without Sea

Remove the oceans from the world and you have a world without boundaries, without cultural divide.

Milpirri 2007

The Kurdiji (shield) ceremony takes boys to men, an exhorts the mothers.

You Dance Funny

The world’s wackiest dance carnival comes to town!  A star-studded line up of freaks, misfits and has-beens.


Love struck, Star struck. A romance set in unstable times of change, set amongst the World War II ruins of Darwin.

Lipstick & Ochre

A friendly journey through the collective wisdom and experience of two groups of older women: desert and city.

Milpirri 2009

Based on the Juntu purlapa, the performance teaches a story about kuruwarri (the law).


The dogged spirit and resilience of the Northern Territory. With a velodrome, dancers, long distance runners and bodybuilders.

The Cook, The Queen, and The Kelly

Tall Territory Tales! Folklore becomes fact in this comic celebration of twisted history!

Milpirri 2012

Informed by ceremony connected to Pulyaranyi, the winds of change.

Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman

A uniquely true Territorian love story between a Hungarian crocodile hunter and glamorous Thai pineapple seller.

Eight to Eighty - the Architecture of Age

A reflection on how movement is shaped by our stages of life.

Zombies in the Banyan Tree

A classic story of two apparently opposite forces who go to battle, upsetting a natural balance of coexistence.

Milpirri 2014

Drawn from the Warlpiri “Fire” ceremony associated with atonement and reconciliation.

Last Light

Find a spot by the ocean and watch the sunset. The red orb sinking into the Arafura Sea is a true Darwin narrative.

Milpirri 2016

Drawn from the values found in the Kurdiji Ceremony, the transition from child to adult.


Three different characters arrive back home in Darwin after being away for some time. 

Man Made

From schoolyards, backyards, streets, bars and barbeques - a spotlight on our men.

Milpirri 2018

Jurntu Pulapa: the themes of Justice, Respect, Discipline, and Responsibility.

In Your Blood

Across generations, cultures and sporting codes we ask: what exactly is in your blood? And how did it get there?

Global Positioning

Reimagining the Heart of the City, transforming Smith Street Mall and surrounds into a vast open-air theatre.

Seasons of Skin and Bark

Delves into plant intelligence and places it beside a human perspective to examine how we co-exist.

Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Tracks Inc is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

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