Lajamanu, Northern Territory, Australia
Milpirri (2005 - current) is a biennial performance that is internationally acclaimed for its community engagement and intercultural collaboration. The project is built on a relationship begun in 1988 between the Lajamanu community and Tracks Dance Company.
Explore the Milpirri Dances
Since 2005, upon the request of the community, Tracks has video documented over 101 individual dances, songs and body designs that form the bases of a digital archive. These dances were performed in two different modes: Open or ‘soft” versions of Warlpiri dances and songs (Jardiwarnpa, Purlapa and Yawulyu), and youth with contemporary and hip-hop dance and music. The focus is on intergenerational and intercultural knowledge exchange and renewal, with song and dance performances taking stage by and for Warlpiri. This project aims to make these dances accessible to the Lajamanu community and beyond. The Milpirri dances have different themes. Each looks at values from the ceremony of which they are drawn. You can watch the dancers by clicking on any of the images below. You can also search by clicking the Women, Men, or Youth tabs.
Watch videos of dances by clicking on the photos below or search by clicking Women, Men or Youth.
The Milpirri Themes
Each Milpirri is guided by Steve Jampijinpa Patrick who draws out thematic material from different Warlpiri ceremonies. From these themes, the Tracks dance team create and teach the school students new dances with new music. The Warlpiri adult dances are open and public dances which are often seen as teaching dances. For some young Warlpiri dancers, the performance is the first time they have seen or done the dance. On all levels of Milpirri learning is done through active participation creating a two-way exchange of ideas: the Elders can see that the youth are interested in Warlpiri ideas, and the youth can see that the Elders are interested in teaching them. The performance is intergenerational and intercultural spanning Warlpiri and Non-Warlpiri knowledge and methodologies
The five ceremonies in the Milpirri cycle, contain the following themes:
Manyuwarna (Celebration), Jintanka (Unity), Mardani (Protection) Purami (Guidance)
Yankirri (Emu – teaching and learning), Witi (making choices), Marlu (Kangaroo – follow the law), Warlu (Fire -Cleansing – new beginnings)
Artefacts. Responsibility, Respect, Justice, and Discipline. Different Artefacts remind us of how our community needs to work together as one body.
The place where the birds went to learn to fly. The more knowledge you have, the higher you will fly. The Eagle is the ultimate flier and hunter, but he was taught by the emu whose spirit resides in the stars. Yankirri (Emu), Warlawurru (Wedgetail Eagle), Karnka (Crow), Wirntiki (Stone Curlew), Winyiwinpa (Spotted Harrier), Kirrkalanji (Brown Hawke)
Two men hunting light a fire to flush out food. They call on Four different directional winds to work together to move forwards, North, West, South, East. A slow moving fire and wind is better than raging out of control.
The following web pages have been curated by Tim Newth and David McMicken with input from Milpirri Choreographers and overseen by Lajamanu Elders. Thank you to Jerry Jangala Patrick, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Molly Napurrula Tasman, Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Kelly Beneforti, Aaron Lim and Jess Devereux.
Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program (WYDAC), Lajamanu School and Lajamanu Store
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