2016 Milpirri - Kurdiji


Lajamanu, Northern Territory

Saturday October 15, 2016

From ‘Milk Learning to Meat Learning’

This year’s Milpirri is drawn from the values found in the Kurdiji Ceremony, the transition from child to adult, from ‘milk learning to meat learning’. The performance looks at the major symbols found both in this ceremony and in the Australian Coat of Arms: the kangaroo, the emu, a shield, the Southern Cross, and leafy poles (witi). The Lajamanu Warlpiri hope that through sharing their sacred story and linking it to the elements featured in the Australian Coat of Arms, members of the Australian mainstream will be stimulated to acknowledge that the Warlpiri Nation shares with them common, meaningful symbols.

Watch the full performance online. Click here

Enliven tradition

Milpirri is a large-scale outdoor spectacular, in the remote Tanami Desert Community of Lajamanu, approximately 1,000 kilometres from Darwin, performed in front of 30 giant banners representing the many clans, and danced by over 150 community members from the young to the old. This performance draws on a variety of dance styles, from contemporary, hip hop, and Warlpiri dance.

The Milpirri project began in 2005, although it is based upon a twenty-seven-year relationship between Tracks Dance Company and Lajamanu community that began in 1988. It exemplifies how long-term relationships are vital to creative, collaborative, heritage-making. It 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.


A Moment to Remember

Community members pass by and brush 27 banners

Lightning Man

Traditional Lightning Man Solo

Japanangka/Japangardi/Napanangka/Napangardi (Green Group)

Youth Dance - Wake Up, Wake Up
Traditional Dance men - Warlu (Fire)
Traditional dance women - Mina Mina

Jakamarra/Jupurrurla/Nakamarra/Napurrurla (Red Group)

Youth Dance - Stick Together Don't Break Apart
Traditional Dance - Wampana (Spectacled Hare Wallaby)

Japaljarri/Jungarrayi/Napaljarri/Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

Youth Dance - Make Good Choices
Traditional Dance men - Witi (Leafy Poles)
Traditional Dance women - Ngatijirri

Jangala/Jampijinpa/Nangala/Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

Youth Dance - Digging For Knowledge
Traditional Dance men - Yankirri/Karna Nganja (Emu)
Traditional Dance women - Ngapa

Coat of Arms and Youth Finale dance

All youth dancers together.
Community members bring Kangaroo, Emu, Shield, Leafy branches sculptures to form the Australian Coat of Arms.
Voiceover about Kurdiji (including Coat of Arms concept)

Warluwariji (Mothers’ Exhortation)

Young Boys are laid down and their Mothers dance

The lighting of the Yarrardi-Yarrirdi (Burning Leafy Poles) and Ngurra-kurlu (at home in oneself)

Ngurra-kurlu fire sculpture is lit followed by Yarrirdi-Yarrirdi poles

Creative Team

Creative Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Warlpiri Cultural Adviser/ Elder: Jerry Jangala Patrick
Artistic Directors: Tim Newth, David McMicken
Traditional Choreography: Lajamanu Elders
Youth Choreography: Kelly Beneforti, Aaron Lim, assisted by Caleb Japanangka Patrick

Soundtrack Production: Marc Peckham and Rob Tremlett
Voiceovers: Jerry Jangala Patrick, Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Song Vocals: Lajamanu School Year 3/4/5 (Wake Up, Wake Up), Year 5/6 (Stick Together Don't Break Apart), Year 7 (Make Good Choices), Middle School Boys and  Middle School Girls (Digging For Knowledge)

Read the spoken introductions and youth song lyrics to this year's Milpirri as heard on the soundtrack

Production and Promotions Personnel

Producers: Tracks Dance Company
General Manager: Agnès Michelet
Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Production Manager: Mathew McHugh
Production Technician: Duane Preston
Assistant Production Technician: Michael McHugh

Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Graphic Design: Narelle Sullivan
Photo Documentation: Peter Eve
DVD Production: People Pictures
Editing: Cath South
Camera: Stewart Carter
Kevin Boyer: Drone footage
Evaluation Consultant: Alan Marshall


Traditional Singers 

Jerry Jangala Patrick, Henry Jakamarra Cook, Leslie Jampijinpa Robertson, Norbert Jampijinpa Patrick, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Molly Napurrula Tasman, Kitty Napanangka Simon, Judy Napangardi Martin

Lightning Man

Liam Jangala Patrick and Mazlen Jampijinpa Patrick (son)

Japangardi, Japanangka, Napangardi and Napanangka (Green Group)

Youth Dancers with Caleb Japanangka Patrick

Green Group: Jezeniah Japanangka Poulson, Junior (Dudley) Japangardi Polly, Reguel Japanangka Green
Red Group: Alex Jupurrula Dixon, Leo Jupurrula Patterson, Mickisha Nakamarra White, Mikaela Nakamarra Cooke, Romanus Jakamarra Lawson
Blue Group: Albert Jangala Seela, Brody Jangala Patterson, Chris Jangala Moora, Michael Jangala Watson, Russellisha Nampijinpa Burns, Shem Jampijinpa Jurrah, Zacquasha Nangala Gumbula
Yellow Group: Athelita Nungarrayi Dixon, David Jungarrayi Brown, Keturah Napaljarri Payton, Theo Japaljarri Rose, Zakeyla Napaljarri McDonald, Prestina Napaljarri Spencer, Sekiah Napaljarri Gibson

Traditional Dancers 

Males: Ronson Japangardi Dixon, Caleb Japanangka Patrick, Cyril Japanangka Tasman, Maxwell Japanangka Tasman, Teddy Japanangka Dixon, Steven Japangardi Dixon, Maxie Japanangka Gordon, Jerry Japanangka Patrick, Ashwyn Japanangka Johnson, Morgan Japangardi Rex, Shaun Japanangka Johnson

Females: Biddy Napangardi Raymond, Denise Napangardi Tasman, Judy Napangardi Martin, Remeika Napangardi Simon, Ursula Napangardi Marks, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Agnes Napanangka Donnelly, Valerie Napanangka James, Kim (Napangardi) Blake, Christine (Napangardi) Reid, Merinda (Napangardi) Johnson

Jupurrula, Jakamarra, Napurrula and Nakamarra (Red Group)

Youth Dancers 

Red Group: Cher Nakamarra Mathews, Dakota Napurrula Dixon, Liza Nakamarra Patterson, O’Shai Jupurrula Gibson, Tara Nakamarra Morton, Estella Nakamarra Gordon
Green Group: Esther Napangardi Gordon, Kelly Napanangka Scobie, Martin Japanangka Johnson, Sarafina Napanangka Marks, Prestina Napanangka Dixon
Blue Group: Fabian Jangala Ross, Venice Nampijinpa Wilson, Zarifah Nampijinpa Hargraves
Yellow Group: Kyle Jungarrayi Doolan, Norah Nungarrayi Jurrah, Raphayelia Napaljarri Kelly, Shontelle (Remika) Napaljarri Payton, Zeon Japaljarri McDonald

Traditional Dancers

Males: Jake Jakamarra Patterson, Kiriath  Jupurrula Patterson, Titus Jupurrula White, Lyndon Jupurrula Gordon, Steven Jupurrula Morton, Daswyn Jakamarra White, Lachlan (Jupurrula) Casburn

Females: Doris Nakamarra Lewis, Laura Nakamarra Doolan, Belinda Nakamarra Baker, Melinda Napurrula Simon, Mabel Napurrula Samuels, Alison Nakamarra Luther

Japaljarri, Jungarrayi, Napaljarri and Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

Youth Dancers 

Yellow Group: Colleen Nungarrayi Bambra, Dionia Nungarrayi Herbert, Mervyn Japaljarri Rose, Severa Napaljarri Payton, Trevion Japaljarri Lewis
Red Group: Daniel Jakamarra White, Goliath Jupurrula Simon, Jarad Jakamarra White, Oscar Jupurrula Simon
Green Group: Japeth Japangardi Tasman, Kamus Japanangka Johnson, Shontana Napangardi Tasman
Blue Group: Evangeline Nangala Gumbula, Gabby Jampijinpa Wesley, Mona-Lisa Nampijinpa Kelly, Sheilleah Nangala Watson, Shenise Nangala Watson, Steven Jampijinpa Robertson

Traditional Dancers 

Males: Roger Japaljarri Jurrah, Anthony (Travis) Japaljarri Rose, Brendon Jungarrayi Payton, Ananais Japaljarri  Payton, Clifford Jungarrayi McDonald, Zebeon Japaljarri Robbo, Waylon Jungarrayi Hudson, Corey Jungarrayi Raymond, Costello Japaljarri Ronson, Keithen Japaljarri Ross, Nick (Japaljarri) Brustolin

Females: Sonya Napaljarri Cooke, Biddy Nungarrayi Jurrah, Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Marjorie Nungarrayi Gibson, Beth Nungarrayi Jurrah, Qin Musgrave

Jangala, Jampijinpa, Nangala and Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

Youth Dancers

Blue Group: Lesley Jampijinpa McDonald, Gloria Nampijinpa Rose, Ruby Nampijinpa McDonald.
Red Group: Ezekiel Jupurrula Walker, Jason Jupurrula Simon, Regan Jakamarra Lewis, Felicia Napurrula Simon, Lianna Napurrula Patterson.
Green Group: Davon Japanangka Marks-Burns, Ronan Japanangka Johnson, Tarkyn Japangardi Tasman, Shemira Napangardi Rose, Leah Napanangka James.
Yellow Group: Emmanuel Japaljarri Martin, Jeriah Japaljarri Payton, Liam Japaljarri Rose, Katie-Anne Napaljarri Payton, Shakira Napaljarri Payton, Shaunisha Nungarrayi Herbert, Valentine Napaljarri McDonald.

Traditional Dancers

Males: Keanu Jampijinpa Kelly, Micky (Michaelis) Jangala Sampson, Kane Jampijinpa Kelly, Dion Jangala Kelly, Elijah Jampijinpa Kelly, Stephen Jangala Robertson, Norman Jampijinpa Kelly, Liam Jangala Patrick, Andre Jampijinpa Kelly, Tony Jampijinpa Sampson, Jasper Jangala Burns, Terry Jangala Sampson, Peter Jangala Jigili, Charlie (Jampijinpa) Dack

Females: Patsy Nangala Herbert, Nita Nampijinpa Patrick, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick, Jenelle Nampijinpa Burns, Liddy Nampijinpa Miller, Atrina Nangala Robertson, Jasmine Nangala Patrick, Judith (Nangala) Crispin

Thank You

Milpirri Governing Body: Geoffrey Jungarrayi Barnes, Roger Japaljarri Jurrah, Stephen Japanangka Dixon, Steven Jupurrula Morton, Steven Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Peter Jangala Jigili, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Noressa Napurrula White, Doris Nakamarra Lewis, Laura Nakamarra Doolan, Annette Nampijinpa Patrick.

To the staff of the following Lajamanu organizations: Central Desert Regional Council, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program (WYDAC), Western Desert Dialysis, Lajamanu School, Lajamanu Store, Activities Centre, Lajamanu Rangers Program, Government Engagement Centre, Northern Territory Police, Lajamanu Health Clinic, Centre Lands Council and the many other people from Lajamanu who helped out. Outside of Lajamanu thanks to Wormald (fire protection), Miles Holmes, Gail Haydon and NT fleet, Trevor Riddle from Khao San Road Catering and Tristan from Dreamedia

Major Sponsor

Newmont Asia Pacific

Sponsors and Partners

Milpirri Festival could not continue to exist without the valued support of its sponsors and partners. These include: Newmont Asia Pacific, GMAAAC, Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, Regional Arts Fund NT, Darwin International Airport, Southern Cross TV 

Tracks Government 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.

The Regional Arts Fund is an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional remote and very remote/isolated Australia. This program is delivered in partnership with the NT Government

Tracks 2016

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Agnès Michelet
Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Production Manager: Mathew McHugh
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: Noya Chong Wah

Committee Members: Mary Durack (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, David Taylor, Ken Conway, Stephanie Cvirn, Venaska Cheliah. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Agnès Michelet (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

Patron: His Honour, The Honourable John Hardy OAM, Administrator of the Northern Territory



Explore Further 

Milpirri / Lajamanu Home Page

Themes and Song Lyrics

Milpirri Banners

Milpirri Dances - Videos

Iconic Tracks Works

2018 Milpirri - Jurntu


“Milpirri was good. Our children we were proud of them because they want to understand more and more culture.” Agnes Napanangka Donnelly (Warlpiri Painter, Dancer)

“For the younger gen it gives them all that rhythm, timing and working together as a team and that feeling that everyone is connecting with the community, everyone is working together seeing the older and younger generation together. Coming together like that for the one event was very special.” Courtney (Napaljarri) (Teacher Grade 1)

“I was very impressed by the kids. The kids (having been a teacher) I thought were fantastic. It was their event, their act and they did it with gutso.“  Geoff Lazarus (Canberra Lobbyist)

“It was one of the proudest moments I have had since I have been at the school and that the kids went out there and did what they had been practicing to a fairly high standard. There was none of that teasing that sometimes goes on, everything was very positive and everyone applauded, so my thoughts in the final wash up were that whether this is linked to traditional history or not, is not my judgement call to make, what I am here to do is to meet educational outcomes and what they did the other night was  very positive thing for the school, themselves and their teachers.”  James Bryant (Principal Lajamanu School)

“It creates a very sensitive and emotional event for everybody because part of that festival, or the event in the festival, really brings back the memories of your grandfather and grandmother.”  Norbert Jampijinpa Patrick (Central Desert Region Council)

“Because of that performance I understood a lot more about the Warlpiri people and about my own kids, that I didn’t really understand before Milpirri.” Tara (Napanangka) (Teacher Grade 3, 4 & 5)

“Milpirri is very important because all skin groups get together and learn about each others dreaming and connections for different groups.” Valerie Napanangka James (Community Spokesperson, Dancer, Learning Centre Employee)

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