Milpirri - Yinapaka (Development)


Lajamanu, Northern Territory

2020 Apr/May, Sep - In Development

Where Young Birds Learn to Fly

Yinapaka is a significant Warlpiri sacred site. In the Jukurrpa (Ceremonial Law - Dreaming) it is where the birds went to learn to fly. In Warlpiri, the level a bird flies can be related to law and achievement. This Milpirri's themes come from the following birds:  Yankirri (Emu) the teacher; Warlawurru (Wedgetail Eagle) the smartest and strongest hunter; Winyiwinpa (Spotted Harrier) being a smart hunter; Wirntiki (Stone Curlew) helping others; and Karnka (Crow) strategically working things out.


An exemplar of how vital long-term relationships are to Tracks’ creative, collaborative heritage-making work; founded on a 30-year relationship between Tracks and the remote Warlpiri Indigenous community of Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert (population approx. 500). Milpirri works across the community – from Lajamanu school and community organisations, from youth to rangers, male and female elders - across the entire community. With up to 200 performers and over 400 audiences made up of residents and visitors, this remote performance is a cause for the Australian celebration of our 60,000-year dance heritage.

Milpirri is an intergenerational, bilingual, bicultural event that brings Warlpiri, and non-Warlpiri together to “enliven tradition for an intercultural twenty-first-century future” - Wanta Steve Jampijinpa Patrick.

Creative Team

Creative Director: Wanta Steve Jampijinpa Patrick
Artistic Directors: Tim Newth and David McMicken
Leading Elder: Jerry Jangala Patrick
Animateurs and Youth Choreographers: Kelly Beneforti, Madeleine Brown and Jordan Bretherton
Composers and Soundtrack Producers: Marc Peckham and Rob Tremlett
Performers (dancers and singers): Elders and youth of Lajamanu

Development 2020

In April/May the equivalent to three weeks of development work took place in Darwin, Lajamanu and Melbourne. (We were to be in Lajamanu but biosecurity restrictions for remote Indigenous Communities stopped this). Kelly Beneforti worked with Madeleine Brown and Jordan Bretherton both online and in the studio to work on protocols, historical information, and the creation of new material based on the themes that Steve Jampijinpa Patrick has established. They also tested out some online work with the students in Lajamanu.

Working with Steve Jampijinpa Patrick in Lajamanu via zoom to gather content, Marc Peckham and Rob Tremlett (Melbourne) created the development soundtrack and lyric content.

Prior to this, in March, Steve worked with David and Tim in Darwin to develop the thematic material.

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

Newmont Goldcorp

Supporting Partners

Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, Warnayaka Arts Centre, Mount Theo Youth Program (WYDAC), Lajamanu School, ALPA Stores and Central Lands Council (Ranger Program)

Tracks 2020

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor / Jo Shearn
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateurs: Kelly Beneforti and Jess Devereux
Bookkeeper: It Figures

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

Public Fund Trustees: Maari Gray, Will Crawford and Lachlan Peattie

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


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