February 20, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: Our Cultural Residency

 

 

We started the year gently finding our dancing bodies again, we revelled in the freshness of the new year, and have all returned to Sydney after our first adventure for 2013.

Just over ten days ago we set off to Nhulunbuy in northeast Arnhem Land, which is like a base camp for trips to and from different communities in the region. I awoke early one morning to attempt a sunrise yoga, but was soon eaten alive by the local mozzies who were thriving in the wet season’s humidity. Back to the room I went! A couple of hours later, and after joyful reunions with old friends from the community, we set out to Dhalinybuy, homeland of Djakapurra Munyarrun, a Bangarra founding member. What touches our hearts the most is seeing members of the community who we formed special bonds with over past visits, and spending time with them eating, swimming at fresh water holes (a small amount of worry creeps up on us when we think about the possibility of meeting baru – crocodile!) and playing with the kids during dance workshops.

Night fell on our final night and we blasted the headlights on the four wheel drives to get together for a bungle (dance). After almost 10 years of learning and performing Yolngu bungle, I was once again humbled by the children, with them taking the role of teacher and showing us the way, while we kept keen eyes on their styles and tried to make the community proud. After two nights in Dhalinybuy, we headed back to town and were invited to attend one night of the funeral ceremony of a special lady. I admit I was both incredibly honoured and nervous. I wanted to do my adopted family of Yirrkala proud and dance with respect!

                                                                                                               Jasmin Sheppard

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