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Fringe review: Djuki Mala

Adelaide Fringe

The five accomplished dancers of Djuki Mala fuse traditional Yolngu dance with contemporary pop culture to create an hilarious, charming and high-energy mix that surpasses all expectations. ★★★★★

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Djuki Mala (from Elcho Island) first came to attention as The Chooky Dancers in 2007, when a video of them dancing to “Zorba the Greek” went viral on YouTube, and they have since performed all over the world.

Footage on a big screen in The Factory at the Garden of Unearthly Delights illustrates the troupe’s background and through this the audience gets some understanding of where the ideas and inspiration for the show originate. The performance is not overtly political, but it is intensely sad to hear about so many family members taken before their time and young people overloading on sugar before finding dance as their medium of expression.

The group starts off dancing in traditional Aboriginal body paint, to traditional music, using the familiar mimicking of animals in their dance. However, they soon change into golden Bollywood fashion with turbans and aviator glasses, pulling off some seriously different moves.

Through a range of costume changes, the performers dance their way through “Singing in the Rain”, complete with twirling umbrellas, to Michael Jackson and hip-hop. The music is terrific, especially for an ’80s kid like myself, and very well arranged. There is not a dull moment here!

All the dancers clearly enjoy themselves on stage and their joy is infectious. They clown around, poke out their tongues and wriggle their hips to the audience’s delight. It’s loud and proud, ending with a standing ovation.

If you are after entertainment with plenty of skill, fun and charm, and are finding it hard to choose what to see at the Fringe, you can’t go past the brilliant Djuki Mala.

Djuki Mala are preforming in the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 18. Read more InDaily Fringe reviews and stories here.

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