BWW Review: DJUKI MALA – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2019 at Umbrella Revolution, Garden Of Unearthly Delights

BWW Review: DJUKI MALA – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2019 at Umbrella Revolution, Garden Of Unearthly DelightsReviewed by Corinna Di Niro, Friday 22nd February 2019.

The Djuki Mala Dance Troupe are back again in what they have called the last season of their much loved highly awarded, 5-star review must-see show that has sold out venues around the world since 2007. I had heard wonderful things about Djuki Mala but really didn't expect to see such a high-energy, fast-paced and action-filled show with a crowd cheering, applauding and stomping their feet throughout. Much to my surprise, at times I felt like I was at a rock concert or, even better, a 90's hip-hop event.

The Djuki Mala Dance Troupe is from the north-eastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of the Yolngu people, where they have been able to preserve their culture for thousands of years. It is a culture in which dance features heavily and today has been a platform for young people to express themselves; something that this troupe has in spades. Djuki Mala is the Aboriginal name meaning 'Chooky Group'. Djuki means 'chook' and Mala means a group of people with similar characteristics.

Presented by Bone Creatives, Djuki Mala begins with traditional Aboriginal dance depicting the history of the Aboriginal people and the settlement of the white man. Throughout the show, video footage plays and we hear from a mother who speaks of the great success of her sons, who are part of the dance troupe, and the passing of their father who inspired them to dance. There is also video footage of other members of the community. It is moving, touching, and sombre, and we are reminded of some significant truths with a poignant message. The four young men give a powerful dance that captures our hearts.

And then, as if from out of nowhere, again much to my delight, I hear the tune of Zorba the Greek and the dance troupe immediately switch from one traditional dance to another. Through the video footage, we understand how Djuki Mala began. It was created to honour a Greek lady who cared for one of the community members and, for the last 12 years, the troupe have been touring the world and amusing audiences with their very special blend of traditional dance to mainstream music. Almost every style of music is jam-packed into this show: Bollywood, Motown, 60s tunes like Singin' in the Rain, the disco era of the 70s, a tribute to Michael Jackson, the cool RnB and hip-hop of the 90s U Can't Touch This, and a rendition of Missy Elliot's Get Your Freak On, which I'll definitely always remember. Add in some jumps, somersaults, and great comic timing and it's clear why this show is a must see.

Djuki Mala has played over 700 live performances to over 500,000 people in 73 cities and towns, in 27 different countries, across 12 years. Be sure to catch it at this year's Adelaide Fringe before it's gone for good.

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