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Dance Rites 2020

More than 350 First Nations performers from across Australia will compete in the Opera House's annual dance festival.
By Jasmine Crittenden
November 09, 2020
By Jasmine Crittenden
November 09, 2020

The Sydney Opera House's First Nations dance competition will return for its sixth year in 2020. Starring more than 350 performers from all over the country, with different generations, nations and groups all represented, Dance Rites will be broadcast free online — which  means, for the first time, all of Australia can join in on the festivities.

Close to 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance groups will compete in this year's festival, including Djakapurra Dancers, led by Djakapurra Munyarryun (Songman for the Sydney 2000 Olympics); Mornington Island Dance Group, who performed for the opening of the Opera House in 1973; Dyiraamalang, an all-female group; and Luurnpa Dancers, led by acclaimed artist and senior law man Jimmy Tchooga.

The first wave of performances will take place each night from Wednesday, November 11 through Saturday, November 14 (coinciding with NAIDOC Week). Then the finals will air the following week on Saturday, November 21.

Each group will perform two dances — one traditional and one 'wildcard' dance. The judges' assessment is based on on authenticity, reclamation work, fusion of language and music and use of costumes, crafts and cultural materials. The winners will receive a cool $20,000, with additional prizes also up for grabs.

Brolga Dance Academy

Top image: Anna Kucera

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