This preview clip from the Mulka Project (a.k.a Buku-Larrnggay Arts Centre, Yirrkala) took my breath away. It may sound cheesy but I mean it literally. I am ever astonished at the dancing skills that Yolngu people perform for ceremony. I am quite happy to admit that, despite nearly two years trying to learn the most basic steps of women’s dancing (which kiddies as young as four seem to master with confidence) I never advanced past the bumbling Balanda potato stage.
Yolngu dancers seem to barely touch the ground when they are at their best during ceremony …. and see how the young men in this clip kick up clouds of sand as they move? I tried everything. Even when I was collecting firewood alone. I clenched my toes and kicked backwards like a bush-turkey. Bayngu (no/none/nothing). In fact I think my most ‘Balanda’ moments were the few times I was obliged to dance for ceremony. Oh dear. Watch the clip below and just imagine me – who has not a bone of rhythm in her body – trying to follow moves like that. All power to you Yolngu’yulngu –