Informal and formal Aboriginal and Aboriginal dance networks have been activated by YAAMA NGUNNA BAAKA’s director, Bruce Shillingsworth Snr., who has a long history of working as a dancer, cultural educator and organiser across NSW. Bruce is a Murawari – Budgiti man from northwestern NSW, now residing in Waterloo, Sydney.
The bus and car convoy will move through the landscape to a new destination each afternoon. Local Aboriginal groups in each destination will play host to the afternoon and evening of events that will take place on their country. The unfolding journey will show the interdependencies of the different communities of people, plants and animals that live along the river to provide participants and festival goers with the opportunity to experience strong connections and understandings of the land.
The meal towards the end of each day will be followed by the corroboree starting at dusk. Each dance group will perform in each township. Local dance groups: Budjiti Dance Group (Enngonia), Wankamurra (Bourke), Murrawari (Goodooga), Yurrawari and Ngemba (Brewarrina), Kamilaroi (Walgett – 2 groups), Mungundi (Moree – 1 boys and 1 girls group) and a group from Wilcannia led by Owen Wyman. The Bourke group is also performing and they comprise 45 dancers.
A unique feature of the program is the way in which Aboriginal dance groups from all around Australia are spontaneously coming together for this event. This represents an assertion of the importance of Aboriginal culture in a coming together for cultural exchange, collaboration and reinvigoration that presents one cultural response needed for the river. Sydney- based groups include Yaama Guroo, Koomurri, Bruce Shillingsworth Snr’s. group and others who will build the connection, energy and focus of the event. Conversations are being held with the South Australian dance group led by Uncle Moochi who has led ringbalins (roving corroborees) on the Murray River as well as dancers from the Top End.