Dancing in the dust
In an ancient ceremonial bora ring on remote Cape York, the dust is rising as feet pound the earth in what must be one of Australia’s most colourful festivals. And the beauty of it – apart from being witness to a cultural spectacle that I’ve never seen before – is that it is still relatively undiscovered.
About 5000 people camped at the site of the biennial Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival this year (there’s nowhere else much to stay), but still the festival had an intimate feel. I felt really privileged to be there, watching 17 diverse indigenous communities come together to share their song, dance, language and stories.
It was also clear that what we were seeing was a passing of traditions; the youngest of the 500 or so performers were about four years old, the oldest may not even know when they were born. But throughout the generations the pride in their culture was evident.
This week is NAIDOC Week in Australia. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee, and the annual NAIDOC Week, in the first week of July, is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.
There’s no better week, I reckon, to share my images of the Laura Dance Festival. They say far more about it than I could in words.
The next Laura Dance Festival will be held in June 2015. Put it on your bucket list now.
A Glass Half Full travelled to Laura as a guest of Tourism & Events Queensland.
17 Responses to “Dancing in the dust”
Thank you for sharing this! Great images.
Sounds like a great experience, Lee – I’ve pencilled it in for June 2015!
It was fantastic Christine. Hope you make it.
Sounds wonderful and what beautiful photos supporting the story.
Thanks Paul – a great compliment!
This looks amazing! Wish I was there to see it.
I’m sure you would love it! Like I said…bucket list material…
Terrific photos, Lee – sounds like a cool event. (And now I know what to do with chicken feathers, next time I have some spare …)
Well done my friend!
Thank you Thomas…I’m sure you have equally fascinating stuff to sort through! Saving my best ones for some magazines I have commissions from…but will share them too in due course.
Lee, these are great. Well done. You’ve done a lovely job catching movement. The picture of the boy hunched down in the dirt (with white paint lining his arms) is my favourite. Thanks for sharing. Jen.
Thanks Jen. I think that boy was a crocodile!
Great to see these images and your story, Lee. Thanks. Trina
Thanks Trina – glad you enjoyed them!
Oh my gosh. What an incredible experience! I do want to add this to my bucket list. Cultures like this seem unreal to me in this day and age. I’d love to witness it for myself. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
My pleasure – glad you liked them!