This August, NAISDA was privileged to host Cultural Tutors from North East Arnhem land to be in residence for one week at our Kariong campus.
Heather Mitjangba, Tony Mudalyun, Tiana Ganambarr and Tony Bukulatjpi, travelled from their remote homelands at the top of Australia to teach, share and guide our Developing Artists through intensive Yolngu Cultural learnings.
As well as being adopted into the Yolngu kinship system (Gurrutu), our Developing Artists learnt Yolngu Matha (language), Bungul (dance), Manikay (Song) and Yolngu Rom (Law, custom and culture).
A part of this very special experience was an excursion to Avoca beach to Bungul on the sand, as would have been done on Country in North East Arnhem Land. The importance of this experience is for the Developing Artists to understand and feel the connection to the earth and how this interaction transforms the dance.
Although it is much harder to Bungul on soft sand, it develops the technique and makes your Bungul style much stronger. For many of the Developing Artists, this is the first opportunity for them to get a sense of ceremony and what dancing on Country feels like. It’s extremely rewarding to see this transformation of connecting song, dance and country and feel everything come together as a whole.
Our dream is to one day have our own Bungul ground at NAISDA so we can practice our traditional dances how they would be culturally be done if performed on Country.
Frances Rings, NAISDA Head of Creative Studies