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DanceRites 2023 Free event

25 – 26 November 2023

On the Forecourt

First Nations

DanceRites, Australia’s national First Nations dance competition, returns bigger and better than ever at Bennelong Point, a First Nations meeting place for tens of thousands of years.

Join hundreds of performers on the Forecourt for this free festival of live dance, music and community that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Celebrating First Nations dance and culture

Since its inception in 2015, more than 1300 participants from 95 dance groups have joined this hallmark event that showcases the richness and diversity of First Nations culture.

Now returning after a four year hiatus, DanceRites is back for its biggest celebration yet with 25 groups participating across two categories of ‘Cultural Dance and Song Cycle’, where groups will share their local storytelling and language, and a second optional ‘Wildcard’ category for groups to showcase their unique style.

Witness the powerful coming together of traditional customs and contemporary culture, as hundreds of First Nations dancers from more than 30 nations and clans around Australia perform on the Opera House Forecourt.

Event Sponsor

Harbour Trust


Thank you to Event Sponsor Sydney Harbour Federation Trust for their generous support of DanceRites, providing accommodation for dance groups on Cockatoo Island / Wareamah.

Thank you to our DanceRites Donors for their continuing support of the DanceRites Travel Fund since 2015, in particular, Jane Kift, The Alexandra & Lloyd Martin Family Foundation, Arrow Collective and Janne Ryan, Canny Quine Foundation, and Bronwyn Simons.

A very special thank you to Yuwaalaraay Wirringgaa artist Lucy Simpson for the creation of our DanceRites artwork.


Watch the trailer

DanceRites judging panel

Other information

4 - 31 Oct 2023 Experiences

Whispers: A Monumental Public Artwork by Quandamooka artist Megan Cope

During October, to mark the occasion of the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary, Cope will install a series of monumental site specific sculptures that honour Tubowgule’s pre-settlement history while considering the environment’s fragility.

2 - 4 Nov 2023 Opera


Sibyl is a rich sensory experience melding exquisite music, powerful vocals, and compelling visuals from visionary South African artist William Kentridge. The evening of two parts begins with The Moment Has Gone, a film with live score, followed by Waiting for the Sibyl, a chamber opera featuring nine performers.

20 Oct 2023 Contemporary Music

Bark of Millions

Featuring 54 new original songs inspired by queer idols throughout world history. A world-premiere hybrid work from renowned artist Taylor Mac, and performed by a global ensemble of queer artists. Join the celebration of queer history on the Concert Hall stage for this epic performance.

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