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The Competition

Dance Rites 2019

Join us for the heats and finals of the Dance Rites competition as hundreds of the greatest First Nations dancers from around Australia come together to share their cultural knowledge and compete to win! 

Groups representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island nations from across the country will present three dances: a welcome and a farewell dance - one of which must include a chant in local language – and a ‘wildcard’ dance of the group’s choosing.The groups will be judged by our expert panel with the top 8 performances moving on to the Finals on Sunday evening.

On the Forecourt

Discover the Competitors

Docker River Maruku Mob
: Pitjantjantjara
Location: On the border of Northern Territory and Western Australia|

: New South Wales

Gracie’s Grannies
: Western Sydney
Meaning: In honour of Nanna Grace, the Muruwari matriarch

Jannawi Dance Clan
: Darug
Meaning: ‘With me, with you’

Kawadji Wimpa Dance Group
: Lockhart River, east coast of Cape York
Meaning: ‘Sandbeach’

Kurruru & Iwiri Dance
: Pitjantjatjara
Location: APY Lands
Meaning: ‘Circle’

Mutitjulu Maruku Mob
Nation: Pitjantjantjara
Location: Central Deserts

Of Desert and Sea
: Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri, Narungga, Yarliyandi, Adnyamathanha, Yankunytjatjara
Location: South Australia

Rina Dancers
: Lutruwita
Location: Tasmania

Swan Hill Aboriginal Dance Group
: Wemba Wemba
Location: North Western Victoria and South Western New South Wales

Tiwi Sistergirls 
: Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

URAB Dancers
: Kulkalgal
Location: Poruma Island, Central Torres Strait

: Wiradjuri
Location: Blue Mountains, Central West, NSW

Wati Kutjungka Men 
: Kukatja, Jaru, Walpirri, Nyardi
Location: Tanami Desert in Balgo, Western Australia

Yiiliwiyay-gurra Yuludarla-biin 
Nation: Gumbaynggirr
Location: Mid-North Coast of NSW
Meaning: ‘Dances the stories’

Find out more on each competitor in our Guide to Dance Rites 

A guide to Dance Rites

Your handbook for the song and dance of Australia's ancient cultures

Your handbook for the song and dance of Australia's ancient cultures



Witness the powerful coming together of traditional customs and contemporary culture, with hundreds of First Nations dancers from around Australia and performers from around the world.

Join us on the forecourt, a First Nations meeting place for thousands of years, to share in this free festival of live dance, music and community.

Find out more about Dance Rites

Frequently Asked Questions

More Dance Rites...

Indigenous Enterprise
Nov 23 & 24
Indigenous Enterprise are a professional Native American dance group, made up of champion dancers from tribes and Nations in Canada and the United States. They arrive in Sydney for Dance Rites to proudly showcase their tradition and culture through powwow dancing in a colourful feast for the eyes.
Bold Sensory
Nov 23 & 24
Rhyan Clapman, aka DOBBY, is a drapper - a rapper and a drummer. A proud Filipino and Aboriginal artist, he uses hip hop as a tool to express knowledge, culture, identity and family.
Exhilarating Bold
Nunukul Yuggera
Nov 23 & 24
Internationally acclaimed Aboriginal dance group Nunukul Yuggera prides itself on being one of the very best Australia has to offer. The winners of Dance Rites 2018, they are making a triumphant return to delight the audience with their mesmerising brand of performance. Prepare for the Dreamtime to unfold before your eyes.
Energising Moving

Dance Rites 2019 Acknowledgements

A very special thank you to Yuwaalaraay artist Lucy Simpson for the creation of the 2019 Dance Rites artwork. 

Thank you to our donors for their commitment and ongoing generosity to the Dance Rites Travel Fund.

* Founding Dance Rites Donor 
~ Sydney Opera House Idealist

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