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What is Dance Rites?

Dance Rites is Australia’s national Indigenous dance competition which aims to ensure important cultural knowledge including language, dance, skin markings and instruments is shared from one generation to the next. 

Registrations are now open for Dance Rites 2017, in which a gathering of dance groups from across the nation will come together to share their traditional culture and compete for a $20,000 prize. 

The winners will also have the opportunity to perform at Homeground 2018. The runner up will receive a prize of $5,000, and the group with the highest scored Wildcard Dance will receive a prize of $3,000.

Dance Rites celebrates the continued cultural dance practices of Australia’s first peoples. The competition is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who have or would like to develop a dance group. Each group will present a welcome and farewell dance, one of which must include a chant in local language. The third dance is to be your group’s Wildcard Dance. This dance can be a traditional dance or a fusion piece combining traditional moves with contemporary sounds. 

Dance Rites is a free,  public, outdoor celebration of First Nations culture.

Presented by Sydney Opera House


Dance Rites. Image: Joseph Mayers

Registrations now open

Registration for the competition is now open and will close at midnight on Monday 25 September 2017 AEST. 

1.       Download the info sheet and registration form here or contact the Dance Rites team on +61 407 535 111 or via and a registration pack can be mailed to you.

2.       Complete the form and include registration fee payment details. 

3.       Return the form to Sydney Opera House, via email to or post to Dance Rites, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, NSW, 2000.

On receiving your registration form the Dance Rites team will contact you to provide further information and support. We can provide fundraising ideas, workshop opportunities and logistical support. 

Dance Rites 2017 will take place on Sunday 26 November, 2017.

Dance Rites 2017 Donors

We are especially grateful to our Founding Dance Rites Donors (*) for their commitment and ongoing generosity.

* Founding Dance Rites Donor  ^ Creative Music Fund Investor


Alexandra Martin
The Penn Foundation ^
Crispin Rice *
Janne Ryan *^ 
Brook Turner *

Inner Circle of Friends

Annette Adair *
Shar Adams ^
Albert Fisher Family Trust *^
Rojé Augustin and Tom Donald
Michael & Janie Austin *^
Annabelle Chapman *^
Anne Coombs and Susan Varga *^
Natalie Cootes-McBryde ^
Shamal and Kate Dass ^
Ryissa Fogarty *^
Galina Kaseko and Sam Burshtein
Jane Kift *
Tohsak Mahaworasilpa
Agnes Matrai *
Jean McPherson
Lisa-Marie Murphy and Nick Fletcher ^
Jenny Newel
Martin Portus *^
Lindy Ryan ^
Anne Schlebaum
Regal Health Group *^
Bronwyn Simons *^
Susan Spencer *^
Tom Tansey
Helen Trinca ^

Sydney Opera House acknowledges the generous support of the Creative Music Fund, Dance Rites Foundation Partner.

Frequently Asked Questions

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