National Award Win a 'Blessing' for Woori; Town Combats Youth Crime with Culture, Soon to Be Showcased on International Stage

The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia), November 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

National Award Win a 'Blessing' for Woori; Town Combats Youth Crime with Culture, Soon to Be Showcased on International Stage


Byline: Michelle Gately michelle.gately@capnews.com.au

Dance Rites

A national Indigenous dance competition which aims to pass cultural knowledge from one generation to the next

Winners: Kulgoodah Dancers from Woorabinda

Runners up: Q Town Mura Kebile dancers from the Torres Strait

Wildcard award: Allkumo dancers from Coen, Cape York

TWO months ago Woorabinda was a town in crisis.

There were daily break-ins, reports of vandalism and community concerns over a failure to address the real problems with children instead of a roundabout through the justice system.

Now the town is making national headlines, but this time it's for the right reason as they celebrate an enormous cultural achievement.

Following a crisis meeting in October, the community decided bringing culture back to the daily lives of Woorabinda's young was the way to combat the growing crime issues.

The solution was found in the town's dance troupe, which was started by Joe Adams in the late 1980s.

Woorabinda man and professional performer Andrew Toby told The Morning Bulletin the elders of the town rounded up the kids and teens straight away and took them to the corroboree grounds where they started to pass on the key lessons of the Kulgoodah Dancers: look, listen, learn and respect.

Andrew was invited to work with the dancers, bringing a range of professional skills he's

also employed when

working with the likes of Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman, and Casey Donovan.

Dancers were chosen by elders and Steven Collins from the Red Cross, based on their performance in school and their respect for parents.

Offering this as a reward to the children doing well in the town was the aim of the troupe, with hopes those behaving badly would be attracted by the rewards Kulgoodah offered.

After an intense two-month training period, the Kulgoodah Dancers were ready for their biggest test: performing at the Sydney Opera House in a national competition.

Dance Rites is part of the Opera House's annual Homeground celebration of First Nations music, art and culture.

Roughly 18 groups performed in the competition, representing every state and territory.

Performing in front of thousands with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background, the dancers were greeted with a roaring crowd. …

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