Hitting Melbourne for Dance Massive comes Broome-based company Marrugeku about identity and decolonising the minds of young Indigenous Australians
The inspiration for Dalisa Pigram's new solo dance piece Gudirr Gudirr first came from Pat Dodson, who, as it happens, is not only 'the father of reconciliation', but also Pigram's own grandfather.
"Gudirr gudirr is this small shore bird that calls to tell us that the tide is about to turn," explains Pigram. "He felt that the work that I did in the community, teaching my language to young people at school and through the work of our company Marrugeku, trying to find new forms of storytelling, he felt this work served a similar cultural function to that little bird, warning that the tide was about to turn."
This new work is an intimate dance and video piece, a duet between the dancer and the image, exploring the near-epidemic rate of suicides among young people around the Kimberly region. It's a difficult issue, but its urgency can't be overstated. Among Indigenous children under 15, the suicide rate is more than seven times higher than among non-Indigenous children.
"I wanted to shine a light on the issue," says Pigram, "so that people will talk about it more. Because if we don't talk about it, we can't try to find answers."
Something is happening – the tide is turning – and Pigram wants everyone to know. "If we can't change the way people think about this issue, who knows what is going to happen."