Videos of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Dancing from Djarragun College, Australia

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Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Dancing at Djarragun College

Djarragun College is a school with mainly indigenous students (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander), about 24 kilometres south of Cairns, the main town of Far North Queensland. For ten years, since its beginning in 2001, it had a great reputation. Its students, ranging from Preschool age until post Year 12, were very keen to learn and perform their traditional cultural dances and became a very popular feature of the school.

Mer Island Boys dance
Murray Island Dancers
Boigu Island Dancers
Murray Island Djarragun Dancers
'Silent dance' and 'Abua' Djarragun Dancers
Murray island Djarragun Dancers
Djarragun Junior Girls
Djarragun Junior Boys
Djarragun Junior Dancers
Djarragun Senior Dancers
Djarragun Junior Boys
Djarragun Junior Girls
Djarragun Senior Boys
Djarragun Senior Girls
'The Five Stars' Top Western boys
Djarragun boys Aboriginal Dance
Murray Island Shark Dance
Saibai Island Dance
Boigu Island Dances
Djarragun College Aboriginal Dancers
Dances from Boigu Island
'Silent Dances' from Mer (Murray Island)
Girl's dance from Murray Island
'Maumatang' war dance from Boigu Island

The first dance groups were formed by students from Murray Island (or Mer) in the eastern Torres Strait Islands, guided by their elders. Senior students' dance groups were soon followed by the younger kids that were, if possible, even more enthusiastic performers. This was followed by dance groups from the other islands, especially the Top Western Islands of Boigu and Saibai.

The Djarragun College Torres Strait Islander dancers performed contemporary social dances, in which the costume for the men nowadays includes a white singlet and “lap-lap”, wraparound cloth, accompanied by drums and harmonious singing. There was traditional chanting as well, accompanying the traditional “Kab Kar” or just drumming as in the fast “Silent Dance”. They performed during festivities in the school, like the Awards ceremonies at the Student's Graduations and the official opening of new additions to the school campus. They were also often asked to perform at venues around Cairns. And to top it, in 2008 they were invited to perform in Abu Dhabi and Dubai by the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates!

Eventually the Djarragun College Aboriginal dancers also established themselves at the school and developed a dance routine depicting various traditional activities and “shake-a-leg dances”, to the tune of didjeridu and clapsticks.