The comic ‘Chooky’ dance broke from the largely traditional performances at the three-day, biennial event attended by around 5000 people.
Dressed in funky outfits the students performed their own version of the contemporary Indigenous dance.
The ‘Chooky’ became a worldwide hit when a group from Arnhem Land recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube.
John Morgan, a parent who helped coach the dance troop, told the crowd: “We’d pay respects to the traditional owners of this land.
This act is breaking with the traditional performances you have seen up to now. It is a comedy act and very different.
It is with no disrespect that we perform this dance.”
Onlooker Nicole Hunter, from Cairns, said it had a very different feel to other festival performances.
“I was looking at the crowd and everyone loved it.
It was fantastic,” she said.
A Shalom group also performed traditional dances from north-east Arnhem Land.
Dancer Meryl Nyikalawuy, a 17-year-old Shalom student, said, “I’ve never danced the ‘Chooky’ in public before so it was a bit difficult.
“The crowd enjoyed the performance and it gave me a big lift when I heard them cheering.
“I loved the festival and I’ll definitely come back.”
Sixteen-year-old Shalom dancer, Anthony Pascoe, said the performance felt great.
“The crowd’s reaction gave us all more energy.
“Dancing is a big part of our culture and it’s a great way to keep fit and stay healthy,” he said.
Shalom College Principal, Steve Thomson, said the trip to the festival had been a great success and wonderful education
for students, parents and staff .
“Attending the Laura Festival helped us to build toward Shalom’s NAIDOC celebration.”
The NAIDOC celebration was held on 9 September at their main campus in Condon, Townsville.
This article was originally printed in Shalom News
For more information visit www.ccdeu.org.au
Photo : Shalom students dance at the Laura Festival. Photo by Wayne Quilliam Photography and courtesy of Shalom News