Dance Rites — Australia’s First Nations dance competition — is the Sydney Opera House’s free celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island dance and cultures on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, taking place each spring. In November 2019, more than 350 performers from 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island groups celebrated the dance and culture of the first inhabitants of this land.
Dance Rites draws together performers representing nations from across the country from The Kimberleys to Far North Queensland, the Tiwi Islands, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales.
Groups travel to Sydney to showcase their unique cultures in one of the world’s most spectacular outdoor performance spaces: Bennelong Point. Formerly known as Tubowgule, Bennelong Point has been a meeting place for ritual celebration and dance for tens of thousands of years.
Each group has the opportunity to present three dances: a welcome and a farewell dance — one of which must include a chant in local language — and a ‘wildcard’ dance of the group’s choosing. These are judged by an expert judging panel for their technical skill and engagement with language, skin-markings and traditional instruments.
Find out more about the particpating groups at https://stories.sydneyoperahouse.com/danceritesguide/