Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival

By Brook Mitchell 26 July 2013
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Indigenous culture was on display at the Laura Dance Festival held every two years in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

THIS YEAR, OVER THE weekend of 21-23 June, some 500 performers from 20 communities across the Cape York Peninsula came together for the 20th Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival.

The festival takes place on the sacred grounds at Ang-Gnarra, 15km south of the small town of Laura, in Queensland. The event represents one of the largest gatherings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

Held every two years, the celebration is as much about passing down traditions and attitudes to the new generation as it is about sharing the culture of these communities with the outside world.

Showcase of traditional Aboriginal performance

The dances performed at Laura are not watered-down shows for tourists. For three days music plays, kids and adults dance, sing and perform, and an infectious energy cuts through the dust and heat of Laura’s sacred grounds.

In previous years, a competition was held to award the festival’s best performer. In 2013, however, the festival moved away from this contest, focusing instead on the exchange of song and dance between the communities.

The festival represents one of the best opportunities to experience Aboriginal culture, and prides itself on upholding the lore and traditions of the world’s oldest living culture.