Gudirr Gudirr calls a warning, the guwayi bird calls when the tide is turning — to miss the call is to drown. An intimate solo dance and video work performed by Dalisa Pigram, daughter of Broome. By turns hesitant, restless, resilient and angry, Gudirr Gudirr lights a path from a broken past through a fragile present and on to a future still in the making.

The production considers the legacy of Australia’s history for Aboriginal people in northwest Australia today and asks: what does it take to decolonise Aboriginal people’s minds, to unlock doors and to face cultural change? Gudirr Gudirr calls a warning to a community facing massive industrialisation on traditional lands, loss of language and major gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous wellbeing. Drawing on a physicality born of Pigram’s Asian–Indigenous identity, and in a unique collaboration with Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen and visual artist Vernon Ah Kee, Pigram builds a dance language to capture this moment in time for her people.

Venue Format
Technical Rating
Touring Party

Recommended for ages 16+ due to coarse language and adult themes (youth suicide)

Marrugeku is an unparalleled presence in Australia today, dedicated to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working together to develop new dance languages that are restless, transformative and unwavering.

Marrugeku builds bridges and breaks down walls between urban and remote dance communities, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and between local and global situations. Our works are created out of urgent and insurgent reciprocities, believing, on our watch, we face major change in Indigenous Australia and that telling stories together is one of the simplest and hardest things we can do.

Marrugeku is led by co-artistic directors: choreographer/dancer Dalisa Pigram and director/dramaturg Rachael Swain. Working together for 23 years, they co-conceive and facilitate Marrugeku’s productions and research laboratories, introducing audiences to the unique and potent structures of Indigenous knowledge systems and the compelling experience of intercultural performance. Marrugeku’s performers come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, collaborating to co-create each production. Marrugeku’s patron is Yawuru law man and national reconciliation advocate Patrick Dodson.

Marrugeku harnesses the dynamic of performance exchange drawn from remote, urban, intercultural and trans-Indigenous approaches to expand the possibilities of contemporary dance. Our productions tour throughout urban and remote Australia, to other Indigenous contexts internationally and throughout the world.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

The cross-cultural collaboration holds a unique aspect to the award-winning production, with high-profile choreographer Koen Augustijnen, from a renowned company Les Ballets C de la B, working with a Broome-based Indigenous artist, Dalisa Pigram, with Vernon Ah Kee, an acclaimed Indigenous visual artist. It engages with the themes of cultural change, disruption, continuity and displacement. A quality performance with serious intent which is couched in dance theatre, that is accessible as well as informative. As an intercultural company, Marrugeku has the attraction of reaching audiences on many levels, engaging them through visual, physical and textual language and content.

Marketing Materials

With presenters, Marrugeku will prepare a strategy to promote and market the Gudirr Gudirr tour with a view to maximising audience attendance and including:

  1. Marketing collateral to promote and engage audiences including proforma printed material, digital footage, social media ready digital assets, images and eflyers, media releases.
  2. Community-based networks, and social media links and postings to promote performances, build audiences and foster involvement in a knowledge as well as attendance level.
  3. Liaison with local Indigenous and mainstream regional media agencies to promote Gudirr Gudirr and its community engagement activities where that is appropriate.

Community Engagement

Dalisa Pigram will conduct a Q&A after each performance and, due to the nature of the content, this has been a highlight of every tour to date.

Gudirr Gudirr is a performance of a powerful, confronting work, with differing experiences for audiences. Marrugeku's geographic/cultural location make its processes of inclusion and engagement profoundly different from those of urban/regional arts practice. For this reason, the urban/semi-urban non-Indigenous audience receives the work as a powerful piece of dance theatre using 21st century techniques and imagery to enlighten society about an immediate crisis. The Indigenous audience receives it as part of a vast narrative tradition used to warn of new problems. According to a senior traditional owner at Ardyaloon (north west Kimberley) in 2015: “You look, all those kids that were there last night, they’ve seen something now that will stay with them forever. They’ve learnt new ways to tell stories using dance and songs and poems.”

Dalisa also offers skills-sharing workshops in each centre, upon request. The movement workshops will introduce participants to new processes and cultural pathways in the creation of contemporary dance.