Victoria Together: Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group

the Djirri Djirri dancers‘ By Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group
Victoria Together: Art Place and Ideas

The Djirri Djirri dancers are the only Wurundjeri female dance group, and also Traditional Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne).

Djirri Djirri means Willy Wagtail in Woiwurrung, the language of Wurundjeri people. Our dances are created to honour our Liwik (Ancestors), Kerr-up-non (Family), Biik (Country) and animals. This dance, the ‘djirri djirri’ honours the spirit bird who gave us dance! The movements represent the passing on of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next. “Spirit’s messenger, willy wagtail, brings us this dance from long ago. He tells us to dance proud, to renew many dances, we paint our bodies to dance. We danced yesterday, we embrace many dances today.”

Many of members of the group have danced since they were young children, while others have learnt as adults. Their dances are created to honour their Liwik (Ancestors), Kerr-up-non (Family), Biik (Country) and animals. The group are all related by blood through one woman, Annie Borate, William Barak’s sister. The dancers also learn to sing in Woiwurrung language, their Mother Tongue.

TarraWarra Museum of Art acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the original custodians of the lands and waters on which the Museum stands and we extend our respect to their community, their Ancestors, and their Elders, past, present and emerging. 

This project was commisioned by TarraWarra Museum of Art for Victoria Together and is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. 

Header image: Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group (Dancers include Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung, Ngurai illum-wurrung), Djirri Djirri Ngarrga Ceremony 2021, installation view, WILAM BIIK, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2021. Courtesy of the artists. Photo by Andrew Curtis.

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