Laura Quinkan Dance Festival 2021

This coming July 2nd - 4th dance troupes and spectators from all across Australia will come together for the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival to celebrate Indigenous dance, music and culture. The incredible three day event takes place in Laura (Quinkan Country), a central meeting place for people across the Cape York Peninsula. It’s an event where families meet to exchange, rejuvenate and pass on knowledge and history. The festival is organised by Ang-Gnarra Aborignal Corporation, the trustee of the traditional land of the Ang Gnarra people, the Country surrounding the township of Laura. They care for country, history and culture and are passionate about the continuation of culture through the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival (Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021).

Dancers at Laura Quinkan Dance Festival. Courtesy of Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021.

“Music and dance go together. Everybody dances – it is just in you and you do it all the time. The old people danced because it was part of their life. We do the same.” - Ang-Gnarra, 2020

Laura Dance Festival is very much a real and raw experience - the festival prides itself on upholding the lore and traditions of this ancient culture. Performers from 20 different communities, including those of Aurukun, Bamaga, Coen and the Torres Strait Islands, come together to celebrate their culture. The festival’s aim is to share stories through music, dance and cultural performances to bring Indigenous culture to a wider audience. The celebration is about passing traditions down to the next generation and sharing the vibrant culture of these communities with the outside world.

From when the festival first began in the 1980s, it has gone from strength to strength. At the last festival in 2017, 23 different dance groups performed and over 9,000 people attended from all over Australia and overseas. It is believed to be the longest running Aboriginal cultural festival in Australia (Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021).

Dancer at Laura Quinkan Dance Festival. Courtesy of Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021.

The festival takes place on a very special and sacred site: a traditional Bora ground 15kmfrom the Laura Township. Bora are ceremonial grounds where local tribes would traditionally gather for important ceremonies, which would often include dance. This isn't the only sacred site in the Laura region as the area is home to Australia's most significant collection of rock art. Quinkan Country takes its name from the spirit figures that are featured in a number of rock art galleries, located in sandstone caves. The incredible rock art sites are National Heritage Listed and are listed by UNESCO as being one of the top 10 rock art sites in the world (Ang-Gnarra, 2021). During the festival, rock art tours will be available and led by local Indigenous guides. You can find out more information here.
Dancers of all ages participate in performances. Courtesy of Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021.
This year’s program will be full of incredible dance performances and immersive experiences. On the opening day of the festival, you can catch a beautiful contemporary dance performance by Laura Youth and Children, the official handover of the Laura Dance Shield and the opening of the Cape York Arts Exhibition. On the second day, the Dance Competition will begin, and will feature judges, from nation-wide, whom are specialists in this realm of dance. You can also participate in cultural workshops such as weaving, dancing and language then witness some incredible live music when renowned Indigenous band Yothu Yindi and other local bands hit the stage. To finish up on the last day, celebrate the talented dancers at the Dance Competition finals and be a part of the Closing Ceremony. The festival is a truly authentic experience that brings together the rich beauty of dance and culture on Quinkan Country (Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, 2021).
Since 2011, Yarn has been a proud sponsor of the Laura festival. This year, we are continuing as a major sponsor through providing a full e-commerce platform for ticketing and marketing support. We strongly believe in the importance of supporting Indigenous cultural events as a way of preserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and to help showcase the strength and pride of Indigenous people to the world.
The Laura Quinkan Dance Festival plays a significant role in sharing culture and Indigenous people’s strong connection to Country. So, if you have the chance, we highly recommend attending this wonderful event as it will be an experience like no other! For more information and to buy tickets, click here.