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Tjapukai Cultural Village opens with new performers

July 29, 2013 DESTINATION No Comments Email Email

The Early Works Stage of the $12 million redevelopment of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has been completed with the opening of the revitalised Cultural Village this week.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers will join Tjapukai’s veteran performers on the new dance theatre stage as part of the tourism icon’s plan to be Australia’s leading venue to experience Indigenous culture.

Among the new faces on stage is Nancy Cook, 29, who grew up in the Cairns region learning the culture of her Torres Strait Islander father and studied contemporary dance for five years before joining Tjapukai.

Damien Ralphs, 27, whose family ties are with the Gunnai /Kurnai and Wotjaboluk people of Victoria’s Gippsland and Wimmera is a seasoned performer who studied contemporary dance for 14 years and has worked with numerous professional dance companies throughout Australia.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Chief Executive Officer Geoff Olson said Tjapukai’s experienced performers had trained the new recruits in their traditional dances so they could perform together.

“As part of the transformation of the Cultural Village, visitors will gain a greater insight into traditions like weaving, didgeridoo making and painting,” he said.

“These have been introduced alongside the hands-on activities of boomerang and spear throwing, didgeridoo playing and the bush tucker talk.

“The revitalisation to date has included a number of features designed to improve comfort for visitors such as bucket seating at the theatre and undercover all-weather access to the boomerang and spear fields.”

Mr Olson said the next stage of the redevelopment also would be planned to allow Tjapukai to remain open and continue to offer cultural experiences from different areas of the park’s extensive grounds at Caravonica, only 20 minutes from Cairns city in Tropical North Queensland.

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