What's On


Joel Bray Dance & Chunky Move

Presented in Season 2 2022

World Premiere
Commissioned by Chunky Move
Presented by Arts House, Chunky Move and Joel Bray Dance

Friday 2 – Saturday 10 December, 2022 
Preview: Fri 2 Dec, 7pm 
Sat 3 Dec, 7pm 
Sun 4 Dec, 5pm 
Wed 7 – Sat 10 Dec, 7pm 

1hr 30mins

View the program here

Tactile Tour and Audio Described performance Sun 4 Dec, 5pm.
Personal describer guides available for meet & greet on arrival and one-on-one live descriptions of the performance. 

Yarning Circle
Wednesday 7 December, post-show

Duration 45 mins, Free for all ticket holders

Join choreographer Joel Bray and members of the Garabari creative team for a yarn facilitated by Bebe Backhouse, as they chat about the process of creating the work and their experiences collaborating with Elders and community on Country in Wagga Wagga.

Pay if you can $35
Standard $20
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.

Smoke effects, haze, eucalyptus scent, dynamic lighting, loud and low frequency sounds and droning. 

This is a roving performance with moments of invited participation. The audience will move through the performance space, including occasional procession to different levels. A wheelchair lift and priority seating will be available for those who require. If you’re like to discuss your access requirements please contact Box Office on 03 9322 3720 or email: artshouse@melbourne.vic.gov.au 

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Visual Rating 50%
Assistive Listening
Audio description
Wheelchair Accessible
Assistance Animal
Quiet Space Available
Companion Card

Plunge into the swirling depths of a new civic ritual by Joel Bray. 

Bodies, light and sound entangle and loop to reveal hidden meanings in a reimagined doof inspired by ancient garabari (Corroboree).

Across the globe, First Nations cultures have harnessed the enduring power of rituals to transmit knowledge. Countless generations have undergone rites of passage that have left them changed – closer to others, and more attuned to themselves.

By returning to these unchanging rituals, we are changed as we grow in wisdom and stature in the community.

Garabari draws from this rich well of meaning to create a celebratory dance work that plugs you into this wellspring of energies.    

Created by Australian dance’s fast-rising star Joel Bray, and supported by the Tanja Liedtke Foundation as Chunky Move’s inaugural Choreographer in Residence, Garabari has been crafted in close collaboration with the Wiradjuri community of Wagga Wagga.

Garabari features lavish costumes by Wiradjuri fashion designer Denni Francisco, driving beats by Byron Scullin and otherworldly lighting by Katie Sfetkidis.

This ambitious work invites you to join five Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers to gather, to listen and to share the beat.

“There is so much to enjoy in this radical act of queer remembering.” – Andrew Fuhrmann, Sydney Morning Herald, on Considerable Sexual License

“Bray confronts and confounds, leaving us energised, eroticised and contemplative all in one. It’s a heady brew.” – Nicola Dowse, Time Out, on Considerable Sexual License

“Bray is an engaging innovative performer – his new work is visually dynamic, ostentatious and bursting with fresh and scintillating energy and ideas.” – Flora Georgiou, Stage Whispers, on Considerable Sexual License


Artist Statement

As the world teeters on the precipice of ecological catastrophe, we have to find very different ways of doing and being. Western imperialist capitalism has failed and we as a species are frantically casting about for alternatives. It comes as no surprise to me and my community that many of those alternatives were here all along, coded into the wisdom of First Nations law, relations with Land and Water and delicate kinship structures. Here, on this continent, we tinkered and refined these for tens of thousands of years, finding a way to live in harmony with Place and People. And to hand down this wisdom from generation to generation, we developed sophisticated ways of congregating, celebrating and sharing Ceremony.

These Corroborees recurred and as we grew in stature in the knowledge hierarchies of our Tribes, from youngsters, to novices, to initiates, to elders and songmen and women, we gently peeled back the infinitely deeper layers of meanings. As we re-encountered each other in these rituals, we learnt and shared the secrets and the secret languages. This meant no-one ever learnt anything before they had the character and experience to bear that knowledge.

Garabari is not the recreation of any specific such ceremony. Instead, it is an imagined, shared, civic ritual that celebrates this genius coded into all First Nations Corroborees of this continent.

- Joel Bray

About the Artists

Naarm-based Joel Bray is a proud Wiradjuri man who has danced in Europe and Israel with Jean-Claude Gallotta, Kolben Dance, Machol Shalem, FRESCO Dance Company, Roy Assaf and Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor, and in Australia with Chunky Move.

Joel’s intimate dance-theatre encounters in unorthodox spaces spring from his Wiradjuri heritage, and use humour to engage audiences in rituals about sex, history, trauma and healing. His experimental work challenges white audience expectations of Aboriginal performance and blur the colonial silos of art genre.

His works Biladurang, Dharawungara, Daddy, Considerable Sexual License and I Liked It, BUT have toured to the Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Midsumma, Auckland, LiveWorks and Dance Massive Festivals, and to the Arts Centre Melbourne and Canberra Theatre Centre.

Joel was the 2019 National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow and this research into Ancient Wiradjuri ceremonial practices continues, in collaboration with Wiradjuri elders, to inform all of Joel’s work. Joel is the inaugural Chunky Move Choreographer-in-Residence, a member of the Melbourne Fringe Board and was a 2020 Sydney Dance Company New Breed choreographer. Joel is currently making a multi-channel video work commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia called Giraru Galing Ganhagirri (The Wind Will Bring the Rain).

Chunky Move creates bold, visually striking and genre defying dance works. These works are experiments that merge the body with other forms, explore new ideas and materials and respond to different spaces and contexts. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Antony Hamilton and Executive Director Kristy Ayre, Chunky Move plays a crucial role in driving the artform of dance forward in Australia and beyond. Artists and audiences are at the heart of our company, expressed in our dense program of major works, commissions, residencies, workshops and public classes. Our collaborations, partnerships and projects aim to extend artform influence in the public realm and increase the visibility of contemporary dance as an everyday artform.


Choreographer/Director: Joel Bray
Performers: Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Tra Mi Dinh, Mason Kelly, Amelia Jean O’Leary
Understudy: Karlia Cook
Project Elder: Uncle Christopher Kirkbright
Sound & Music: Byron Scullin
Lighting & Projection Designer: Katie Sfetkidis
Screen Video Production: NON Studio
Costume Designer: Denni Francisco
Song written, translated and performed by: Uncle Christopher Kirkbright and Letetia Harris
Dramaturg: Luke George
Collaborating Elder: Uncle James Ingram
Community Engagement Coordinator: Visual Dreaming
Stage Manager: Lucie Sutherland
Assistant Stage Manager: Erin O'Shea
Rehearsal Director: Rachel Coulson
Costume Fabricator: Fiona Holley
AV Programmer/Operator: Alex Nguyen
Lighting Programmer/Operator: Adelaide Harney

Supported by
Garabari is supported through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative, the Australian Government through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program and through the Australia Council for the Arts, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, BlakDance through BlakForm, the Besen Family Foundation, Creative Partnerships Australia through MATCH Lab, and Eastern Riverina Arts.

Joel Bray is supported by Chunky Move and the Tanja Liedtke Foundation through the Chunky Move Choreographer In Residence program. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

Image Credit: Jeff Busby

Image Description: A photo of three Indigenous dancers side-by-side with their eyes closed, against a black background. Dark vertical stripes are projected across their faces and bare skin. 

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