What's On


Joel Bray Dance & Chunky Move

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

Thursday 1 – Saturday 10 December, 2022 
Previews: Thu 1 – Fri 2, 7pm 
Sat 3 Dec, 7pm 
Sun 4 Dec, 5pm 
Wed 7 – Sat 10 Dec, 7pm 

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

Smoke effects, haze, strobe lighting.

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

Joel Bray and Chunky Move invite you to gather in a contemporary dance celebration inspired by corroboree 

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 corroboree inspired by ancient ceremonial practices.

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,  supported by Chunky Move and the Tanja Liedtke Foundation as Chunky Move’s inaugural Choreographer in Residence, Garabari has been crafted in close collaboration with the Wiradjuri community in and around Wagga Wagga. The work is performed by five Indigenous and non-Indigenous dancers, with a little help from you. Garabari features lavish costumes by Wiradjuri fashion designer Denni Francisco, driving beats by Byron Scullin and otherworldly lighting by Katie Sfetkidis.                               

Join the circle and dance.


Garabari - Chunky Move and Joel Bray Dance. Image by Jeff Busby

“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: Theodore Cassady, Tra Mi Dinh, Mason Kelly, Amelia Jean O’Leary, Carly Sheppard
Project Elder: Uncle Christopher Kirkbright
Sound & Music: Byron Scullin
Lighting Designer: Katie Sfetkidis
Costume Designer: Denni Francisco
Dramaturg: Luke George
Collaborating Elder: Uncle James Ingram
Community Engagement Coordinator: Visual Dreaming
Stage Manager: Lucie Sutherland

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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