The theme photo for Sepia Saturday #202 prompted me to dig out some photos from 40 years ago. They're not Sepia but it does seem like a long time ago nevertheless.
I've chosen some images from that time that show the sandy beach as a dancing platform for fun and ceremony. The Yolngu dances are called bunguls (the u is pronounced as in oo in book) in that part of Australia, and the adults and children danced for fun almost daily. Someone would grab a didgeridoo or a piece of poly pipe, someone else would grab a pair of clapsticks or similar, the drone would start, the rhythm would start, the singing would start and the dancing would start. And somehow they all knew what dance to do and when to stop, without instruction.
An important aspect of the bungul is being able to flick sand from both feet as you dance and of course the beach is perfect for that.
|Children doing an impromptu bungul (dance), Elcho Island. Note the polypipe didgeridoo.|
|Teenage girls doing a bungul (dance), Elcho Island|
|Flicking the sand with feet, bungul (dance), Elcho Island|
|Adults performing a circumcision bungul, Elcho Island|
|Children decorating their bodies with surf foam.|
And finally. You have to watch this. About five years ago a group of dancers from Elcho Island (the chooky dancers) took Australia by storm when they performed Zorba the Greek dance Yolngu style. (I hope this works - I've never embedded a video before.)
You can do some more beach exploration over at Sepia Saturday.