Road to the Stamping Ground

Travel notes by Jiří Kylián

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Program notes

Choreographer Jiří Kylián filmed the documentary Road to the Stamping Ground at the 1980 Tribal Dancers gathering at Groote Island, Australia.

Footage contains scenes from a spirited group dance inspired by aboriginal rites.

In the film, Kylián, who serves as both artistic director and principal choreographer of the Nederlands Dans Theater, explores the festival participants' verbal and nonverbal forms of communication.

The tribes involved in the annual gathering have no common native language and can only communicate in basic English. Kylián points out that each tribe brings with them traditional dances from their local areas, and through movement or stamping, finds a way to share their mystical experiences with other tribes. These aboriginal people believe that dance ensures the spiritual well-being and social cohesion of community life.

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