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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 11:10 GMT
Aborigines' Greek dance takes off
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Zorba dancers pictured on YouTube
The Zorba dance interpretation has had more than 80,000 hits
A group of young Aboriginal performers from Australia's Northern Territory has come up with a novel way to beat unemployment - Greek dancing.

Their unique interpretation of Zorba The Greek has become a hit on the YouTube website.

The 10 young men performed the dance dressed in loincloths.

Offers are now flooding in for the dance troupe - called the Chooky Dancers - to perform at festivals across Australia.

Their unusual take on Zorba The Greek has thrust them into the international limelight.

The short film was recorded before a small but enthusiastic audience in a sports hall in Arnhem Land, a traditional tribal area in the Northern Territory.

Avoiding boredom

The 10 young men are barefoot and dressed only in loincloths and ceremonial paint. Their performance is captivating.

It is an enchanting mix of cultures - the ancient ways of indigenous Australia have been mixed with music from a famous European film of the 1960s.

The Chooky Dancers are Yolngu people from Elcho Island, which lies off the coast of Arnhem Land.

Community elders believe they are important role models for other Aborigines, whose communities face high levels of unemployment and ill health as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Their project began as a way of keeping fit and of staving off boredom, but job offers have begun to pour in for the dance troupe.

They have been invited to music festivals around Australia, including a prestigious event in the nation's capital Canberra.

Their Zorba dance has also been screened many thousands of miles away in a public square in Greece.

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