This November, First Nations dance competition Dance Rites is set to return for its fifth instalment. The competition will grace the Sydney Opera House Forecourt over two days for a free celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance, language and culture.

Over 300 performers from around the country will descend on Bennelong Point over the weekend of November 23rd-24th, for what is destined to be an absolute spectacle.

This years professional program includes performances from:

The Narli Ensemble curated by Tura Music who will perform Kimberley Echoes – a celebration of the Kimberley, its landscapes and its people. The performance will feature didgeridoo virtuoso and singer Mark Atkins (Yamatji) and singer/guitarist Stephen Pigram (Yawuru).

DOBBY — real name Rhyan Clapman— will be bringing his mastery of drumming and rapping to the stage, to pay homage to his  Ngemba, Muruwari and Filipino heritage.

OKA, a collective lead by Stu Boga Fergie (aka DidgeriSTU) will be bringing their eclectic mix of electro beats influences spanning house, big beat, reggae-dub, roots, jazz and world music.

There will also be performances from Zaachariaha Fielding from Electric Fields, Nooky, Banula Marika of Yothu Yindi as songmen, as well as singer-songwriter’s Jacinta Tobin, and Yirrmal Marika grandson of Dr Mandawuy Yunupingu, lead singer of Yothu Yindi.

The dance groups will compete for three prizes, the winner will take home $20,000, one runner-up will receive $5,000, and $3,000 will go to the highest-scoring ‘wildcard’ dance. The Rite of Passage Award acknowledges a dance troupe’s outstanding contribution to revitalising cultural knowledge and practices.

“Dance Rites has evolved into a significant national event that celebrates First Nations cultural heritage. It’s wonderful to see the Sydney Opera House provide a national stage and meeting place for First Nations groups to come together for vital cultural exchange,” shares NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts, Don Harwin.

Entry is free, for more information head here.