Arts award winner announced 

CDU Arts Award winner Lionel Garawirrtja and The Chooky Dancers troupe

The choreographer and artistic associate of the world-renown Chooky Dancers has won this year’s Charles Darwin University Arts Award at the NT Young Achiever Awards.

Lionel Garawirrtja and The Chooky Dancers troupe are originally from Elcho Island, 550km east of Darwin, and combine traditional Indigenous and contemporary dance with comedy and impressive acrobatic skill. 

Now based in Melbourne, the Indigenous dance company has performed for audiences at major festivals and events throughout Australia, China and Taiwan.

One of Lionel’s biggest achievements was performing as part of the Beijing Television Lunar New Year Spring Festival celebrations in 2010, with an average viewing audience of around five million.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover congratulated Lionel saying he was a great Territory ambassador and role model.

“He has achieved a high level of professional recognition both nationally and internationally,” Professor Glover said.

“He is also an advocate in promoting healthy living and healthy decisions for young Indigenous people throughout the NT.”

As the winner of the Charles Darwin University Arts Award, Lionel was presented with $2000 and a trophy.

The winners of the Young Achiever Awards were announced at a Presentation Dinner on Saturday 6 April at SKYCITY Darwin. Ten Award category winners were acknowledged and the overall Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year was announced.