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Arpaka Dance Company secures place at Darwin Festival

Torres Strait dance team Arpaka Dance Company from St Pauls Community on Mua Island is set to perform at the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair during the Darwin Festival.

Held every August, the Darwin Festival celebrates 40 years in 2019 with a program of outdoor festivities that includes the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair from 8-11 August.

The Arpaka Dance Company’s performance at the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Darwin Festival is made possible with support from the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) through the Torres Strait Dance Strategy.

In place since 2011, the Torres Strait Dance Strategy initiative supports the development and promotion of local dance by coordinating opportunities for selected teams to attend major national and international events, including the Darwin Festival, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, WOMADelaide and Henley Festival in the United Kingdom.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the TSRA’s Culture, Art and Heritage Programme has been working closely with event coordinators to present these opportunities.

“Every year the initiative receives high interest from dance teams across the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula region,” Mr Stephen said.

“This year we are proud to support the Arpaka Dance Company to participate and showcase Torres Strait culture.

“The Arpaka team have been proudly showcasing Torres Strait culture, song and dance since 2003.

“They have also graced both national and international stages, including tours of France and the Solomon Islands.”

“These Indigenous festivals are internationally acclaimed events and I congratulate Arpaka Dance Company on their successful bid to represent our region.”

The Arpaka Dance Company, which has a team of 20 singers and dancers, are scheduled to perform in Darwin on Friday 9th and Sunday 11th August.

Working under the guidance of artistic director and former Bangarra Dancer Dennis Newie, Arpaka Dance Company have previously performed at events such as Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, WOMADelaide, Festival of Pacific Arts and the Yiramboi First Nations (Melbourne) Indigenous Arts Festival.

The TSRA recently supported another Torres Strait dance team, Muyngu Koekaper, from Saibai Island to participate and perform at the 2019 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair attracts thousands of visitors from across Australia and overseas and offers a great opportunity to connect with the art and culture of our region.

Whilst selected outside of the Torres Strait Dance Strategy application process, the TSRA Culture, Art and Heritage team were pleased to use the opportunity to support another local dance team.

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