Dennis Newie, also known as Dujon Niue, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and songwriter from the St Paul Community, one of two communities on the island of Moa. The 14th of 17 children, Dennis was born into a family of songwriters, learning traditional dance and music through his aunts and uncles’ classes at the local primary school.
After completing his training at NAISDA, Newie returned to the Torres Strait to care for his father. In 1988, Dennis was invited by Marilyn Miller to choreograph performances for the newly opened Jabiru Cabaret Restaurant in Cairns. 18 months later Newie and Miller returned to Sydney to join AIDT – The Company, formerly the NAISDA performing group Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre. In 1996 Newie left AIDT to join Bangarra Dance Theatre, again dancing with Marilyn Miller, as well as other ex-AIDT performers Gary Lang and Sidney Saltner.
In March 2003, Dennis and other family members formed Arpaka Dance Company Village, skilled in traditional arts, the group produces its own costumes and props and has performed at many traditional song and dance feastings and gatherings in the Torres Strait, interstate and overseas. Twelve singers and dancers perform in Kala Lagaw Ya and Miriam Mir languages. The word ‘Arpaka’ comes from the Western Island languages that translates to ‘dawning of a new day’.