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Dream Come True For Top Ballet Scholar


Dream Come True For Top Ballet Scholar

New Zealand's top ballet scholarship has been awarded to 19-year-old Adriana Harper, securing her a place in the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) for 2005.

The Auckland-born dancer was awarded the $20,000 Todd Corporation Scholarship at last night's New Zealand School of Dance graduation ceremony in Wellington.

The scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate from the school. It will contribute to Adriana's salary for her first year with the RNZB.

A one-time Coromandel farm girl, Harper travelled to Thames for her first ballet lesson in the back room of her teacher's house. "I was four at the time. We jumped around like animals and I wore a red tartan skirt and white blouse, not a blue leotard like the other girls, because my mum thought it would be a one-off."

Fifteen years on, the tutu-clad dancer is excited to be joining the company she grew up in awe of. "I remember the company visiting Thames one time on their road tour. It was so funny, they were trying to fit on such a tiny stage. I thought: 'I want to be up there.'"

The RNZB's newest recruit will get to do just that. Harper's first season, New Zealand Post Tutus On Tour, takes ballet to 49 centres off the beaten track - including Thames - in February and March next year.

"I'd like to thank the Todd Corporation for making my dream come true," says Harper.

"I'm excited to be working with the company I've watched since I was a little girl, and I'm proud to continue the tradition of keeping ballet alive in the community," she says.

The scholarship win caps off a big year for Harper. In August she was awarded the Royal Academy of Dance Solo Seal and the following month she got engaged to Lance Riley of Footnote Dance Company.

John Todd, Chairman of the Todd Corporation, says the corporation is pleased to continue its sponsorship of ballet with the scholarship. "Adriana upholds the school's fine artistic achievements of producing outstanding dancers for the world of ballet."

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