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Dedication dances Holly into finalist spot

Media release:

October 11 2016

Dedication dances Holly into finalist spot

Dance doesn’t have to be performed perfectly, you just have to enjoy it says Holly Diepraam.

The 20-year-old Christchurch student is determined to open her own dance studio and keep teaching once she has finished her study for a BA in Cultural Studies.

One thing is certain – when it opens, the studio will be an inclusive place.

“I want it to be a fun and social dance class,” Holly says. “It will also be inclusive to those with disability, as I have first-hand experience in this area. It’s really important to me that everyone can experience the joy of dance.”

It is this attitude that has seen Holly named as a finalist in the Youth Spirit category at the 2016 Attitude Awards. The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with disability and chronic health.

Holly was born with congenital talipes equinovarus (club foot) on her right side. She’s had numerous surgeries - the first at six-months-old - but her passion for dancing has always kept her moving despite daily pain.

Holly began dancing at three-years-old. The increased competitiveness of dancing to perfection meant by the time she was in her teens Holly’s disability began to hold her back.

“Mentally I understood what was required from me and I could perform the move perfectly on one side, but the other side I just couldn’t,” she says. “It was disheartening and quite upsetting.”

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Holly, now aged 20, has put her love for dance into choreography and she teaches at three different dance schools in Christchurch. She choreographed her first musical at 16 and is currently choreographing ‘Hair’.

“I have always made up dances and loved teaching them to anyone who let me,” Holly says.

Holly will find out if she has won an Attitude Award at a black-tie gala on November 29 at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds.

There are eight categories in the 2016 Attitude Awards, with some new awards this year: Youth Spirit, Making a Difference, Emerging Athlete, Sporting Spirit, Spirit of Attitude, Artistic Achievement, Entrepreneur and Employer Award. The overall winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award is selected from the category winners and a People’s Choice winner and Hall of Fame inductee are also announced at the awards.

Dan Buckingham, Chair of the Attitude Trust, says: “I take my hat off to the judges for managing to narrow down the record number of nominations we had to just 24 finalists, across the eight categories. Now I’m looking forward to getting to know the finalists as we travel around the country filming with them and sharing their stories.

“Thank you to our fantastic family of sponsors who have allowed us to once again shine a light on some great Kiwis living with disabilities doing some phenomenal things.”

Dan encourages everyone to visit in early November to see short films of the finalists and to vote for the person most deserving of the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

The Youth Spirit Award is sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson. Peter Thompson, Managing Director, says Barfoot & Thompson is humbled to have the opportunity to be part of the Attitude Awards.

“As a family run business with family values it is an honour for us to again be involved with such an inspiring event. We would like to wish all finalists the very best of luck for the Youth Spirit Award. Just remember, in our eyes, you are all winners.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) returns as the principal sponsor of the 2016 Attitude Awards. Other sponsors supporting the awards are: Lion Foundation, Drake Medox, Ministry of Health, KPMG, Westpac, Manawanui InCharge, Ricoh, HealthCare NZ, Air New Zealand and NZ on Air.

ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering says ACC is proud to be principal sponsor of the Attitude Awards for the ninth year, as well as sponsor of the Supreme Award and the Employer Award categories.

“The Attitude Awards are important because they remind us that everyone benefits when we all look at what we can do, rather than what we can’t,” Mr Pickering said. “This year’s finalists have an impressive list of achievements and ACC is delighted to acknowledge New Zealanders who live life to the fullest, achieve their goals and are role models in our communities.”

For tickets to the Attitude Awards gala evening on November 29 contact Terri Cavanagh at or phone 09 378 1565.

For the latest on the Awards and the Attitude TV programme:
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Watch previous Awards footage at


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