Tauranga teenager Deija Vukona has won the Tauranga Dance Incorporated award to further her study in dance.
The $2000 contribution towards follows the 17-year-old’s acceptance into the New Zealand School of Dance, where she will begin full time study in 2021.
Deija says winning the award is incredible and the money will be “so helpful”.
She dreams of becoming a professional contemporary dancer, and currently practices around three hours a day.
“It’s been my dream for a long time and it’s super exciting.”
She loves the athleticism of contemporary dance, which she says has the technicality of ballet but is a lot more expressive.
“There’s a lot more to portray, and it’s a growing art form.”
Deija attends Otumoetai College and will leave a year early to pursue her goal.
President of TDI Caroline Gill says Deija is a positive contributor to local dance here in Tauranga and an aspiring role model for others.
The TDI committee decided to establish the award as a one-off as a different way to give back and support their dance community after they were unable to hold competitions and workshops following COVID-19.
Establishing the winner was a thorough process involving a panel of representatives from Creative Bay of Plenty and the Performing Arts Competitions Society of New Zealand.
In a statement, Tauranga Dance Inc. says they have no doubt that the combination of her passion and dedication will see her succeed in her goal of becoming a professional contemporary dancer here in Aotearoa New Zealand.