NEW Zealand's top ballet scholarship has been awarded to 21-year-old Helio Lima, securing him a place with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) for 2011.
The Brazilian-born dancer was awarded the prestigious Todd Corporation Scholarship during the New Zealand School of Dance graduation ceremony in Wellington in December.
The scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate from the school. It will contribute to Helio’s salary for his first year with the RNZB.
Lima joined the company this month and is straight into rehearsals for his first season, TOWER Tutus on Tour which tours to 40 centres throughout New Zealand from February to April.
“I have only been in New Zealand for a year thanks to a scholarship from the New Zealand School of Dance and I know this is where I want to be. The Todd Scholarship now means I am able to stay and dance professionally with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, I cannot explain how happy this makes me, it’s crazy.”
John Todd, Chairman of the Todd Corporation, says the corporation is pleased to continue its sponsorship of ballet with the scholarship. "Helio upholds the school's fine artistic achievements of producing outstanding dancers for the world of ballet."
Helio’s performance in the New Zealand School of Dance’s graduation season Kiwi + Kylian was praised by Dance Europe reviewer Maggie Foyer in the international magazine’s latest issue: “As the victim Helio Lima, defined his character with a fine sense of drama and formidable technique”.
Previous winners of the scholarship, which has been awarded since 2000, include Rebecca Tait-Wagner, Marysa Dalton, Will Pratt, Hana Tipa, Rosemary Martin, Adriana Harper, Paul Mathews, Kyle Wood, Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Katherine Grange.