Alana Haines Australasian Awards 2013

April 1, 2013 at 7:08 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, Show Review, Sporting Event | 6 Comments
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Having gone to the final of the Genee 2012 late last year, I had to go to the Alana Haines Australasian Awards (AHAAs); so I attended the final night at the St. James in Wellington, New Zealand.

The AHAAs is probably the premier Australasian ballet competition – held every two years in memory of 11 year old Alana Haines, a promising young dancer who died in a car accident on Christmas Eve in 1989.

The format of the final was that the seniors would dance a piece chosen from a short list of classical works, then the juniors would do the same, then the seniors would do a piece of their own choice.

The knowledgeable audience gave full vent to its appreciation of some fine dancing.

The finalists were:

  • Juniors, 11 – 13 years:
    • Larissa Kiyotto-Ward
    • Sophie Smith, Queensland
    • Madison Ayton, Queensland
    • Lily Maskery
    • Talia Fidra, Queensland
    • Nae Kojima, Queensland
    • Damen Axtens
    • Bianca Scudamore, Queensland
    • Madeleine Skippen, Queensland
    • Harrison Lee
    • Narvin Turnball, Queensland
  • Seniors, 13 – 15 years:
    • Chloe Michelle Hollow, Queensland
    • Kayla-Maree Tarantolo, New South Wales
    • Bethany Cockburn, Queensland
    • Madison Whiteley, Brisbane
    • Alysha Martignago, Queensland
    • Shene Lazarus, Brisbane
  • Seniors, 16 – 21 years:
    • Emily Seymour, Sydney
    • Anyah Siddall, Sydney
    • Tirion Law Lok Huen
    • William Fitzgerald
    • Tynan Wood

The judges were:

  • Sarah Eliot-Cohen: Head of Development, Royal Ballet School (London)
  • Simon Dow: Senior Tutor, Australian Ballet School
  • Martin James: International Guest Tutor

NB: Ms Eliot-Cohen stepped in at the last moment when Gailene Stock-Norman (Director, Royal Ballet School) suffered a concussion and was ruled medically unable to fly. [Apologies if I have Sarah’s details incorrect – there being no errata to the programme.]

There was a very strong Australian contingent – 15 of the final 22 were not based in New Zealand.

Congratulations to the three winners:

  • Harrison Lee
  • Bethany Cockburn
  • Tynan Wood

I had seen Tynan Wood (and William Fitzgerald) dance before at the New Zealand School of Dance. Tynan was a worthy winner: his Siegfried – with its huge jumps and fine technical control – had the audience in raptures; and his Speaking in Tongues made the biggest connection with the audience. It should be noted that two of the top three places in the 16 – 21 year group went to New Zealand School of Dance students: Tynan, and William Fitzgeral. Anyah Siddal, who was the first runner-up is from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching, NSW, Australia. [Full results at AHAAs]

The ‘boys’ did very well: Damen Axtens and William Fitzgerald came second in their respective sections.

Sir John Trimmer, was the host for the evening, and created a supportive and appreciative atmosphere to a tense few hours. He worked the audience like a music hall master of old.

There was a 25 minute interval to allow the judges to confer and make a final decision. This dragged out to 40-45 minutes; and this gave rise to some uncalled for rhythmic clapping and stamping at times (by the adults – it should be noted, not the competitors).

Just before the interval – to give the judges even more time and to showcase some young talent – students (Jarrah McArther and Tynan Wood) from the New Zealand School of Dance did a neo-classical pas de deux (Jeffrey Tan’s Facade) and Shayarne Matheson (Winner in 2011) did a neo-classical solo.

A most entertaining and educational night.

[Apologies to the participant for any errors – there being no errata to the programme – I am forced to rely on some notes scribbled in the dark.]

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6 Comments »

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  1. I also attended the complete weekend …not missing even one dance….I did have 3 students performing who all danced to their best ability and I was very proud to see them up on stage with some of Australasias best talent.
    The whole weekend was amazing and the talent for this event only gets more exiting every year. Also the styles of the own solos change and get more athletic every year. To say though I think it is very difficult for the private sector dancers who are still at school to have to compete with full time dancers is pretty hard for them. And there being more and more Males maybe a male section and female section would be good and full time and 3 classes a week dancers separated. maybe we could get more sponsors to help out here as the scholarships money is a problem. Overall this was very well organised and very well attended.
    A dedicated Teacher……..

  2. The top three in the senior section were not all from New Zealand School of dance. The first runner up Anyah Siddall is from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy in Sydney

    • Thanks for this; I have corrected the ‘article’.

  3. Woah your blog is usually excellent i really like examining your site content. Carry on the good pictures! You’re sure, many people are seeking round for this information and facts, you’ll be able to enable them to tremendously.

  4. […] A number of finalists have previously entered the AHAAs – for example: Harrison Lee, Bianca Scudamore, and Tirion Law Lok Huem were here in 2013. […]

  5. […] as in 2013 and 2015, I went to the finals of the 2017 Alana Haines Australasian Awards (AHAAs) the other night […]


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