About Us

The AHA Story

Eleven awards correspond to each year of Alana’s life

At this unique & prestigious event – eleven little girls & eleven boys present a red rose to eleven Junior & eleven Supreme finalists. Finalists from ‘Junior Scholars’ & ‘Supreme Awards’ sections each receive awards to further their careers in New Zealand or overseas. Scholarship awards are also offered to selected semi-or quarter finalists.

Continued support from the dance community throughout the world has escalated the prize pool to a total of $460,000 including cash awards, international training scholarships & travel grants. 

This is a wonderful tribute to a dedicated & talented 11yr old dancer. Alana was taken before she could reach her goal but would have wanted to help other dancers reach their goals.

Promising ‘Honours’ student ALANA HAINES was tragically killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve 1989 at the age of 11, just one day after performing to 1500 at a 2ZB ‘Buzz O Bumble’ show in Wellington. Other dancers responded with donations & fundraising efforts to support a trust fund in Alana’s name.

Every 2yrs since 1991, the AHA Awards has provided young ballet dancers a ‘Career Platform’ to compete on an international level for cash awards & international scholarships. The event spans 5 days & many months of preparation.

Finalists often go on to WIN in world famous events such as Genée & Prix de Lausanne in Europe, YAGP New York or join international companies – indicating the exceptional standard of dancers presented at the AHA Awards.

We began with 62 entries & $6,000 total cash awards & now it is the largest in Australasia. International recognition & support has enabled this unique event to flourish.

Timeline

1991

The first prestigious biennial event in Wellington

2005

A Junior section for 11-13yr olds was introduced.

2007 - 2011

Events were held in Auckland.

2011

20th Anniversary - the prestigious jury included stars of ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ movie. Ongoing fund introduced for financial support to Supreme Finalists for 2 yrs post event.

2013

Back to Wellington with an exceptionally high standard from the males.

2015

Over 400 contestants competed for over $300,000 cash awards & World Class International Scholarships. All scholarship recipients received airfare grants from AHA Awards to attend their scholarships if out of their own country.

2017

600 contestants vied for $400,000 awards with additional world class scholarships & additional day added.