A Whangārei dance academy is now offering $10,000 worth of scholarships for children who want to dance but can't afford classes.

The new scholarships from Whangārei Academy of Dance and Performing Arts (WADPA) were announced at the dance school's prizegiving last week.

Holly Duder-Joy, dance teacher and owner of the academy, said she's had the idea to award scholarships for a while but was unable to fund something so large herself.

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But after a post on social media and emails, local businesses and families jumped on board to support the cause with donations totalling $10,000.

"There are so many children wanting to dance who just cannot afford dance. Because dance is an art, not a sport, we don't seem to get the same support from sponsorship or funding.

"Offering the scholarship will allow these children to create and learn in something they love, and perhaps allow current students to take up classes in different genres they can't afford to do at the moment," she said.

Duder-Joy said the scholarship applicants must demonstrate a love of dance, financial need and commitment and loyalty to WADPA.

She said any age, ability and level will be considered and each scholarship will be chosen on a case by case basis.

A $400 scholarship will be the minimum awarded and is worth one class per week for the entire year.

"This is huge for Whangārei and for dance and I'm hoping it will get bigger and bigger over the years," she said.

• Applications are open now and must be submitted to holly@wadpadance.nz by December 20. For more information on what to include visit www.facebook.com/DanceWADPA

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