f650c884-3a18-4bcb-b0a2-c2ad8d287b97The East Maitland Academy of Dance was founded over 50 years ago by Miss Daphne Parker. Dance was a passion in her life and she considered the students as an extension of her passion. She dedicated her life to sharing her love and joy that dance gave her and many students remember her with great fondness.

Sadly, Miss Daphne passed away in 2008. To perpetuate the memory of this inspiring individual, we have founded the Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship helps with the fees and the cost of a costume for the end of year concert.

All fund raising activities go towards supporting the Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to the student where it is obvious that dance has made a positive impact in his/her life.

2013 – Leeloo Green

Leeloo Green never crossed paths with Maitland’s former grand dame of dance.

But the fledgling ballerina represents all Daphne Parker stood for.

The young East Maitland girl is the latest recipient of the Daphne Parker Scholarship, an annual honour presented in memory of the Maitland dance legend.

“The thing I love about dance is that it’s emotional when you get to dance freely,” Leeloo said.

Leeloo, 10, started dancing five years ago at the East Maitland Academy of Dance under the tutelage of Hungarian ballet dancer Janos Szabo.

Daphne Parker – “Miss Daphne”– died in 2008 following an 18-month battle with cancer. She was 66 and had taught dance in Maitland for more than 45 years.

“Leeloo is obsessed with dance, it’s her main thing,” her mother, Marian Green, said. “And I’m thrilled she has received this scholarship. I don’t know who cried more, her or me.

“Leeloo has worked very hard and she has put in a lot of effort not only with her own dancing but helping out with the little ones as well.  And I think she has a mature sense of ownership of her role now.”

Maitland Mercury Jan 24, 2014

2012 – Alexius Horsburgh

Alexius Horsburgh doesn’t usually utter the word can’t.

Instead, when a challenge is put before her, the young dancer gives it her all.

It’s this tenacity that has awarded Alexius, 10, of Aberglasslyn, a scholarship in honour of Maitland dance legend Daphne Parker.

“Alexius started dancing in Queensland when she was three and when we came here to live she wanted to ­continue,” her mother Louise Horsburgh said.

“But she always had rhythm, even as a little one.”

So under the tutelage of Hungarian ballet dancer Janos Szabo at the East Maitland Academy of Dance, Alexius has flourished.

“Janos is so wonderful with the dancers and Alexius didn’t get this scholarship because of how refined she is as a dancer, she got it because of how far she has come,” Ms Horsburgh said.

“Alexius never says she can’t do anything, she’s not afraid to try something ­different and have a go at things that are challenging. And she just has this absolute love for dance.”

Maitland Mercury Wednesday 6th March 2013

2011 – Isabella Duck

Seven-year-old Isabella Duck likes doing ballet because it is pretty and she gets to wear tutus. But the principal of her ballet school sees a lot of talent in the youngster’s ability.

Isabella is this year’s recipient of the East Maitland Academy of Dance Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship. Academy principal János Szabó said Isabella had been really concentrating on her dancing and had grown so much in the four years she has been dancing.

“She is delightful,” he said. “She turned up one day like a little sunshine.” Mr Szabó said Isabella’s family would have to construct an extra shelf in their house for Isabella’s growing trophy collection.

Isabella, who is starting grade two this year, said she loved being able to go to ballet with her friends. “I like it because I get to wear a tutu and because it is pretty and I get to dance with the little kids and do lots of things,” she said.

This year Isabella will be focusing on ballet, jazz and contemporary. Mr Szabó said the tuition scholarship would allow Isabella to take more classes this year. The scholarship is in honour of Ms Parker who was a big part of the Maitland dance world for more than four decades.

Mr Szabó took over the school in 2008 after Ms Parker dies and started the scholarship programme the following year. “You have generations of people who grew up doing ballet because of Daphne Parker’s school of dance,” he said. “Her name was synonymous with children learning to dance.” “She was a very amazing woman, she dedicated her life for such a long time to teaching dancing”>

Mr Szabó said the scholarship was introduced to encourage students to dance – and they don’t have to want to be a professional ballerina to be in the running. “This is more about the essence of Daphne,” he said. “If the opportunity to learn about dance has given you confidence and made you grow as a person then it has done it’s job.”

by Courtney Graham Maitland Mercury Tuesday, January 24th 2012

2010 – Victoria Scott

Victoria began dance study in 2000 at the East Maitland Academy of Dance and has did her Grade 7 and Advanced Foundation examinations in 2011.

She has been accepted into the Hunter Valley School of Performing Arts for Dance into year 11 in 2012. Victoria was excited and proud to be chosen for the Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship in 2010.

2009 – Paige O’Raw

Paige was the inaugural recipient of this award.

She has poured her heart and soul into dancing. Paige began dancing with Miss Daphne at the age of four and the Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship recognises Paige’s determination to be the best.

Congratulations Paige!

Paige the ‘obvious choice’ Maitland Mercury, December 2009, EMMA SWAIN

It’s been more than a year since Maitland dance legend Daphne Parker died but Paige O’Raw still carries the love for her mentor around in her heart. Paige was four years old when she started dancing under the tutelage of “Miss Daphne” and now she has been awarded the scholarship in honour of the woman who encouraged her love of dance.

“I was so surprised when I found out I’d won the scholarship. I was speechless and I’m still on the verge of tears,” Paige, 15, said.
“This means so much to me. I feel like I have been rewarded for something I have poured my heart and soul into my whole life.”

The fledgling ballerina was awarded the scholarship following the annual East Maitland Academy of Dance concert. It was the academy’s first concert under the direction of Hungarian ballet dancer Janos Szabo.

“The scholarship is a way of keeping Daphne’s work alive and of acknowledging what she did for 46 years,” Mr Szabo said.
“We are on some kind of passage now, between the past and future, but Daphne’s passion, spirit and her soul is here and Paige was such an obvious choice for this scholarship.”

But this achievement is a bittersweet experience for the Tenambit teenager.

“Daphne was such a big part of all our lives and we still miss her very much,” Paige said.

“But Daphne has made me stronger. Watching her go through what she went through … I mean, she taught a week before she passed away. She was inspirational.”

“I believe in myself now and I never used to.”