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The Ballet Academy

Come and be inspired by the joy of dance

The Ballet Academy

At The Ballet Academy we provide enjoyable and informative classes, resulting in a balanced education in dance.

The Ballet Academy is responsible for training students from beginners to pre-professional level in technique, discipline, artistry and ethics. The lessons include dance and also dance related subjects that reflect the needs of the present dance market.

Another factor of this training is the opportunity to perform. The Ballet Academy offers all students the chance to experience the thrill of live performance. Students perform, from the age of three, in at least one show per year.

During 2013, The Ballet Academy entered team competitions at the Christchurch Competitions and won both Fancy Teacher Trophy for most accumulated points in Ballet/National Character and co-shared the Fancy Teacher Jazz/Contemporary Trophy.  Trophies for placing 1st for Ballet Team, 1st for Contemporary Team, 1st for National Character Team. 1st for both National Character Costume and Most Beautiful Tutu over entire Competition season were also won.

The Ballet Academy also danced in Coca Cola Christmas In The Park in 2013 in front of tens of thousands of people, an amazing experience.

Melissa Jarman A.B.B.O (Distinction), 

NZAMD (Distinction Solo Seal)

Melissa has passed all Jazz syllabi including Professional Solo with either Honours or Distinction and finished her Ballet syllabi training at Advanced level with the Royal Academy of Dance. 

She has been very involved in Christchurch Productions including: “A Chorus Line”, “Westend to Broadway” 1and 2, Starry Nights, “La Traviata”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Sweet Charity”, to name a few.

Melissa is an ex-member of the Southern Ballet Company, where she was a full-time dancer and performed many roles including Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, the Bluebird from Peter and the Wolf and Peasant Pas Soloist in Giselle.  Later on she took up a position as full-time tutor of the Junior Ballet school and set up the Jazz school.

She is also an ex-member of a corporate cabaret company named “Chante et Danse” which specializes in high energy song and dance routines and performed in the contemporary company "Scrambled Legs". In 1997, Melissa placed 2nd in the New Zealand Jazz Nationals, the first South Islander to be awarded a top three placing for many years.

She finished a contract with P & O Australia, dancing onboard the cruise ship, "Pacific Sun", in their Production Shows, in April 2005.  The "Artemis" Cruise Ship for P & O UK was a highlight of her performing career, performing in their eight Production Shows, including being awarded the Solo performance in “Faabaaulous”. 

Melissa has been fortunate to have had hard working students during her 25 year teaching career, with students dancing overseas at Disneyworld Tokyo, in Cabaret-Style shows touring Greece and Cyprus and students being accepted into both full-time Ballet schools in New Zealand and Performance schools in Australia.  One of her students has also been accepted to the New Zealand School of Dance for the Associate programme in Contemporary Dance during 2014 and 2015 and offered a place at the prestigious  Joffery Ballet School in New York.

She is a mother of a three year old and five year old who also love to dance around the house and they keep her life balanced and fun.  Melissa has always specialised in both shy and energetic children, providing an environment of learning that ensures every student can reach their full potential.

Melissa has a passion for dance which she hopes to pass on to the next generation of dancers and dance teachers.


Jessica commenced her dance training at the age of 7yrs under the tutelage of Melissa Jarman.  She trained in Ballet, Jazz and Hip-Hop Dance styles and always achieved top marks in her exams.  Jessica has performed in a number of dance shows including "Peter Pan", "Aladdin" and "Sleeping Beauty" as well as lead roles of Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz" and The Witch in "Hansel and Gretel".  

She loves to inspire the students ensuring they all have a wonderful time while learning the technique and performance aspects of dance.  Jessica works as a full time Dance Tutor for all genres at The Ballet Academy.


Laura began her dance training at the age of 8 with Melissa Jarman, taking classes in jazz, ballet and hiphop. She performed a number of lead roles in her time as a student, including Wendy in ‘Peter Pan’, Hansel in ‘Hansel and Gretel’, and the Lilac Fairy in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. She was also a member of the Ballet Academy team that performed at Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, still a highlight of her performing career! 

At the age of 16 she began training as a junior tutor, taking preschool and junior ballet and jazz classes, and ever since she has loved being a part of her students’ dance journeys. She always brings an enthusiastic energy to her classes, and believes in making dance class a safe space to learn, work hard and most importantly, have fun.

In 2014 she moved to Sydney to train full-time at Ettingshausens Pro, where she learned from leading industry professionals in all styles of dance and earned her Certificate IV in Dance. Since then she has worked professionally overseas in touring show teams in Greece and Cyprus, the highlight of which was being appointed dance captain for Top Dog Entertainment in Paphos. She has also performed in many local shows including as Cha Cha in ‘Grease’ for the Kirwee Players, ‘Spamalot’ with Showbiz Christchurch and at various events with The Entertainment Company. Most recently she was a showgirl in the ‘Diamond Dream’ show in China. 

In between overseas jobs, she loves returning to her second home at The Ballet Academy, where she feels privileged to share her knowledge, experience and passion for dance with her students.


Meg Stuthridge commenced her dance education with Melissa Jarman at the age of 9 training in Ballet, Jazz, hip-hop and Contemporary. Meg has attained the highest mark in every exam she has sat also gaining special performance and technique awards from her examiners. In 2014 Meg was awarded by the American Jazz Dance Affiliation the highest mark at Advanced 1 level in the country.

She has been competing in all styles at dance competitions since she was 10. At the British Ballet Organisation (BBO) competitions in Wellington Meg went on to make it into the Senior final where she ended up in second place overall. At the Phoenix dance workshop in 2016, Meg was awarded one of 6 return scholarships out of a pool of 300 dancers. 

Meg was accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) Junior Associates programme in wellington for 3 consecutive years as a contemporary major. Through NZSD Meg was also selected into a contemporary programme in Auckland for dancers 16yrs +. 

Meg has also been accepted as a Contemporary/Jazz trainee into a 4 year full-time course at the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. She has recently been over in New York and danced full-time for 3 weeks with them, gaining lots of knowledge to bring back and share with her students.

She has been employed by Silhouette Adagio Dance Company where she performed in various corporate events, festivals etc. A highlight performance in her career was dancing in Christmas in the Park with a competition group taught by Melissa Jarman with The Ballet Academy.

Meg is extremely excited to be teaching the competition soloists at The Ballet Academy and help them learn the ropes at competitions. She has a passionate and inspiring approach to her teaching which ensures that her love and knowledge of dance engages dancers of all levels and ages. 


Ellen started dancing at the age of 6 and in this time she has trained in Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary, all under Melissa Jarman. Ellen has participated in many shows including Christmas in the park!!  She is bubbly and hardworking who loves to help others to perform the best they possibly can.  Ellen shares a love for the performing arts and can not wait to share this with the students.  She is an amazing Relieving Dance Tutor with The ballet Academy.


Amy commenced her dance career with Melissa Jarman at the age of six.  She began her training in Jazz and then added Ballet to her repertoire to increase her knowledge of dance.

Amy is excited to nurture and grow the love of dance within each student she teaches.

She specialises in teaching the younger students, her bubbly personality keeping them engaged and inspiring them to achieve their utmost potential.  Amy works as a Dance Tutor Reliever for The Ballet Academy.