Emerge Dance Studios

Find your Style, St​rive for excellence

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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.


Artistic Director

2021 brings an exciting year for The Ballet Academy as Jess Ellwood takes over the reigns as the new owner and Artistic Director of the school. Jess commenced her dance training at the age of 7yrs. She trained in Ballet, Jazz and Hip-Hop Dance styles and always achieved top marks in her exams through NZAMD, BBO AND ATOD.

Jessica has performed in a large number of dance shows including "Peter Pan", "Aladdin", "Sleeping Beauty", "Alice in Wonderland" and many more, as well as performing the lead roles of Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz" and The Witch in "Hansel and Gretel".  

Realising that teaching was her true passion, after her time as a dance student she continued on as a trainee teacher. Now with over 8 years of teaching experience whilst undertaking the Certificate IV Dance Teaching and Management qualification with the ATOD, Jess has been lucky enough to have taught some very hard working students over the past 8 years who have achieved top marks in their exams, won at local and international competitions and even been accepted into The Australian Ballet School. 

Jess has gained many valuable skills and tools throughout her teaching so far, and specialises in both shy and confident children ensuring her classes combine the technical aspects of all dance genres as well as having fun whilst learning. She is really looking forward to the year ahead at The Ballet Academy and nurturing each student on their individual dance journey.

Paige Pawson

Paige began her dance training in Christchurch, New Zealand at Canterbury Ballet, where she trained in many genres and completed her British Ballet Organisation (BBO) examitntions with results in either Distinction or Honours. When she was 14 years old she started training full time dance training, completing her American Ballet Theatre examinations in Level 5 and 7.

Paige has performed many soloist roles, including The Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Snow Queen and Arabian in The Nutcracker, a soloist role in Paquita and The Summer Fairy in Cinderella. She also has been involved in performances such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Alice in Wonderland.

In 2016, she got the opportunity to travel to Prague to compete in the New Prague dance festival taking home first place in her teams Classical Ballet section. Paige also got the chance to tour the South Island of New Zealand with the Aotearoa National Youth Ballet, where she performed the soloist roles of the Shades Pas de Trois and the Water girl in the ballet, La Bayadère. In 2017, Paige was accepted into American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) Summer Intensive where she attended a three week course of ballet in Alabama. In 2019, she was accepted into ABT’s five week Summer Intensive in New York, Alberta Ballet school’s Summer Intensive and Pennsylvania’s Ballet Company Experience week where she performed Giselle. In 2020 Paige received a place as a Pre Professional in Melbourne at Victorian State Ballet, where she gained numerous amounts of knowledge and skills, to pass on to the lovely students at The Ballet Academy.

Paige has a passion for dance and is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at The Ballet Academy inspiring young students and ensuring them the best possible outcome in the dance studio and on the performance stage.

Paige works as a 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.