About Us

Here at Aspire we endeavour to provide quality arts education. Through this we aim to encourage greater confidence and creative expression through dance and drama. We just love to provide opportunities, like local performances and bringing up young teachers, to our students who show great attitude, positivity, fantastic work ethic and determination in all areas of class.
We have worked hard within the school to create a family atmosphere where we aim to give every student a sense of belonging.
As teachers we strive to continuously keep inspiring ourselves to then in return inspire our students. We approach every class with a motivated and positive attitude with the hope that our passion will create a difference for every child and give them a positive arts experience.


Tammy Bennett :
Owner & Director of Aspire Arts Academy.

Tammy started Aspire in 2008 and had no idea of the demand at which began to present itself for quality performing arts tuition in Matamata and the surrounding districts.

Tammy trained as a child with Fay Harbottle in Ballet Jazz and Tap for 14 years and in Trinity College Speech and Drama with Kate Kelway . Tammy was fortunate enough to audition for and gain a spot dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Cinderella Production as a child - an experience she will never forget. She completed her major exams in RAD Ballet. After the completion of an English and Media double major degree from Waikato University, Tammy continued her perfoming arts training in Auckand. She also sat her ATCL Speech & Drama Trinity College Teachers exams at this time.

Following her training she began to teach full time as a dance teacher and drama teacher at various schools in Auckland. During this time she also began to examine dance in jazz and hip hop for the Australasian Dance Association - now Asia Pacific Dance Association. Tammy has been a dance examiner for 11 years now and still thoroughly enjoys going out to examine and being inspired by students in other schools. Tammys main passion is to not only instill and inspire performing arts excellence in students but also to encourage self confidence and self esteem through the arts. Her aim is to see potential realised in students and to train teachers to realise the depth of potenital in every student who enters the academy.

Courtney Tetlow:
Preschool Teacher
Courtney's love for dance began when she was six years old, and she has trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and tap. In 2007, Courtney completed her exams through the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance (NZAMD) and began her first year of teaching, registering as a teacher through NZAMD. Throughout her years growing and training as a dancer and later a dance teacher, Courtney performed in many stage shows and productions. She soon realised that her gifting lay in choreography and show design, and so began to pursue that area of dance, eventually winning several awards for her choreography.
Courtney began teaching at Aspire in 2011. Since 2017, Courtney has focused her energy on dance education for children under the age of five. She is passionate about creating an environment where the sense of wonder and freedom that comes from expressing yourself through dance can flourish for our youngest students.

Devon Thomas:
Hip Hop and Jazz Teacher
After many years of being a student at Aspire and assistant teaching in Hip Hop and Jazz classes, Devon Joined our team with her own classes in 2017. Devon has been dancing from the age of 3yrs and has experience in Hip Hop, Jazz and Ballet. In 2017 Devon sat her Solo Seal Hip Hop exam, completing the syllabus, and in 2018 will be sitting her Advanced 2 Jazz exam. In January of 2017 Devon attended the module 1 course for the Acrobatic Arts Association learning spotting skills and other acro dance techniques. Devon's caring nature towards all students make them love her instantly, and when put in charge of a class her passion for dance and teaching is able to shine.

Grace Kingston
Hip Hop, Jazz & Tap
Grace has had experience in many different genres throughout her years of dancing, Grace oozes her passion for dance in every class that she teaches or takes herself. She has a great ability in working with our students whom so many look up to. In 2017 Grace sat her Level 10 Hip Hop and Advanced 1 Jazz Exams. 2018 will saw her completing the Hip Hop syllabus sitting her solo seal exam, and also Advanced 2 Jazz. This year, Grace is teaching Hip Hop, Tap and Beginner Acro.

Megan Carter: Accounts Manager 
Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Acro & Lyrical Teacher

Megan is from Matamata and has been with Aspire since it started; first as a student and now assisting in the management of the academy. Megan has a background training in Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet and Gymnastics and has been dancing since she was 3. Megan has proved to develop into an excellent teacher, ensuring class is fun whilst keeping the standard very high in her deveopment of technique throughout her students. Megan is a certified teacher in AcroDance through the Acrobatic Arts Association.  Megan very successfully managed Aspire Arts for two years whilst Tammy was overseas.  Megan has been on maternity leave of late but we are excited to have her return to the studio as a teacher and accounts manager in our office.   We are all looking forward to having her back.

Lydia Louw: Public Relations and Performance Manager.
Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Adults and Invitational Teacher
Lydia has been with Aspire from the first year it started.  She has proved to be an excellent teacher with students of all ages.  Lydia has an outstanding ability with her choreography.  She is creative and very clever with her musicality and vision for a dance piece.   

Lydia is always on the look out for ways to encourage her students in her classes, she is amazing at bringing out the best in students - particularly with their confidence and performance quality.

Lydia is a very valued member of our team.

Abby Griffin


Abby is new to our Aspire team for 2019 but she comes with a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise.  Abby in her past has not only trained extensively in ballet but has been in a ballet company working professionally as a ballet dancer.  Abby is now a new mum to beautiful Bella and we are excited to have her as part of our Aspire Team.

Gabrielle Raynel:
Hip Hop, Acro & Jazz
2018 welcomes Gabrielle as our newest teacher. Gabrielle Has been a Student with Aspire from when we started in 2008. Gabby has had many years of Jazz, Hip Hop, Acro and Gymnastics training and has been assistant teaching with us since she was 15. In 2017 she sat her Level 10 Hip Hop Exam with a mark of 96.5% and in 2018 will be working towards her Solo Seal Hip Hop exam (completing the syllabus) and her Advanced 2 Jazz exam. In January 2017 Gabby attended the module 1 course for the Acrobatic Arts Association learning spotting skills and other acro dance techniques. Gabrielle has a natural ability for teaching and we are so excited to be bringing her into the Aspire Teaching team for 2018.

Renee Towler

Hip Hop
Renee has been a student with Aspire since we first started in 2008, first starting with hip hop, then also taking classes in Jazz and Lyrical. In 2017 Renee sat her Level 10 Hip Hop exam. Renee has a very kind, caring nature, and is a fantastic and very capable teacher.

Assistant Teachers

At Aspire, we love to be able to give students with a passion for dance, the opportunity to expand in their own confidence and abilities by giving them the change to be an 'assistant teacher' in our younger classes.
The assistants benefit from this by learning skills to teach a dance class, how to keep them engaged, ways of teaching choreography and confidence to younger students, and the ability to control number of students.
The younger students benefit from assistant teachers by having an older dancer to look up to - a role model who is able to show them what hard work and a good attitude in the studio can bring.
The teachers benefit from this by being able to make use of assistant teachers when a class has fuller numbers. Students are still able to be separated into smaller groups with the use of the assistant teacher and more 1 on 1 attention can be given when needed.
We love to watch our young dancers grown into capable young teachers.

William Louch

Hip Hop
William has been dancing with Aspire since he was 5yrs old. Throughout the years William has shown such a great dedication to dance and our smallest male students are able to look up to him as a passionate young male hip hop dancer.

Ilze Engelbrecht

Ballet & Jazz
This year Ilze can been seen assisting in our ballet and jazz. Ilze has many years of Ballet and jazz training and has also had an introduction to Hip Hop in the last year. Ilze is a student that many of our younger dancers look up to and we look forward to having her assist in some of these classes.

Kylie Trow

Ballet, Jazz & Hip Hop
Kylie has been dancing with Aspire since a very young age. With years of experience in Ballet and Jazz, Kylie is going to be a great help in our younger classes. Kylie has such a caring nature and we really look forward to seeing her develop teaching skills with out tiny dancers.

Lara Edgecombe

Lara has been a student with Aspire from the very beginning, first in dance, and then picking up drama as it was introduced to the school. Throughout her time at Aspire she has been sitting her Trinity College Drama Exams and in 2017 sat her Grade 5 Exam. We are looking forward to having Lara sharing her knowledge of drama as she assists our Intermediate class this year.

Bronlee Ireland

Jazz , Acro & Hip Hop
With experience in many styles of dance, Bronlee is currently taking Hip Hop, Jazz, Acro and Lyrical with Aspire. Bronlee works very hard to keep taking her dance skills to the next level and has a great can do attitude, we really look forward to having her in some of our acro and Hip Hop classes.

Teesha Pawson

Hip Hop
Teesha has danced with Aspire through most of her childhood. Teesha has experience in Hip Hop and Jazz. With her caring and passionate nature, Teesha will be a real asset in our classes.

Lily-Pearl Hunter

Hip Hop & Tap 

Lily-Pearl has been dancing with us from a young age and has always had such an incredible passion for dance & performing. Lily will be assisting in Tap and Hip Hop and will be a great example for the young students she helps teach.

Grace Cobham


Grace has been training in Ballet and has such a kind gentle way with the students.Grace will be assisting in Primary Ballet. We are so happy to have her on the team.


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