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 be 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.

Kate Grinter:
Ballet & Lyrical
Mid 2017 saw us bring on our lovely new teacher Kate. Kate has been training in ballet since a young girl, sitting BBO ballet through her years with us at Aspire, and has recently also picked up Jazz. Kate had previously been an assistant teacher with Aspire for many years before beginning to teach classes of her own. Kate inspires our youngest ballet students to see the beauty behind ballet through her true passion for the genre, whist also ensuring everyone has the best time. We are very excited that Kate will be taking on more in 2018.

Megan Carter: Manager of Aspire Arts Academy
Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Acro & Lyrical

Megan is from Matamata and has been with Aspire for a number of years 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 is who you, as a parent will deal with when enroling or enquiring about our classes. Megan is a very talented young lady who is set to make a long term successful career in the dance education sector. We are very lucky to have her on team and managing the school.

Stanley Aranga:
Senior Boys Hip Hop and Drama Teacher
With a passion for street dance from a young age Stanley entered a dance competition at the age of 15 and won a spot to study with the only full time contemporary company in New Zealand at the time. He studied at the BOP Polytechnic in 1996 in a performing arts course majoring in dance and drama and some year later became a tutor for the same course also assisting with the fitness program. Now enjoying new genres of dance and the love of experimenting with many forms. We are excited to have Stan teaching Boys Hip Hop and Senior Drama here at Aspire!

Lydia Louw:
Hip Hop and Tap Teacher
In term three of 2014 we had Lydia Louw return to our team after a couple of years away. She is a much loved teacher of some of our older students who still remember being in her classes as young children. Lydia teaches Hip Hop and Tap at Aspire and also takes an adults hip hop class for those wanting to get fit and have fun doing so! Lydia is passionate about choreography and puts all of her creativity towards each dance that she teaches.

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.

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.

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 assists and has a great ability in working with our younger students. In 2017 Grace sat her Level 10 Hip Hop and Advanced 1 Jazz Exams. 2018 will see her completing the Hip Hop syllabus sitting her solo seal exam, and also Advanced 2 Jazz. This year, Grace can be seen helping with Hip Hop classes and Tap.

Danielle Drysdale
With many years of ballet experience, Danielle holds herself in such a manner that it is hard for our tiny ballerinas not to be inspired and look up her. Danielle is preparing to sit her Advanced BBO Ballet exam in 2018 while also taking Jazz and Lyrical. Danielle Can be seen helping out in our younger ballet classes.

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. William will be helping out this year with our junior all Boys Hip Hop class.

Paige Burnett
Paige has been doing Acro and Hip Hop with Aspire for a number of years now. With many years also of gymnastics training, Paige is going to be a great help as an assistant in our younger acro classes, and we look forward to training her in further spotting and acro dancer techniques.

Ilze Engelbrecht
Ballet and 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
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 ballet classes. Kylie has such a caring nature and we really look forward to seeing her develop teaching skills with out tiny ballerinas.

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 junior class this year.

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 and in 2018 will be sitting her Solo Seal, completing the Hip Hop Syllabus. Renee has a very kind, caring nature, and will be a natural teacher in our younger classes.


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