celebrating 60 years of dance

Melanie Gard

Dance Teacher

Ceccehtti International Classical Ballet (Licentiate) CBA; Advanced 2 Cecchetti; Cert IV Dance Teaching and Management,  Cert IV Training and Assessment; BA (Disability Studies), Affliate member Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD)

Dance Classes: ballet, jazz, tap, petite dancers, VCE/VET dance

Melanie Gard is Director of Peninsula School of Dance a dance studio located on the Mornington Peninsula, Australia. She is Mum to three children, a lover of the beach and good coffee.

Melanie Gard is a passionate dance educator and has grown Peninsula School of Dance in partnership with her husband, Robbie, from a small ballet school running in a community hall, which they purchased in 2006, to a vibrant dance and performing arts studio that caters for over 400 students each week. Melanie leads her teaching and administration team with passion and a huge determination to ensure the studio remains at the forefront of dance education. A significant number of her students have gone on to have successful careers in dance and the performing arts. Melanie has also inspired many to become passionate dance educators.

Melanie is a Licentiate with Cecchetti Ballet Australia, holder of a Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management, Cert IV in Workplace Training and Assessment and has a Bach of Arts in Disability Studies (Deakin University) and is an affiliate member of Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD). Melanie is a YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) accredited teacher and her studio is one of only a handful in Australia to currently hold this international accreditation.

Prior to taking the directorship of Peninsula School of Dance, Melanie worked in the area of Disability and Community Development. She was involved in a number of ground breaking projects and policy developments that involved the devolution of institutional settings. Many of these projects involved working in partnership with local government and community organisations to develop and deliver programs that were inclusive of people of all abilities.  It is this experience that Melanie has been able to bring to her Dance Studio and develop an inclusive school environment.

As a well-respected member of the dance community, Melanie been invited to speak at various conferences and online webinars including Exchange, Cecchetti Ballet Annual Conference and the Victorian Dance Festival. Melanie has also created a Podcast series with fellow studio owner Jane Grech, “At the Barre” produced by Morgan Media.  

Melanie is an appointed to the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Arts and Culture Advisory Panel as a passionate representative of dance and the performing arts.

During the Covid19 Pandemic Melanie has played a strong advocacy role for the dance education sector and has been recently appointed the Vice Chair of the newly formed Dance Arts Alliance (DAA). DAA’s mission is to represent, support and advocate for a unified Dance Arts industry in Victoria.

Melanie is a passionate advocate for ensuring that the performing arts are inclusive and accessible for all. It brings her the greatest joy to see kids of all abilities deriving the benefits of dance that were afforded to her by her dance teachers.

“I have lead PSD students and staff over the last 10 years and I am incredibly proud of the many great achievements inside and outside of the dance studio. Students have participated in Cecchetti ballet and ATOD exams with a 100% pass rate and exceptional results. Many of our students achieve very high marks and it is certainly testament to our dedicated and talented staff team. We also currently have students pursuing full time dance studies and careers in the professional world. Whilst these results are wonderful they are not certainly not our only definition of success. As a Director, I am most proud of the kids that have struggled with confidence, faced learning challenges, suffered with anxiety, felt shy or even been bullied at school. I am proud of those kids more than anything, for getting in and having a go and being the best versions of themselves. Time and time again I have conversations with parents who tell me “dance is his/her happy place”. I am so proud of the nurturing culture at PSD and it is this in which I will continue to invest the most energy in.”

– Miss Mel