Our Tutors

In 2008 Marian established the now highly acclaimed One Step Beyond Dance Company, a youth dance company, to cater for the needs of her most dedicated and talented senior students.

Each year Marian works hard to produce entirely original and very creative ballets for her ever growing school giving all the students an opportunity to perform on stage in ballets designed specifically for them.

Marian McDermott T.T.C. Owner and Principal of Step Beyond Studios
Marian McDermott has been teaching ballet for 29 years so far! She began her ballet training at the age of eight. She studied in Wellington, attained an advanced level in ballet training and went on to perform both ballet and contemporary dance. She was a founding member of Wellington based "Footnote Dance Company."Marian also trained and worked as a Primary School Teacher and has found this training helpful in her lengthy ballet teaching career. She taught ballet for Deirdre Tarrant and at the "Limbs Dance School".

In 1990 she established the highly popular community ballet programme at "The Performing Arts School of New Zealand". In 1995 Marian established the then named "Marian McDermott School of Dance" in her home suburb of Torbay and this school grew so rapidly that in 2004 she rather reluctantly had to make the decision to finish teaching at the PAS so she could concentrate on the Torbay dance school.

Marian has developed a unique and inspiring teaching approach, which she demonstrated at a major International Dance Conference in Canada in 2000. Her lecture/demonstration "The Benefits of a Positive Teaching Approach in the Ballet Class" was acclaimed as ground breaking. Upon returning to New Zealand she somewhat unexpectedly became the focus of much media attention regarding her work.


Gemma Herbison BSC

Gemma is an energetic and enthusiastic teacher who loves sharing her knowledge with students. She has a background in ballet and contemporary dance and is also currently a Pilates instructor and medical student, and is passionate about the role of conditioning in dance.

Gemma started dancing when she was six and built a strong technique base throughout her time with Marian. She was a founding member of One Step Beyond Youth Dance Company and has had the opportunity to work with choreographers and various coaches nationally. In 2014 she completed a BSc at the University of Otago is now in her fourth year of an MBChB at the University of Auckland. Gemma is interested in the integration between dance and medical research and in 2016 attended the International Association of Dance Medicine conference in Hong Kong.

Along with learning technical foundations, Gemma provides her students with an opportunity to learn more about how their bodies work through the integration of Pilates techniques and dance, and provides the tools for students to set and achieve their own goals throughout the year.

 Anna MacRae

After graduating from Unitec Performing and Screen Arts in 1996, Anna was a founding member of Curve Dance collective and performed in works by Shona McCullagh, Ann Dewy, Michael Parmenter, Douglas Wright and Mary Jane O’Reilly. 


Since 2001 Anna has been working in Europe as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She taught for professional dance companies and dance festivals, institutions and independent professional classes such as; SEAD-Salzburg, Tanzquartier Wien, Tanzhaus Zürich, k3 Hamburg, TanzFabrik Berlin, and CONdance Vienna. Anna  danced for Cie. Willi Dorner in Vienna, for Meg Stuart’s company Damaged Goods in Berlin, and for French choreographer Boris Charmatz and French Director Laurent Chétouane. Anna’s own work toured to Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Romania. Her trio “with subtitles” premiered in“eXplore” Festival in Bucharest 09. “with subtitles” was also presented in the last[8:tension]ImpulsTanz 2010 and  “LOUD ENOUGH” premiered in Vienna and in the “eXplore” Festival Bucharest in October 2011.

Since returning to New Zealand in 2012 Anna has been teaching dance to children and professional dancers (Independance and Douglas Wright Dance co.) and tutoring Unitec dance students with their choregraphic pieces.


Amelia Meineke

Amelia Meineke completed the Bachelor of Dance Studies in Hamburg, Germany, which is NZQA approved. After receiving her degree , she worked as a dancer and choreographer at the Koinzi Dance - company in Hamburg,  with leading musicians and dancers from all over the world. 

After taking over a dance school in Bremen, Germany,  she was able to teach ballet, jazz dance, contemporary, creative dance, folk dance, and various other techniques such as Pilates and Yoga. 

During her years as a dance instructor,  she regularly took part in specialised training courses for dance teachers across Germany. 

Amelia taught for 15 years before she moved to New Zealand in 2009 with her husband and two daughters, where she had the privilege of being a tutor at Marian McDermott School of Dance in 2012. After a maternity leave she is back teaching. 


Emma Barnes

Emma has been learning ballet at Marian McDermott School of Dance (now Step Beyond Studios) since she was five years old and contemporary dance since she was nine. She was a member of One Step Beyond Youth Dance Company for five years. In 2014, Emma travelled to Scotland to perform in the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival with the company.

Emma was also heavily involved with dance in high school. In 2014, she received one of the top awards for dance at Rangitoto College and led the Stage Challenge team to first place. In her final year of high school, Emma was awarded an NZQA scholarship for dance.

Emma is now in her third year of university, studying a conjoint degree in Law and Arts at the University of Auckland.

In 2014, under Marian’s guidance, Emma trained to be a dance teacher. Emma aims to make her classes personable, by giving her students individual praise and critique. Along with this, she strives to share her love of dance with her students. Emma is excited to teach adult ballet this year.



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