My name is Melissa Jacques; I am a Dance Teacher and own Melissa Jacques School of Dance. I have danced from the age of 2 and been dancing ever since. It has always been my passion from an early age and growing up I loved performing. 

My dream was to open a dance school after a very successful dancing career and I love that now I can pass my passion & knowledge onto little girls & boys who also have big dreams.  

As a teacher I have always had a passion for helping others, especially those suffering from Mental Health difficulties and I try to spread positivity and hope to inspire and support others. I have a lot of people around me who suffer from mental health difficulties, including some children. Because of this, I completed a Mental Health Course online and continue learning about Mental Health every day. 

I recently put out an inspiring message to my students where I created an inspirational dance routine about Mental Health in the hope to raise awareness. I wanted it to send out the message for anyone who is suffering, that this is not the end. Ireassures and confirms the message that you are worthy, you can be a positive change to others and you can get through challenging times. The students dance so passionately about this and it makes me so proud to see. This dance inspired people and helped them change the way they looked at things. From the feedback I received it made me even more determined to continue spreading this message and awareness of how important good mental health is.  

This is where the Danceathon idea came from and because of the pressure the Coronavirus Pandemic has put on peoples’ mental health I wanted to make it happen as soon as possible - so we went virtual! The initial idea was for my students only, however after sharing it on social media, I received so much interest from people wanting to get involved so I decided to open the Danceathon to everyone. 

The reason my partner and I chose Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind was because we wanted to support Mental Health. We had had several recommendations for the National Mind Charity. However, we wanted to make sure the money we raised impacted our local community around our home so we chose our local mind – Middlesbrough and Stockton 

Whave been so overwhelmed with the help and support we have received from our Dance School’s community. The dancers and their parents have been absolutely amazing in getting behind this idea and supporting our fundraising. We originally wanted to raise £1000 then raised our target to £2000 after we quickly hit that. The total amount raised was over £8000! 

Our Fundraising Officer, Lorna says "Melissa has done an incredible job and proven that even in the toughest of times our community can still come together and do amazing things". 

Thank you so much to everyone who took part by teaching, dancing or donating.