Melanie Atkins was born in Reading, England. She trained at Walnut Hill School of the Arts after her family moved to Massachusetts. After completing her education, Atkins joined Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. She was soon invited to join Miami City Ballet in 1997, where she rose to the rank of principal dancer. In 1999, Atkins worked with Maria and Marjorie Tallchief in conjunction with The George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive in 1999. The Archive preserves the choreographer's legacy on video.
In 2002, Atkins joined Boston Ballet as a soloist. Her repertory includes Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy, The Countess) and Raymonda, Act III; Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker; August Bournonville's La Sylphide; James Kudelka's Cinderella (Stepsister, Twig); Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias (Marguerite); George Balanchine's Prodigal Son, Serenade, Monumentum/Movements, Duo Concertant and Rubies; Helen Pickett's Etesian; Jorma Elo's Plan to B, Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces; and Jiri Kylian's Falling Angels.
Following her retirement from the stage in May 2009, Atkins was appointed Children’s Ballet Mistress and faculty for Boston Ballet School. She has staged the children’s roles for Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Coppélia and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rudolph Nureyev’s Don Quixote.