Kathy Dupuy - Owner
Melissa began dancing at age 2 and has studied dance across the world from New York City to Germany. Her dance career has been very active in the local Austin community since 1999, teaching in numerous dance studios and Drill Teams in around the country. She is certified as a pre-school teacher where she is educated and trained in early childhood development and has spent the most of her adult life inspiring a love of life and dance in her students. From 2013-2020, she co-owned Evolution Dance Center and created a nurturing home for professional seeking dancers with the award winning EVOLVE Dance Company. Melissa is passionate about cultivating an environment that is safe and explorative for her dancers, challenging them to set goals, take risks, and make change. Under her direction, her dancers have received regional and national recognition and her choreography been nationally recognized and awarded. Melissa brings a fresh and exciting energy into her classroom, instilling confidence and creativity in her students. As a military wife, she is ready for anything life throws at her, and is passionate about cultivating a future of leaders that are confident, powerful, fearless, and creative. Melissa’s goal is to provide a customized dance experience for each dancer based on their own personal needs and goals and to provide a safe space to explore their growth and lead us in the future.
Lauris Blackwell grew up singing and dancing! After high school she attended Austin College,and then went on to New York, where she was a scholarship winner to the American Musicaland Dramatic Academy. She stayed in NYC for eleven years performing professionally on and offBroadway and on many National and European tours. Some of her favorite roles are theNarrator in“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, Rose, in “Bye, Bye Birdie”,Amnesia, in “Nunsense”, Lily, in “Annie”, and Rhetta, in “Pump Boys and Dinettes”.She has performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center for both the Bush and ClintonAdministration in conjunction with the Children’s Literacy Program. She performed in theNatchez Opera for ten years and was fortunate enough to bethe soloist for then GovernorGeorge Bush’s Inauguration.Since moving home to Texas, she has performed and Choreographed with Waco Children’sTheater, Temple Civic Theatre,the Public Domain, and River City Pops and many others. She haschoreographed for Buzz Productions, Akins High School, River City Pops, Austin SummerMusicals For Children, as wellas served on the RCP and ASMC Boards. She teaches tap, ballet,jazz, andmusical theatreto all ages. She is the dance instructor and Choreographer for ChristianYouth Theatre. When not dancing about, she spends time with her husband, James,and theirwonderful son Dustin. She is so grateful and blessed to be a part of all of her work “families”.
Kalee Irwin Director - Envision Dance Company
Gabe is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has trained under nationally acclaimed choreographer Emily Shock for fifteen years. He has trained in styles such as contemporary, jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, hip-hop and acrobatics as well as been nationally recognized with awards, scholarships and assistant positions as a result of said training. Said assistant positions include being the Creative Assistant for Intrigue Dance intensive, as well as assisting choreographers such as Emily Shock. Gabe has taught, choreographed and assisted at studios and conventions across the country. He has danced in commercials, music videos and television shows for numerous companies, with the latest two being the Netflix original series: Dancing Queen and So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. Gabe’s most recent teaching endeavors include being the master instructor for Dance Team Union and being on faculty for Move X Dance Convention. Gabe is super excited to hone in his teaching skills at the The Dance Spot!
Alicia started dancing when she was 7 years old with Deb’s Dance in Elgin and continued on till she was 11 years old. When learning from Ms. Deb she was taught in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Alicia started dancing again as a sophomore in high school at Elgin and became apart of the Purple Diamonds Dance Team in 2014. She eventually became Major officer her Senior year and won numerous awards while on the team. After graduating she continued with dance and started teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Drill Team Prep classes at Dance N Groove with the ages 2-15. After teaching for a year she continued her dance education at Tyler Junior College and was offered dance scholarships. While in Tyler she had the opportunities to teach at multiple dance studios, solos, and was a assistant director for TJC’s 30th anniversary of The Nutcracker. She is currently continuing her education at ACC and plans on being a Early Childhood- 6th Education major.
Amanda Howes-Keith - Rise Dance Company Asst Director, Communications Director
Amanda started dance when she was seven-years-old at her home dance studio in Southwick, MA. Her love of movement and creativity spanned from dance, to sports, music and theater. Amanda graduated from Radford University in Radford, VA with a Major in Media Production and a Minor in Dance. Since then she has worked in several entertainment industries including Six Flags New England, Universal Studios Resort Orlando, Sea World San Antonio, Walt Disney World Resort and Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, FL. Amanda’s love of dance has extended even further when she discovered aerial arts and can now take her creativity to new heights on the silks and lyra. Currently Amanda is an acrobatics/dance instructor, choreographer and avid aerial artist who enjoys performing locally. Amanda is so excited to have the opportunity to teach and inspire young dancers with her passion and energy!
A veteran instructor and choreographer with over 20 years of teaching experience, Mark has a passion for teaching the love of dance. Beginner and advance students alike benefit from his warm, enthusiastic, and patient style. Mark’s greatest joy is watching his students have the “lightbulb” moment. Mark tries various approaches for presenting concepts until that happens for each and every student.
Giving back to the Austin community and participation and local charitable events is important to Mark. In 2011 and 2012, he was a featured dance professional in the Lake Travis Dancing with the Stars event to benefit the Lake Travis Community Library, and in 2011 & 2016, he was a featured professional in the Dancing with the Stars Austin, benefiting the Center for Child Protection. He served on the Board of Directors of the prestigious Mayfair Dance Club from 2011 – 2013 and served as Membership Chair of the organization in 2014.
Megan began her training in ballet at the age of four under Lady Leah Lafargue Hathaway and Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was a performing member of the Lake Charles Civic Ballet for 19 years. While dancing with LCCB, she received her Bachelor of Art in Visual Art, with a concentration in Photography, from McNeese State University. After graduating in 2008, Megan continued dancing and began teaching ballet and pointe classes for her home studio in Louisiana. In 2010, she moved to Florida to work as an instructor in Ballet Pensacola’s Academy, and danced as a soloist with Ballet Pensacola. While in Florida, Megan also taught ballet and pointe classes for several years with Dance Academy of Santa Rosa in Milton. In addition to teaching, Megan worked for photographers in Louisiana and Florida, as well as worked in graphic design. She is also a PMA certified Pilates Instructor, and received her training through Balanced Body under Susan Clark Waters of Pure Pilates, Pensacola. Megan teaches ballet and Pilates classes for The Dance Spot, and is a Pilates and adult ballet instructor for Ballet Austin.
Ki’ana considers herself an Austonian, even though she was a military brat and lived in many different places growing up. She started dancing when she started walking and, as she grew up, continued to dance in her garage and put on talent shows for her parents. She performed in many talent competitions as she moved across the globe and ultimately became the captain of her step team in 8th grade and later, the creator of the first hip hop dance club at her high school. She went to school to play basketball at Trinity International in Chicago, and then transferred to the University of North Texas, where she joined Choreoblock, also known as UNT FSA Modern. She became a choreographer and later, the creative co-director for the team, between 2015-2017. In the meantime, she also danced on Neighborhood, in Dallas, out of DFC dance studio, and went to World of Dance, placing 1st in 2016, and 3rd in 2018, winning crowd favorite both years, as well as Summer Meltdown, in Houston, in 2016, taking home 1st, and Dancers’ Paradise, in Mexico, in 2017 and 2018. After completing school at North Texas, she finished out her time with Neighborhood, in the spring of 2018, and became the director of the youth team, Impact N Change, for the 2019 WOD Dallas season. In August 2019, she moved home to Austin. She love dancing and is committed to continuinng to make it a part of her life, to learn and grow, and try to help promote growth for those around her.
Dereke’ started his dance career in Chicago with the dance group 2XS. He was invited to LA for a Janet Jackson audition that led to him to the discovery of Monsters of Hip Hop. After being selected for the show in LA under the direction of Tabitha & Napoleon, he continued to be featured in various commercials. He was also a stand-in dancer for MTV ABDC & assisted choreographers on SYTCD. He was on two international tours with artists Kat Deluna, Amei, and Anahi, traveling to Europe, Asia, & South America. Dereke’ lived in Mexico City for five years, where he worked as a judge for Hip Hop International and Infinity dance studio which competed in the US and won various top awards at Nuvo, Monster of Hip Hop, etc. While teaching, he choreographed various tours, including Belinda & Gloria Trevi. He is now residing in Austin ready to invest in the future success of the city’s dance & fitness scene!
Courtney grew up in Oregon where she was a competitive gymnast for 10 years before moving on to be an all-star and collegiate cheerleader. Once in college, her interests shifted quickly to dance! Courtney graduated in 2017 with a BS in Dance Performance from The University of Oregon, where she danced and choreographed for the annual department concerts. Once she moved to Austin she landed at First Street Studio where she auditioned for the professional dance company, Chaddick Dance Theater, she is heading into her second season with CDT. Her teaching career started off with being an instructor through KinderDance North Austin where she taught combo- ballet, tap and tumbling classes. She also has a background in teaching acro, contemporary, hip hop and improvisation. Courtney is eager to continue to grow in her dance artistry and eventual obtain an MFA in Dance!
Quinton Weathers - Director, Rise Dance Company
Hailey was born and raised in Austin, Texas and began dancing at the age of two. She has trained in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, musical theater, and hip hop and has received scholarships and awards through conventions and competitions throughout her life. Hailey has assisted The Streetz Dance Convention and world renowned choreographers and teachers. She found a love for teaching/choreographing and began working with/teaching children in 2015. She now teaches at the collective and around the Austin area and hopes to branch out to new places and people to continue to grow, inspire, and be inspired!
Hannah Woolridge - Ballet Director
Hannah Woolridge, who recently relocated to Austin, TX, began dancing at the age of 3 in Corpus Christi, TX. She has gone on to earn a B.F.A. in Dance from Sam Houston State University, is certified in Mat and Reformer Pilates, as well as pursuing her Gryotonic® Certification. Hannah performed with the Corpus Christi Ballet from 2004-2013 starring in various roles such as; Clara, Dew Drop Fairy, Russian dancer, Mirliton, Pirouette Doll, and Harlequin Doll in Nutcracker, Cygnet in Swan Lake, and the Generosity Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She attended several summer intensives including Ballet Austin studying under Stephen Mills, the School of American Ballet studying under Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo, and the Alonzo King Lines Ballet. While pursuing her degree at Sam Houston, Hannah had the opportunity to work with various international choreographers, including Gerard Theoret and Maurice Causey, as well as perform as a member of Nicolay Danceworks in A Wynne Home Nutcracker. After graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2016, Hannah spent three months in Rome, Italy dancing and performing with VivoBallet under the direction of Enzo Celli. Upon returning back to the states Hannah began dancing as a Resident Guest Artist with Corpus Christi Concert Ballet for the 2017-2018 season as well as teaching at the Ballet Academy of Corpus Christi.