Kristy’s Dance Academy Faculty
Kristy Woodruff Neely-Owner
Kristy is a nationally certified member of Dance Masters of America. Kristy was the Director at the former Rhythm on Main in Elkin, NC. She studied at the former Dance Upstairs for 14 years and was competitive for more than 10 years. Kristy won many high score awards with her team and as a soloist placing Top Ten at nationals three years in a row, she was Miss Dance USA 2011 and has taught Master Classes at conventions. Kristy was awarded The USA Dance Championships 2013 National Choreography Award, 2014 National Crowd Pleaser, 2015 National Shooting Star Award, and has had multiple national champion winners from 2012-2016. Kristy attended the Dance Teacher’s Summit in NYC, has judged at the regional and national level, has been the National Director of America’s Mister & Miss Dance National Titles Scholarship Program, and is well known for her innovative cutting edge choreography in the competitive world. Kristy is happily married to her high school sweetheart, Ethan and has one son, Evan.
Michelle Newman Upchurch
Michelle has been teaching dance for over 12 years specializing in Children’s and Pre-School Classes and is currently working toward attaining her National Certification through Dance Masters of America. Michelle studied at the former Dance Upstairs, is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where she continued her dance training and enjoys attending conventions for continuing education. She has judged competitions, taught Pre-School Education Classes (to other teachers), has served as The Director of America’s Mister & Miss Dance Scholarship Program and is a teacher at the First Baptist Church Pre-School in Elkin. Michelle is happily married to Lee and has three sons Tyler, Tanner, and Trevin.
Casey Billings Wilmoth
Casey studied Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Gymnastics, and Lyrical for 15 years at the former Dance Upstairs, competing 9 of those years winning multiple regional and national awards including being a national semi-finalist for America’s Miss Dance and Senior Miss Ultimate Starz Dance. After 15 years of study, Casey went on to double major in Dance & Business Administration at Western Carolina University where she studied with Karen Tomczack who was a Rockette. She has taught dance for three years previously, by day works for the NC State Employees Credit Union, she will be working toward her Dance Masters of America National Teacher’s Certification and we are excited to have her as a part of the Kristy’s Dance Academy Faculty.
Morgan is a proud alumni of Tonya’s Academy of Dance in N. Wilkesboro NC. While at TAD she was a member of their competition troupes in ballet, point, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. She has been dancing since the age of two and was a competitive soloist for ten years. Morgan’s solo’s comprised of acrobatics and contemporary. She received many top scoring awards including Platinum, Double Platinum, Ultimate Platinum, 1st Place in Category, and 1st Place Overall at several competitions. She also received Overall Highest Score of The Competition, and Super Soloist at Encore DCS., as well as Highest Scoring Senior Soloist and Overall High Score Champion of the Day at Ultimate Starz Dance Productions. Morgan’s dedication to dance continued throughout high school as she auditioned for and became a member of the elite West Wilkes Struttin’ Hawks Dance Team. This team learned weekly chorography for pep rallies, and basketball games, and took competitive dances to Universal Dance Association during summer camps. Placements in regionals at UDA sent them to compete at Nationals at Disney World, New York City, And Atlanta GA. In 2011 the team had the honor to dance for then President Barack Obama while visiting WWHS. In 2013 the team brought home a UDA National Championship. Morgan was 2012-2013’s Miss Teen Wilkes County. After high school she continued her dance career while teaching Hip Hop and Lyrical. She also auditioned for and became a Charlotte Checkers Checkmate dancer/cheerleader/ice skater for the AHL Charlotte Checkers, but hung up her skates for family life. She is happily married to Austin, with two sons, Cain and Colt.
Morgan is a guest instructor for Kristy’s Dance Academy. She was a student at Dance Upstairs/Rhythm On Main for 15 years and was a member of the competition team/company for 10 years. She was named Dancer of the Year in 2010 and has earned several competition awards with groups, solos, and duets. Morgan was an assistant teacher for two years before becoming an Instructor. Morgan working on her Dance Masters of America national teaching certification. By day Morgan is the Retail & Marketing Manager for Dance Machine Productions and works part time at Food Lion. She loves sharing her love for dance with such great kids.
Will is a guest instructor for Kristy’s Dance Academy. He is the President/CEO of Dance Machine Productions that produces competitions and conventions across the United States and is on the Expert Panel for DanceStudioOwner.com. Will was the owner of the former Rhythm on Main Dance and Gymnastics in Elkin, NC. Will studied dance and gymnastics under his parents at their studio Dance Upstairs for 14 years where he was Master Dance of NC 1990, Junior Mister Dance of NC 1993, Teen Mister Dance of NC 1995, and Mister Dance of North Carolina 1997. He went to college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island where he was a Marketing/Public Relations Major. While in college at JWU he danced with Spindle City Ballet in Fall River, MA and served as the Vice President of Marketing. He was The Director of the Children’s Division, as well as a Professional Division Ballet & Jazz Instructor at The Dance Academy: The Official School of The Spindle City Ballet. Will is a Member of Dance Masters of America and completed Teacher’s Training School at The University at Buffalo in New York. Will’s performance credits include multiple community theater productions, The Nutcracker, The Polar Express, Showtime Television, and Six Flags Theme Parks. Will has been a choreographer for several community and regional theater productions in addition to working with several studios as a guest instructor and teaching at conventions for Dance Masters of America and multiple competition/convention systems. Many of his students have gone on to dance in college, in professional companies, theme parks including Disney, and some are now teaching at Kristy’s Dance Academy as well as at other studios. Will lives with his partner Don, a cat named Ninja, and three Miniature Pinchers: Reese Pieces, Elle Woods, and Maxi Ford. In addition to dance that does consume most of his life Will is a huge NFL, NHL, and NASCAR Fan.