Meet the Teachers

INSTRUCTORS

ASHLEY HEDGCOTH

Ashley is our studio owner and director.  She also teaches many classes at DA each week!  She has been with The Dance Academy for 21 years and been the owner for 15.   Ashley graduated from Hendersonville High School where she trained for 15 years at Jody's School of Performing Arts.  She was a member of the New Attitude and New Attitude Two Dance Companies that won numerous competition awards in Tap, Jazz, and Modern dance.  For many years, she was a featured dancer in the Conway Twitty Christmas shows.  She has performed for numerous awards shows, danced for Garth Brooks Gold Party, appeared in music videos, been a featured dancer in the Nashville Music City Bowl and appeared has in Channel 4 Service announcements.  She has taught dance in Nashville Metro classrooms in conjunction with Nashville Institute of the Arts.  She has taught technique classes to the MTSU dance team as well as been the choreographer for the Oakland Middle School Dance Team.  Ashley graduated from MTSU with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies and holds memberships in Tennessee Association of Dance, Southern Association of Dance Masters and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.  She has attended multiple conventions to further her dance and teaching education. These conventions include Dance Makers, Inc, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Music Works, Artist Simply Human and Revel Dance and other conventions,workshops and Master Classes from Teachers all over the United States. Ashley is also the director and one of the choreographers for the DA competition teams. She is proud to have won choreography awards and to have led her dancers to win many awards such as High Score Overall, Judges Choice, Dance Again Awards and many First Place Overall Awards. Ashley is excited to have competition team members that have been awarded scholarships to attend Broadway Dance Center, Retter Academy of Dance and Keith Clifton Dance Project both in California as well as Dance Directive in Arkansas, and to attend Master Classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York.  She has also had dancers  win scholarships to AMDA college in NYC or LA, and Southwestern College in Kansas.  Her students have performed at Disney World, College Bowl games and have also won Scholarships to many National Dance Conventions and Competitions around the country.  One of her dancers was chosen as an assistant for a National Convention for last year and asked back again this year.  Ashley has had many dancers attend and compete at National Conventions. While attending these, her students have been  awarded International Dance Titles in Lyrical, Jazz, and Hip Hop.Teen soloists have been awarded awarded the Miss Teen International Dance Challenge Idol and 2nd Overall out of over 120 International dancers. Dancers have also been chosen to dance in closing shows at Regional and National conventions.  Ashley loves sharing her passion with everyone at The Dance Academy and that she gets to spend every day doing what she loves! 

 AMANDA EARP
Amanda is the Assistant Director as well as a teacher at DA.  She started dancing at DA when she was 3 and has been a teacher here for 12 years.  She graduated from Oakland High School where she was captain of her dance team and  then became the choreographer for 5 years where she led the team to win 4th in the state of TN.   Amanda graduated from MTSU in 2012 with a B.S. in Nursing.  In addition to teaching classes each week, she is also a nurse, mother, and choreographer for our DA competition teams.  She is a member of Tennessee Association of Dance, Southern Association of Dance Masters and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.  Amanda has participated in many conventions to further her dance and teaching education such as Dance Makers, Inc., Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and Southern Association of Dance Masters conventions, Revel Dance, and other workshops, and master classes from teachers all over the United States.  She has been a featured dancer in the Nashville Music City Bowl and competed in many dance competitions.  She has won many awards such as Best Overall Dancer and Most Dedicated Dancer among many others. Amanda is proud to have won Best Choreography awards and led her dancers to win awards such as High Score Overall, Judges Choice, Dance Again Awards and many First Place Overall Awards.  She is also excited to have competition team members that have been awarded scholarships to attend Retter Academy of Dance and Keith Clifton Dance Project both in California, as well as a Dance Directive Master Class in Arkansas.  Students have also won many scholarships to National Conventions and Competitions around the country as well as college scholarships. Her dancers have been chosen to dance in closing shows of many Regional and National Conventions.  Amanda has taken dancers to National/International competitions where they have won International Dance Titles in Lyrical, Jazz and Hip Hop.  Amanda is excited for another year at our studio and we are excited she still makes time to be a part of our DA team!

BECCA WILSON
Becca is one of our amazing instructors at DA. She grew up dancing at The Dance Academy where she danced for 19 years.  This is Becca's 10th year teaching with us.  Becca graduated from Blackman High School where she was a member of National Honor Society, Business Academy, Chair of her committee in Renaissance program and danced in all of the school musicals.  She graduated from MTSU with a degree in Early Childhood Education and is now entering her 4th year as an elementary school teacher. Becca holds membership with Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and Southern Association of Dance Masters.  Becca has been a featured dancer in the Music City Bowl and attended many conventions such as Dance Makers,Inc. Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Southern Association of Dance Masters and many more Conventions as well as and Master Classes from teachers all over the United States. She has won awards such as Best Overall Dancer and Most Dedicated Dancer among many others While in High School, she was a part of our DA Competition Team where she won many awards with her team.  She has such a passion for learning from other professionals so she may better instruct her dance students. This makes her such a great teacher and team member for The Dance Academy.  She is so naturally skillful with our younger dancers and we are excited she is back again with us for another year!


EMILY LEONARD
emily@danceacademydance.com


Emily danced with the DA for 17 years and this will be her 7th year as an instructor.  She graduated from Oakland High School where she was voted Most Talented by her senior class, a member of her dance team all 4 years, and captain her junior and senior years. She was the OHS dance team choreographer for 5 years and was proud to have led her team to be named Grand Champion by getting the highest score two years in a row at the AmeriDance dance competition as well as placing State Runner Up in the state of Tennessee at the TSSAA State Dance Championship in 2015. Emily graduated from MTSU in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education. She will be starting her 1st year as an Elementary School Teacher this year.  Emily was also a member of the DA Competition Team where she won many awards as a soloist and with her team including Judges Choice awards, High Score Awards and many other First Place trophies. She has been awarded numerous scholarships for dance that include Keith Clifton's Dance Project in California and TOP Starz dancer at Talent On Parade Dance Competition. Other scholarships include Dance Directive master classes in Arkansas and a college scholarship to attend Southwestern College in Kansas. In 2015, Emily attended Broadway Dance Center in New York to take master classes through a scholarship she was awarded by an audition at the Dance Makers Convention to further her dance education. She was also named the Charity Dance Down Champion for Dancers Against Cancer two years in a row as well as TOP Entertainer in her solo category at the Talent on Parade Competition. Emily is also a  choreographer for our DA competition team.  She has been awarded Choreography awards, Judges Choice Awards and won first overall with her dances at many competitions. She has had dancers win scholarships to National Conventions and to Power Pak Convention and Showcase at Disney World. She has also had dancers chosen to dance in many Closing Shows for Regional and National Conventions.  Emily is currently studying to take her membership exam to join Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and Southern Association of Dance Masters. In 2017, Emily auditioned for the world renowned Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders where she made it to the finals.  The DA is so proud of her and is always excited to have her back teaching on our team!  


MOLLY LEONARD
molly@danceacademydance.com

Molly danced at The Dance Academy for 16 years. This will be Molly's 5th year as a DA teacher. She graduated from Oakland High School where she was a member of her dance team for 4 years and captain her Junior and Senior year.  She was a member of our DA Competition Teams and competed as a soloist as well as group routines.  Molly won and helped her team win many awards such as Highest Score Overall, Dance Again Awards, Judges Choice Awards, and many First Place Overall Awards. She has been awarded scholarships to conventions and competitions around the United States.  These include Dance Directive Master Classes in Arkansas, Dance Makers National Conventions in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and invitations to be a part of the Top Starz Dance Team at the National Talent On Parade Competition.  Molly was also awarded the Charity Dance Down Champion for Dancers against Cancer at the Talent on Parade Regional Competition.  Molly has attended many conventions to further her dance and teaching education such as Dance Makers, Inc., Southern Association of Dance Masters, and taken master classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York.  She has won many awards at DA such as Best Overall Dancer and our Leadership Award.  Molly graduated from Columbia State Community College where she majored in Respiratory Therapy.  She is excited to have now started her career as a Respiratory Therapist. Molly is now a Choreographer for our Competition Team at DA.  She has been awarded Choreography Awards and had dancers win many Judges Choice and 1st Overall Awards.  Her dancers have also been awarded Scholarships to National Conventions and danced in many Regional and National Closing Shows with teaches from all over the U.S.  She is such an incredible dancer and teacher and we are excited to have her back again this year at DA!


STUDENT TEACHERS

CAITLIN TOON
Caitlin is one of our second year student teachers! She has been a DA teen assistant for two years and this is her 13th year with The Dance Academy. She is a junior at Blackman High School where she has academic excellence in Math, English, and History. She is also a member of Beta, Deca, Best Buddies, Epic, and Rho Kappa. She is starting her 3rd year as a member of the BHS dance team. Caitlin has been trained in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, tumbling, and pointe, and been a member of our competition team for 8 years. She has won numerous awards as a soloist and with her team such as first place, highest score, judges choice, top 5 overall, top 10 overall, a scholarship to the Dance Directive Master classes in Arkansas, and more. Caitlin has attended many dance conventions and competitions learning from master teachers all over the country to further her dance training and education. These include: Dance Makers Inc., Starpower, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Stage One, Revel, Shock the Intensive, Talent on Parade, Rising Star, Excel in Motion, Nexstar, Artists Simply Human, Top 10 Dance Challenge, International Dance Challenge, and more. Caitlin is proud to have been awarded the Center Stage Award at the International Dance Challenge Competition in 2015! She has been asked to perform in and auditioned for special performances such as a promotional music video for Trep Kids and a hip hop performance in the closing show at Revel dance convention. During her time at the DA, our teachers have awarded Caitlin with the Leadership award, Most Improved Lyrical award, and Most Improved Hip Hop award. Caitlin's favorite dance quote is, "I don't try to dance better than anyone else, I try to dance better than myself." - Mikhail Baryshnikov "My favorite thing about dance is that I feel free, not judged at all, and it's just a good feeling! What I love about that particular dance quote is that others don't challenge you, you challenge yourself and push yourself to the limit. I love being a student teacher because I get to help younger kids learn new steps, work hard, and grow as dancers. I always try to work hard to demonstrate the moves and help them understand. I think that being able to talk to them in class and get to know them allows me to be a better student teacher!"

CLASS ASSISTANTS

KAILEY ALBRIGHT
Kailey is one of our class assistants. She has danced for 15 years, danced at The Dance Academy for 6 years, and been a teacher assistant at DA for two years  Kailey is a junior at Lavergne High School where she is an Honor Roll Student and member of HOSA, (Health Occupations Students of America.) She has been trained in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, tumbling, and pointe. She has been a member of our competition team for 7 years where she has won numerous awards as a soloist and with her team. These include judges choice, highest score, top 5 overall, top 10 overall, style high score, overall high score awards, and many first place awards. She has also attended many dance conventions and competitions learning from master teachers all over the country to further her dance training and education.These include: DanceMakers Inc.,Top 10 Dance Challenge,Talent on Parade, StageOne, International Dance Challenge, Starpower, Excel in Motion, Shock the Intensive, Revolution, Revel, and Artists Simply Human. Kailey is proud to have been awarded a scholarship to the Dance Directive Convention in Arkansas through Talent on Parade as well as being chosen as an Excel Honor Society Dancer in 2016 for the Excel in Motion Dance Convention. She has also been awarded many awards by our teachers throughout her years at the DA such as Most Improved Overall, Most Improved Jazz, Most Improved Hip Hop, Most Improved Tap, Outstanding Senior, Best Attitude, and Student of the Month. Kailey said she loves the DA and dance because, "Everyone is a family and pushes me to be the best I can be. I love being with kids and I work to my full potential as an assistant in the classroom. As a dancer, I get to be myself and express my feelings. I forget about all of my worries. Dance allows me to learn from my mistakes and then become more confident!" Her favorite dance quote is "Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."- Martha Graham


KATELYN BROWN
Katie is one of our class assistants! She has been a Dance Academy teen assistant for two years and this is her 12th year dancing at the DA. Katie is a junior at Oakland High School where she is an Honor Roll student and has been a member of the dance team for two years. This year she is Captain of her dance team. She has been trained in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, tumbling, and pointe. She has been a member of our competition team for 8 years where she has won numerous awards as a soloist and a group. These include: First Place Overall, Highest Score, Miss Preteen DMI Nashville Runner Up, Top 5 Overall, Top 10 Overall, Judges Choice, and more. Katie is proud to have scored 2nd place in the Teen division out of 128 dancers from all over the world at her first National Competition ever in 2016. Katie has also attended many dance conventions and competitions learning from master teachers all over the country to further her dance training and education. These include: Dance Makers Inc., Revel, Artists Simply Human, Shock the Intensive, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Excel In Motion, Starpower, Revolution, StageOne, Nexstar, International Dance Challenge, and Talent On Parade. In May, Katie was chosen by the Revel Dance Convention Faculty to join them on tour as as assistant last year and asked back this year.  She has been asked to be a part of and auditioned for special performances such as a promotional music video for Trep Kids, the assistant audition performance at Artists Simply Human, and the Titans Extravaganza Halftime Show with her school dance team. Over her years at DA, our teachers have presented Katie with awards such as Best Overall Dancer, Most Outstanding Junior Dancer, and Best Technique. This past year, Katie was awarded a $40,000 Scholarship to attend AMDA College in NYC or LA.  Katie said, "My favorite thing about dance is being able to express myself through movement. As a student teacher, I love getting to share my love for dance with others, and I think my passion for it is what makes me a good assistant!" 


LILY OWENS

This is Lily's 3rd year dancing at The Dance Academy and she has had 8 years of dance training. She has been trained in different styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, tumbling, and modern. She has also previously competed at dance competitions around Tennessee which include: Starpower, Talent on Parade, Nexstar, Applause Talent, and more. She has been awarded scholarships and special performance awards at these competitions which include: the PowerPak invitation, TOP studio dancer, Top Ten and Top Five overall awards, Intermediate Technique Award, Performance and Choreography awards, the Wild Dance Intensive scholarship, the Fuzion Dance Camp scholarship, and more. At The Dance Academy, she has been awarded the Most Improved Jazz Dancer and Student of the Month. She has attended dance conventions to further her dance training and education such as Dance Makers Inc., Tennessee Ballet School, and Artists Simply Human. Lily has also been a part of the Mid- State Choir, an alternate for the All-State Choir, performed at the Ryman auditorium with the All-State Choir and Lee Greenwood, and been a Principal's List student. We are glad to have Lily as a member of the DA senior competition team this year as well as assisting in classes!


ANNA WRATHER

Anna Wrather is one of our class assistants. She has been a DA assistant for two years and this is her 10th year dancing at The Dance Academy. Anna is a junior at Oakland High School where she has been a member of the dance team for two years, and is now one of the captains. Seh received Principal's List and Honor Roll recognition, Character awards, and the People to People award. She is also involved in Lascassas Baptist Student Ministry and a pledge for Delta Beta Sigma. Anna has been trained in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, tumbling, and pointe, and been a member of our competition team for almost 8 years where she has won numerous awards as a soloist and with her team. These awards include: first place, highest score, top 5 overall, top 10 overall, judges choice, a scholarship to Dance Directive master classes, and more. She has also attended many dance conventions and competitions learning from master teachers all over the country to further her dance training and education such as Dance Makers Inc., Starpower, Talent on Parade, International Dance Challenge, Nexstar, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Top 10 Dance Challenge, Revel, Shock the Intensive, Artists Simply Human, Stage One, and more. Anna is proud to have been named the Talent On Parade Charity Dance Down Regional Champion in 2015 as well as chosen to be a part of the TOP Starz Dance Team. She has won numerous scholarships for dance such as the Dance Makers National Convention scholarship, the TOP 10 regional scholarship/TOP Cash, the MTA award, the Artists Simply Human Apprentice, and the Revel regional convention scholarship. In 2016, Anna was the National International Dance Challenge Teen Idol Winner by audition! She has been asked to perform in special performances such as the Artists Simply Human assistant audition, the International Dance Challenge Idol Performance, and the Titans Extravaganza Halftime show with her school dance team. "What I love about DA and being an assistant is getting to form new relationships with all the kids and watch them grow as dancers. My favorite thing about dance is getting to find and lose myself all at the same time. I think I make a great assistant because I love helping others and can form relationships very easily!" Her favorite dance quote is, "Dance with God until he lets someone else cut in."- Unknown