Get to know CDE owner, Christy Wood

How did you get started in dance?

“I began dancing at the age of 4.  I was so eager to meet new friends and wear leotards and legwarmers! As I grew older, my love for dance expanded with learning new styles, going to conventions, and competing.”

Why did you want to start a dance studio?

“If you know me personally, you would know that I’m a bit of a perfectionist and, at times, get overwhelmed with the pressure I place upon myself.  Dance was, and still is, an outlet for me to release my tensions and emotions.  When the music starts and my body moves, I can feel outside pressures release their grip.  I become more relaxed, more focused, more determined, and more joyful as my thoughts are consumed with the choreography.  I want to provide a place where people can experience all those things that I love about dance.  A place where students can be themselves and push themselves to do more than they knew they were capable of doing.”

 Christy attended East Carolina University to pursue a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Dance. After transferring to North Carolina State University, Christy began teaching dance for a non-profit organization in the Garner area. While employed at SAS Institute, she received her Business degree with a concentration in Marketing. Christy was a member of the ECU Dance Team and the Wolfpack Clogging Team. Christy is an active member of her church where she serves as a preschool teacher and dance ministry co-director.


Andra Thomasson

Jazz/Tap/Clogging instructor

Andra grew up in the Garner area and began dancing at the age of 6. She has studied a variety of dance forms including modern, ballet, jazz, hip hop, and clogging. She studied under and worked with Christy at a non-profit organization in Garner prior to the opening of CDE where she continued as a dancer, assistant, and an instructor. She attended NC State University and was a member of the Wolfpack Clogging Team while she continued to teach at CDE and earn her degree in Biochemistry. She was assistant director for Feet on Fire until she moved to Boston with her husband in 2008. Andra returned to North Carolina and teaching at CDE in 2010, taking a short break from teaching after the birth of her second child. She is excited to be part of the CDE team again this year!


Colleen Hanson

FOF Director
Clogging instructor

Colleen began clogging in 1993 with the Triple Toe Cloggers in Laurinburg, NC. She was a part of the competitive team until 2002 when she graduated from high school. From 2003-2007, she was the director of the Triple Toe Cloggers. She has performed for Magic Music Days and the Clogging Spectacular in Disney World. Colleen has also worked with the Just for Kix Cloggers in Greensboro, NC. After graduating from UNC Pembroke in 2007 she moved to the Raleigh area and became a member of the Carolina Heartland Cloggers in Carrboro, NC. She has taken master classes from All That, Audrey and Ellis Perry, NC State Wolfpack Cloggers, Second String, Cane Creek, and more. Colleen now lives in Dunn with her husband, Brad, and daughter, Savannah.  Colleen has a passion for clogging and teaching.  She is very excited to be returning to DancExplosion.


Danielle Lang

Ballet/Jazz/Contemporary/Pointe instructor

Danielle Lang was born in Heidelberg, Germany where she lived with her family. They soon moved to New York then later settled in Raleigh, NC. At age eleven she enrolled in dance at Lehman’s Studio and auditioned for the company Ballet Lehman USA. In that company, Danielle had the opportunity to perform in the Nutcracker all over the Triangle as well as compete in Sochi, Russia for 3 years. Danielle has a wide genre of dance forms such as ballroom, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, modern, African, etc. In 1999 when the Special Olympics hosted their event in the Triangle, Danielle performed as one of the top ten principal dancers. After high school Danielle was accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University on scholarship for dance and choreography where she worked with numerous dance professionals from all over the world.  She has performed pieces such as Jose Limon’s Choreographic Offering at the Kennedy Center also on BET’s 2009 Spring Bling in Singer Island, FL. Some of her students have been seen on Laurie Ann Gibson’s Live to Dance and other promotional commercials. Danielle has worked with shows such as The Lion King, Burn the Floor, Shrek the Musical and other on and off Broadway shows.  She occasionally takes classes in NYC to keep her dance styles updated.  Most of all she enjoys teaching all ages.  CDE is glad to have Danielle returning for another year!


Ivey Carroll

Hip Hop & Cheer Tumble instructor

Ivey started her dance career at the age of 4. She started competing at a young age for Studio J Dance Center in her hometown, Asheboro, NC. Ivey was also a competitive All-Star cheerleader for Cheer Extreme in Kernersville, NC. At NC State University, she was on the dance team for two years where she competed hip hop at NDA nationals. While in college, she started developing a professional career in both the cheer and the dance industry. With Edge Cheer and Dance, she has been a camp instructor, choreographer, and judge, working with multiple teams on the East Coast. She continues to judge both cheer and dance competitions on the weekends. She has experience as an All-Star Coach where she choreographed competition cheer routines, along with her team’s hip hop routine. While working as a coach, she also taught militiamen levels of tumbling. Ivey has also been apart of Elevate Performance Company for 4 years.


Leslie Morris

Clogging instructor

Leslie began clogging at the age of 6 and joined a competitive clogging team out of Graham, NC when she was nine years old. Aside from clogging, she has trained in acrobatics, jazz, modern, hip-hop, cheer-leading, and ballet. During her senior year of high school, she was a member of Carolina Sound when they were awarded Overall CCA Challenge Junior National Champions. She is currently a member and choreographer of Pack Clogging and a Cadence certified judge.  She has won several CCA and NCHC overall team and solo awards throughout her time in the competitive clogging world.  Leslie will graduate in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from NC State. She also loves being outdoors in her spare time and kayaking or spending time with her 3 dogs!


Madalyn Kotlarek

Company Director
Jazz/Contemporary/Tap/Ballet instructor

Madalyn realized her love and passion for dance as she grew up dancing at Accent On Dance, in Waukesha, WI,  where she was blessed to take part of traveling regionally and nationally to different dance competitions around the country. Madalyn worked with many choreographers such as Sarah Jo Fazio for Dancer of the Year with Dance America competition and with the Adrenaline staff as she took part of competing for the Adrenaline Jazz/Contemporary Crew and Hip Hop Crew as well. After High School, Madalyn first studied at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she continued her technical training as a BFA in dance and took part of the UNCG Spartan G’s Dance Team, which she also choreographed for. Later on, she decided to switch gears to pursuing her Bachelors in Science with Human Nutrition and Dietetics, to then transferring to NC State, and completing her Associates in Science at Wake Tech while continuing to teach at CDE and lead the Dance Company as Company Director. As a competitive gymnast in her younger years, acrobatics became another motivation with her dance skills and tricks. She has had much experience teaching all ages and levels of dance in the styles ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, acro and hip hop. Alongside teaching dance, Madalyn also performs with Elevate, a performance company based out of Raleigh, NC. She enjoys choreographing, dancing, acting, and performing all over the East coast. With Elevate, she has also been trained on the lyra, sway pole and other acrobatic apparatuses. Lastly, Madalyn gives a loving thanks to her parents for always supporting her passion in life to dance and making her dreams as a dancer come true; along with another huge thanks to her dance teacher, Miss Kellie Plath, for always being there since she first started dancing at age 3, guiding her through some of the most difficult and most rewarding times of her life, as for that is what Madalyn strives to give back to her students one day.


Michelle Gerrald

FOF Director
Clogging/cardio instructor

Michelle started clogging as a young child under the direction of Christy Wood at a nonprofit organization in Garner.  She then started dancing at CDE upon its opening.  Her love of clogging grew even more as she became a founding member of CDE’s competitive clogging team, Feet on Fire.  While on FOF she took master classes and workshops under many accomplished clogging instructors from across the nation.  Now a director of FOF and a recreational clogging instructor, Michelle is very passionate about being able to share her skills and experiences with new students and team members.  CDE welcomes Michelle back for another year!


Rachel Goldberg

Ballet instructor

Rachel Goldberg began her training in New Jersey at the Academy of Dance Arts studying RAD ballet technique. She continued her studies at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL before receiving her BFA in Ballet from U. of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. While pursuing her degree, Rachel spent two years dancing with the Sarasota Ballet and an additional two in the corps de ballet after graduating. While with the Sarasota Ballet, she had the pleasure of performing roles in works by Balanchine, MacMillan, Ashton and more. Rachel moved to North Carolina in August 2016 and is excited to be returning to CDE this season!


Renee Wimberley

Musical Theater/Voice instructor

Renee Wimberley is an actor, director, playwright, and arts instructor based in Raleigh, NC. A former K-12 drama teacher, she is passionate about arts integration and training parents, teachers, and ministry leaders to enhance their learning environments through creative arts activities. Renee has participated in the local theatre community for over 35 years. She is the Creative Director of Seed Art Share and teaches at Applause Youth Theatre, Raleigh Little Theatre, and Actor’s Training Ground. In real life, she is Joe’s other half and home-school mama to Max, Cana, and Stella. BA Theatre Arts Education (UNC-G).