KRISTY ULMER BLAKESLEE
A third generation studio owner who initially gained her love of the performing arts from family members who were musicians, actors, and dancers. Kristy's formal training steepened in the study of classical ballet, jazz, and tap. She traveled over the past 40 years and gained a broad foundation of training from many master teachers all over the world. For instance, she trained in jazz with Frank Hatchett, Gus Giordono, and Luigi to name a few.
After studying communications at Texas Tech University, Kristy began her first studio in Carthage, Texas. In 1983, Kristy returned to Plano where she taught dance and gymnastics for ten years at Tap N Toe with her mother Shirley Williams. In 1993, she started KJ Dance.
Kristy has choreographed musicals in the community for Pamela Hurt at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Kristy choreographed the following musicals: 42nd Street, Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone, Into the Woods, and her favorite, Crazy for You. She has choreographed and staged the annual children's cancer fund luncheon and the Ms. Collin County and Mr. International pageants. In the early days of the Plano television network, Kristy enjoyed choreographing for the recycling campaign. Kristy choreographed the Biblical Arts musical theater adaption of Via Delarosa at the center in Dallas.
Kristy's passion for the art of dance and her desire for mentoring young dancers is evidenced in all that happens at the KJ Dance Studio. Kristy loves to train young dancers to be disciplined, to adhere to strong values, and develop a selfless "others focused" mentality. "You cannot become a brilliant artist all alone, you must incorporate, learn from and share with others along your journey."
Personally, Kristy is married to Andy Blakeslee and is blessed with a large family of eight children and two grandchildren. Kristy is passionate about her work nurturing and helping students grow and mature in life and in dance. Lastly, she loves to watch her students dance!
JUSTINE PHILLIPS ORF
Justine Phillips Orf is an instructor of all styles of dance and is one of few that works with all age groups as well. Justine's choreography has been award winning among the KJ Pulse and Vibe dancers at regional competitions for years. In addition to her positive demeanor with her young students, she has made a name for the Drill Team Prep program at KJ. As Co-Director for KJ's Hip Hop Crews, Vibe and Vibrations, Justine has worked to expand the program and open the doors of opportunity for more young dancers wanting to perform and be a part of a team. Justine grew up dancing at KJ Dance under the direction of Kristy Ulmer. KJ is not just her place of work, but is like a home and a very special part of Justine's life because it shaped her love for dancing.
She began performing professionally immediately out of high school. Justine was selected for the Dallas Mavericks Dance Team in 2002, where she danced on the Mavs home court for three seasons. In addition, Justine's professional highlights include: appearing in a Chuck E. Cheese Christmas Video, performing as a back-up dancer at the 2004 Jingle Ball in Los Angles and Madison Square Garden- NYC, and many more.
Justine recently completed her fifth year with the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She was a member of the DCC's elite Show Group, and was honored to travel with the USO on seven tours overseas to perform for our Armed Forces in places such as Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, China, Japan, Guantanamo Bay, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Justine was honored to be chosen as a Group Leader for two years by the DCC Staff. While cheering, she was able to perform along-side many A-list celebrities including Neil McCoy, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, The Jonas Brothers, and Chris Daughtry. She also performed at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Justine was selected as the DCC Representative for the 2010 Pro Bowl in Miami where she performed and appeared on behalf of the Dallas Cowboys Organization. This past summer, Justine continued to perform nightly as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader at Six Flags as part of their 50th Anniversary "Celebrate Texas" Show.
When not dancing, you can find Justine in Frisco with her husband, Tony, son, Paxton and black lab, Phoenix. Justine and Tony have been married since April of 2008. Faith, Family, and Friends are priorities in her life.
Katey is a multi talented actress and dancer. Katey is originally from Dallas, TX. She grew up training at KJ with Kristy Ulmer, then moved to LA to pursue her dance career. She has worked with some of the top names in the dance industry including Justin Giles, Jackie Sleight, Desiree Robins, Mark Meismer, Doug Caldwell, and Kieth Young, to name a few.
Katey started her career working for Royal Caribbean cruise line, where she was a soloist in both "Rock on Broadway" and "Flashback." Other stage credits include, US tour with The Wiggles, Mary Kay Convention, "Love Notes" with Soul Escape, and "Thriller" with Odyssey Dance Theatre. She has performed in various productions with Disney. Katey also appeared in commercials for Old Navy, Big Lots, and Toshiba. She has taught and choreographed at numerous workshops and studios in Canada, Costa Rica, and across the US. One of Katey's greatest joys is sharing her love of dance with others through performing and teaching. She is over the moon about returning to teach at KJ. This studio has always been her second home. Katey's infectious personality and hard work ethic keep her in high regard amongst her peers.
Brian grew up in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Here, he received training from a variety of instructors locally and across the nation. Throughout his training, Brian earned many awards and competition titles. Additionally, he had the opportunity to dance at the Broadway Dance Center and various dance intensives on scholarship. As he trained in the Dallas Fort Worth area, he was asked to be an assistant for Tremaine and Dupree Conventions. Assisting faculty members of these nationally recognized dance conventions allowed Brian to have a hands on experience in teaching young dancers technique. The assistant opportunity also helped him to further create his unique choreography style.
Now, Brian is the Artistic Director of KJ's award winning Dance Company, Pulse. His choreography for large and small groups, solos, duets, and trios are nationally recognized, winning multiple awards and overall titles. Brian tours the country with the Dupree Dance Convention faculty as a choreographer and instructor. He also founded a costume company, Artistic Dance Designs, which launched in 2013. Lastly, Brian has been invited to teach at a number of dance intensives including the North Texas Summer Dance Intensive and Dallas Repertoire Ballet Intensive.
Audrey was born and raised in Plano, Texas, where she trained at KJ Dance with Kristy Ulmer Blakeslee. Here, she won awards including: New York City Dance Alliance Senior Outstanding Dancer, Shirley Williams Scholarship from KJ, and many others. While dancing at KJ, Audrey assisted Kristy Ulmer in choreographing the musical, “Crazy for You,” at Prestonwood Christian Academy.
After graduating high school, Audrey attended the University of Oklahoma. Here, she studied modern dance with a focus in Humphrey and Limon techniques from Austin Hartel. After freshman year, Audrey transferred back to Texas to study at Southern Methodist University. She then received her degree in Corporate Communications with a minor in Business, under Maria Dixon-Hall. Audrey earned her undergraduate degree in just three years.
During her time at SMU, Audrey was a Student Consultant for mustangconsulting, where she worked with various clients across the nation. Mustangconsulting is a program that provides students with hands-on learning, implementing communication theory as they work to solve real clients’ communications concerns. Along with mustangconsulting, Audrey had the opportunity to study and work abroad, in London, England. While at SMU, Audrey performed with Meadows School of the Arts dance majors. A couple of these performances included: Meadows School of the Arts Brown Bag and SMU Basketball Halftime. Currently, Audrey is the Director of Development at KJ Dance Frisco. She is thrilled to be returning to KJ as it has always been her second home. Audrey is passionate about connecting with others and sharing her love for dance!
Megan was born and raised in Plano, Texas. She has been dancing since she was two years old, receiving training in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, musical theater, and contemporary from KJ Dance under Mrs. Kristy Ulmer Blakeslee. There is nothing she loves more than a good cup of coffee, red lipstick, Disney movie marathons, and teaching young dancers how to share their story through movement.
Megan is the proud owner of a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Ring, having received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with minors in both Dance and Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Through her four years at Texas A&M, Megan performed with and choreographed for the Fade to Black Dance Ensemble.
In 2011, Megan had the incredible opportunity of being selected as a member of the LA DanceMagic Company. After her first year as a company member, she was chosen by convention faculty to serve as Apprentice for the following two years (2012-2014). In addition to this, Megan has been very blessed to be DJ Guthrie’s protégé and assistant, traveling the country, choreographing, and teaching master classes.
From tots to teens, Megan loves and excels in working with all age groups. Megan is very excited to be a part of the KJ Dance family, where she can share her passion for performance arts and teach her students that nothing is impossible as long as there’s... Faith,Trust, And a little bit of Pixie Dust!
Lisa is a favorite teacher among many of KJ's younger students. She teaches Rhythm & Rhyme and all levels of combination classes.
She has been teaching at KJ for 14 years and brings energy and fun to all her classes as she gives them a solid dance foundation to build on. Lisa has been an integral part of KJ's summer program each summer as she makes dance just a little more fun by adding crafts and other fun activities to camp time.
When Lisa is not at KJ she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing tennis, running, yoga and shopping. Lisa has two dogs, two cats and two beautiful daughters, Rachel and Lauren. Rachel danced at KJ for 13 years and is head cheerleader at Plano Senior High School. Lauren is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma.
She is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Commercial and Industrial Business degree. While at Tech, she was also head cheerleader and an NCA collegiate All-American. Prior to Texas Tech Lisa was a Kilgore Rangerette.
After a very rewarding performing career in Ballet, Broadway, Film , Television and video Jeff Amsden decided to dedicate his time and talents to teaching, training and mentoring the next generation of dancers.
In 1990 he co-founded the Professional Dance Center of Tokyo Japan bringing American Style Jazz and contemporary dance to students eager to learn all the newest techniques from NY and LA. Jeff headed the studio staffing it every two months with Master teachers from both coasts offering students in Japan a rare opportunity to study with America's best Master teachers. It was while in Japan that Jeff had the opportunity to teach and choreograph for Carrie Ann Inaba , the judge of Dancing with the Stars. Carrie Ann Credits Jeff as being her first professional Jazz teacher.
After running the Professional Dance Center in Tokyo for three years, Jeff changed his focus to LA and was hired on staff at The Edge performing Arts Center in Hollywood. While at the Edge Jeff met student Sheryl Murakami and was instrumental in encouraging her to keep dancing and performing. Now Sheryl is a wildly successful teacher and choreographer and is best known as Beyonce's choreographer and was awarded an MTV award for best choreography for Beyonce's Run The World video. From LA, Jeff went to London to be Associate Choreographer for the West End Production of Saturday Night Fever. The show was nominated for Best Choreography at the Olivier Awards .
From London Jeff moved back to NYC where he had trained as a young dancer on Scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School. Jeff launched his own show A Few Good Men Dancin' and also began a long term relationship teaching at Broadway Dance center. Jeff taught Jazz, lyrical and Ballet at Broadway Dance Center for ten years and continues to teach master classes there when he is in town. Jeff worked closely with the scholarship, pre professional trainees while at BDC and students that he mentored have gone on to dance in Videos, Broadway shows and are dancing with The famed Radio City Music Hall Rocketts. While in NYC Jeff also was honored to teach at the Joffrey Ballet School and was instrumental in the launching of the Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and contemporary workshops. Jeff also was invited to teach master classes at Marymount Manhattan University as well as Pace University.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised in San Diego, California, hardy grew up struggling with obesity and weighed 315 pounds by eighth grade. During his struggle, he experienced bullying, fear, and isolation. Around the time hardy began high school, he began taking dance classes, and found that movement allowed him to express himself in a way that he couldn’t before. later, hardy flourished at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, and his abilities soon earned him a full scholarship to the academy of performing arts in san Diego.
Hardy won a full scholarship to Philadelphia university of the arts, where he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ballet performance. He joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet during his senior year, and toured with the company throughout the us, Italy, and Israel. hardy performed in works such as mercy, moon over jupiter, and rise.
in 2011, hardy returned to Hollywood, working in commercial dance and teaching choreography. It was the beginning of hardy’s exploration of dance with his faith as the foundation that he began investigating the bible, not only to deepen his relationship with god, but also to understand the scriptures’ perspective on the nature of art and the artist. In January 2012, hardy received yet another full scholarship, at the university of California, Irvine. he researched the exploration of sacred dance and choreography for his thesis, “ the journey to salvation,” which was also exemplified in his choreographic thesis of the same name.
Emily began her dance training at age 11 In Durham, NC under the direction of Lindsay Tilley. At the age of 15, Emily moved away from home to study ballet at Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman and Tyrone Brooks. Emily then trained and graduated high school form The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC under the direction of Ethan Steifel. She has spent several summers training with NC School of the Arts, Atlanta Ballet and Carolina Ballet. While training, Emily has danced works by Melissa Hayden, Jennifer Medina, Armando Luna, Alonzo King, Heather Maloy, Tyler Walters, and Jennifer Archibald among many others.
Emily graduated college from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC with a BFA in Dance. While in college, Emily trained under the direction of Galina Panova, and Timour Bourtasenkov. She has performed in every East Carolina's main stage production.
After graduation Emily moved to Austin and taught for Ballet Austin before moving to dallas to dance with Avant Chamber Ballet. Emily danced with ACB for four seasons, and has been with the KJ Family, since 2012.
Eddie is an American recording artist, dancer, & choreographer. Born in youngstown, OH, he began dancing at the age of 3. Growing up, Moody competed in many national competitions, winning top awards, and training with some of the best choreographers in the industry. Moody gained national and international exposure while touring with the group WWOW in his later teen years. He has done tours with and opened for artists such as Justin Bieber, Westlife, Jason Derulo, T-Pain, Katy Perry, Twista, B.o.B, Jay Sean, MGK and many others. As a choreographer/teacher, Moody has been a member of the prestigious Millennium Dance Complex faculty for the past 3 years. He also travels to many dance studios and schools across the country to teach and choreograph as much as possible. Most recently, Moody is enjoying his time touring with LA Dance Magic while still focusing on recording his music, shooting music videos, and teaching/choreographing across the country for other artists. He has choreographed two videos coming out with a new Interscope Records, signed two music videos of his own, and plans to release his first solo studio ep before the end of 2016. Moody is currently living in Dallas, TX, having fun trying many things such as photography, graphic design, and occasionally switching his usual title of "artist" ro "director/producer" on the set of a music/dance video.
Cory FInn is one of the most highly sought after master tap teachers in the country. His unique rhythmic style, along with genuine care for his students keep him in high demand. Cory has performed with various tap companies and stage productions including Rhapsody in Taps, Power Tap, and Men at Work, to name a few. He has also had the honor of working with such tap legends as: Gregory Hines, Henry Le Tang, Sam Weber, and Mark Mendoca.
Cory has taught on numerous touring convention circuits including: Nuvo, LA Underground, LA Dance Magic, Hollywood Vibe, Pacific Coast Dance Fest, and Hollywood. Some of his commercial credits include Toyota, Taco-Bell, Dr. Pepper, and Disney. Cory continues to set his award winning choreography on dance companies and studios all over the country. His students have gone on to perform in every medium of the entertainment industry on stages all over the world. Cory is thrilled to have joined the KJ family.
Justin was born in Irmo, SC to a decorated, multi-sport athlete and a seasoned professional dancer/performer. His father groomed his sills on the field while his mother trained him in the dance studio. After much success as an athlete and dancer, he began touring the US as an assistant to renowned choreographers and on the convention circuit. At the age of 21 Justin was asked to travel to Seoul, Korea to instruct and perform with the highly respected POZ Dance Theatre. Justin returned home inspired, thus making the decision to start his own company.
Today SoulEscape is considered one of the most innovative and inspiring professional dance companies in the US. His work has been described as "inventive", "awe-inspiring", "raw", and "naturally beautiful" by show audiences. Justin's innate ability to story tell sets his work apart and continues to bring a new dimension to the professional company realm. Justin continues to work with dancers from all over the world, and maintains that his true calling is connecting with and inspiring the next generations of young artist. He is known for his natural approach to teaching and continues to be one of the most sought after choreographers and teachers in the industry.
PU LANI CARLSON
Ms. Pu-Lani dance experience spans over 30 years. Pu-Lani has trained at Betty Johnston's Dance Studio, Performing Arts Academy in Michigan, as well as at Broadway Dance Center, & the Joffrey Ballet Dance Studio in New York, NY. Pu-Lani has received her Grade III Cecchetti certification and holds a B.A. in Dance from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Pu-Lani has danced professionally with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Ging Production, Mopo Bears Production, Center Dance Ensemble and "5 Degreez of Danze" Modern Dance Company. Pu-Lani was also featured in the 2002 Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Half-Time Show and in the 2006 4th of July Frisco Freedom Festival at Pizza Hut Park, home of the FC Dallas Soccer team.
Pu Lani's allocates include, "2013 Continental Who's Who" in her achievements and excellence in Dance and Small Business entrepreneurship. Most recently, June 2016 - by LIVING MAGAZINE, nominated from it's readers, "BEST dance studio" for local businesses. Pu-Lani has choreographed and performed in dance ministry productions at Faith Church, Hope Church, Woodside Bible Church, Kensington Community Church, NewStart Church, the Journey Church and Frisco First United Methodist Church. When Pu-Lani isn't dancing, she enjoys spending time with her 3 children and friends as well as pursuing her love of photography, outreach ministry and poetry.
Kristy grew up in the Youngstown, Ohio area where she trained as a dancer under Linda Diamond and then began teaching and further her training at Jamie’s Dance Force. While teaching, training, and competing, she also earned a degree in Sociology and Psychology and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Youngstown State University. Kristy’s diverse education keeps her well rounded and provides many different ways to engage students and enhance the classroom environment. Her primary love is found in the art of tap dance.
Kristy has studied under such master choreographers as Ayodele Casel, Jason Janas, Cory Finn, and Mark Goodman. She has taught recreational as well as competitive students of all ages and received accolades both locally and nationally for her technique and choreography. Kristy has been proactive in numerous community projects and worked in conduction with several school districts both as a paid professional as well as a volunteer to bring the arts to the people.
Her love for fitness and artistic expression coupled with a drive for education will be an asset in the classroom for any driven student. She has most recently completed the certification courses for Booty Barre© in Wexford, PA. She looks forward to “sharing floor” with you all!
Allison has lived in Oregon, Minnesota, and Louisiana, but Frisco, Texas, is home for her. She joined KJ Plano at age 12, where she was a company member in “Pulse,” until she graduated from Frisco High School in 2010. While at KJ, Allison attended conventions such as New York City Dance Alliance, West Coast Dance Explosion, LA Dance Magic, Tremaine, and NUVO. As a member of “Pulse” she had the opportunity to travel across the country to places such as New York, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida. While dancing at KJ, Allison assisted Ms. Kristy with instructing the younger generation and fell in love with teaching. Some of her favorite memories while at the studio were performing in the Nutcracker, the Grinch, and of course, the recital!
Upon graduating high school, Allison moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to pursue her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University. During this time, she was a member of the LSU Golden Girls from 2010-2015. While on the dance team, Allison traveled all over the world and danced in places such as Hong Kong, Germany, and Ireland. One of the highlights of Allison’s dancing career was performing in the Superdome in 2011 for the College Football National Championship game. Allison graduated from LSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Social Work. Upon graduation, she auditioned and was selected for the 2015-2016 New Orleans Saints Cheerleaders. During this time, Allison worked in the sales department of FOX 44 in Baton Rouge, La.
Currently, Allison lives in Frisco, TX and is a teacher's aid for Special Education at Lone Star High School. She is pursuing her teaching certification and is beyond excited to be back at home. Allison is a PROUD KJ alum and is humbled to return to her second home and teach the younger generation at KJ Frisco.
Towa Shinagawa started her training with Masako Tamura Ballet in Japan. In 2006 she moved to the US, and received many years of training with Pacific Northwest Ballet under the director of Peter Boal. There she had the opportunity to perform roles in Cinderella, Coppélia and Kent Stowell’s Nutcracker with the company. Her professional career started with their Professional Division Program for two years, continued as an apprentice with Ballet Austin, and then corps de ballet with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. This is Towa’s first season with Avant Chamber Ballet.
Character | Competence | Compassion