Artist in Training

Kelsey Kempner

Kelsey Kempner

Kelsey Kempner is an 19 year old honors student currently pursuing a BFA in dance and a BS in neuroscience at The Ohio State University. Growing up in metro Atlanta, Kelsey took her very first dance class with Miss Heather Wayne at the age of 3. She has been a member of the Heather Wayne’s Dance Company for 11 years, training under the direction of Heather Wayne, Jessie Johnston Carmon, Melody Mills, Noel Dupuis, and Lonnie E. Davis Jr. As a member of this pre-professional company, Kelsey performed in a wide variety of settings in the genres of ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, contemporary, tap, musical theater, and hip-hop. Kelsey has also worked very closely and one on one with many choreographers, such as Will Wingfield, Monique Borromeo, Jessica King, Talia Favia, David Rosetti, and Cherrise Wakeham. To further her training, Kelsey has attended multiple intensives including Atlanta Ballet, Florida State, and the Joffrey ballet.

In 2015, Kelsey graduated from Mill Creek High School in the top 1% of her class. In the summer of 2015, Kelsey auditioned and was invited to guest perform with the Cherrise Wakeham’s Atlanta based contemporary company, Project 7, in their summer Los Angeles show.

Kelsey was a featured performer in Project 7’s LA show “SHE” where she was in multiple contemporary and musical theater pieces. In addition to performing in the show “SHE”, Kelsey and Project 7 were also invited to perform the opening number for the 2015 Capezio Ace Awards Show.

Since being at Ohio State, Kelsey was cast into guest choreographer Chien-Ying Wang’s repertory piece, “Benevolence.” This piece was performed in the Winter Concert for the OSU Dance Department. She was also awarded two academic scholarships as well as a dance scholarship. In addition to being involved with her academic studies, Kelsey has expressed leadership by bringing One Love, a national anti-domestic violence organization, to OSU. Kelsey is the campus leader for One Love at OSU. Most recently, Kelsey has worked as a research assistant to Dr. Madeline Hackney on her Neuro/Dance research at Emory University.

Birthday: 05/30/1997

Hometown: Dacula, Ga  

When did you Graduate High School? 2015

What college did you attend? The Ohio State University

What did you major in? Neuroscience & Dance

What is your career? Professional Dancer, Dance Teacher, Neuroscience Researcher

Family: Michele, Matt and Michael Kempner


Restaurant-  Mark Pi’s  

Food- Sesame Chicken

Song - Vieanna by Billy Joel

Show - Jane The Virgin

HWPA/HWDC Performance- All the dances from my Senior year (2014-2015) were the best

3 Hobbies:

  • Dancing
  • Traveling
  • Crafting

Special Trait: Able to double major in 4 years!  

Best/Funniest Dance Story: My hair pieces were known for coming out on stage. One time I was wearing a wig and a hat combo. During the dance the wig slid over my eyes and so did the hat. Becoming increasingly annoyed, I threw the hat off and pushed the wig up. I thought I was pretty smooth for pulling off the wardrobe malfunction. I soon found out that the stuffing in my hat was stuck to my wig the rest of the dance and apparently looked like a big diaper attached to my head.

Favorite Dance Style: Contemporary

What styles of Dance are you trained in: Contemporary (Cunningham, Horton, Floorwork, Varone, Etc.), Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, Improvisation, Hip-Hop

How old were you when you started Dance: 3

How many years did you Dance: 18 & Counting

What was your signature Dance move/trick: Past: Switch leap & turning second leaps. Present: Heartfelt dancing & grounded dancing

Favorite Quote: You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars. You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Laura Crabb


Laura Crabb was born and raised in Buford, Georgia. She graduated from Buford High School and was awarded the BHS Education Award as well as a scholarship from the Superintendent’s Scholarship Fund.  She lettered in academics all four years of high school and was a part of Beta Club and the Buford Leadership Team. Laura danced with Heather Wayne for 10 years, since the studio opened in 2002. In 2011 she was nominated for the Governor’s Honors Program.

At 24/7 Competition, she attained a jazz/contemporary scholarship and won outstanding stage presence for her solo at NYCDA in 2013.  Laura is currently at Kennesaw State University majoring in Mathematics Education. Her plan after graduating college is to dance for a few years then settle down to teach high school math.

Jordan Hopkins Douglas

Jordan Hopkins Douglas hwdc

Jordan Hopkins first received her dance training from Ms. Heather when she was 5. While in the Heather Wayne Dance Company, she performed in the 80th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, at Walt Disney World, at the Orpheum Theater (Off-Broadway), and at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockette’s Summer Intensive. She also performed with the Blackbox Players as “Alice” in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School. During her time at GAC, she was a member of the Varsity Competition Dance Team, Varsity Spirit Cheerleaders, orchestra, and was director and choreographer for numerous productions.

Jordan is now a graduate of Oklahoma City University in the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management headed by Dean John Bedford and under the direction of Jo Rowan, majoring in Dance Management with a History minor. During her time at OCU, she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Order of Omega, Blue Key Honor Society, Students of Arts Management, Alpha Chi, Delta Epsilon Iota, and Phi Eta Sigma.

Birthday: 02/20/1993

Hometown: Lawrenceville, Ga

When did you Graduate High School? 2011

What college did you attend? Oklahoma City University

What did you major in? Dance Management

What is your career? Event & Entertainment Management

Family: Husband - Tyler,  Mom - Kathy, Dad - Joseph


Restaurant-  Yachtsman Steakhouse

Food- Mom’s Mac & Cheese

Candy- Reese’s

Shoes-  New Balance

Accessories- Scarf

HWPA/HWDC Performance- When HWDC performed at Disney World

3 Hobbies:




Special Trait: I have a really high pitched scream

Best/Funniest Dance Story: When Leah’s bra stuck to the stage

Favorite Dance Style: Jazz

What styles of Dance are you trained in: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Stiletto, Musical Theater

How old were you when you started Dance: 4

How many years did you Dance: 22 +

What was your signature Dance move/trick: High Kick Layout

Favorite Quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sydney Lewis Askew


Sydney Lewis is a Senior at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and is a double major in Dance and Kinesiology. Sydney began dancing with Heather Wayne at the age of 3 and continued to train with her until she graduated from high school in the summer of 2013. With HWPADA Sydney had the opportunity to dance at Disney World, in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. She also attended various dance competitions and conventions receiving numerous convention scholarships and awards as high as platinum for both group and solo performances.

Sydney was a part of Heather Wayne’s Dance Company for 9 years and a part of Collins Hill High School Dance Company for 4 years.  Sydney received academic scholarships and two dance scholarships from UNCG, and is very happy to be able to continue her training there. Sydney was selected to be in 3 MFA and BFA theses in both the Fall 2013 semester and the Spring 2014 semester. Her dream, after undergraduate school, is to become a physical therapist for a major dance company. Sydney is grateful for all of the opportunities and support that Heather Wayne has given her over the years, and looks forward to what the future holds for her in dance.

Birthday: 01/29/1995

Hometown: Suwanne, Ga  

When did you Graduate High School? 2013

What college did you attend? University of North Carolina at Greensboro

What did you major in? Kinesiology with a minor in Dance

What is your career? I’m currently a doctoral student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Georgia Southern University

Family: Mom (Sheila) Dad (Sidney) Brother (Stephen) Husband (Ryan)


Restaurant-  Hitch in Savannah, Ga

Candy- Skittles

Accessories- Rings

HWPA/HWDC Performance- Disney World, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Senior Solo dedicated to my mom

3 Hobbies:

  • Shopping  
  • Reading
  • Pure Barre classes

Special Trait: I’m very easy going

Best/Funniest Dance Story: All of the crazy, unconventional, small places that we had to call "dressing rooms" or perform in (parking lots, schools, etc.) in the early days of the studio are my favorite memories. It just makes me so proud to see how far HWDC has come.

Favorite Dance Style: Jazz

What styles of Dance are you trained in: Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, Lyrical, African

How old were you when you started Dance: 3

How many years did you Dance: 20

What was your signature Dance move/trick: Any Jump

Favorite Quote: “She believed she could, so she did”

Leah Stinespring

Leah Stinespring HWDC

Leah was one of the founding members of Heather Wayne Dance Company in 2003.  She is a 2014 graduate of Flowery Branch High School and is now attending Southern Union State Community College on a full tuition dance scholarship.  Leah is a member of SUSCC Dancers and a member of Pi Theta Kappa Honor Society. During her freshman year at Southern Union Leah held a work study position with the dance department and the public relations department.  After graduation from Southern Union Leah will transfer to The University of Alabama where she has been accepted to the Dance Major Department and will obtain a double major in Marketing/Advertising and Dance Instruction.

Leah’s childhood was spent making wonderful memories with the most outstanding friends and family at Heather Wayne’s Performing Arts.  She spent countless hours at the studio in technique classes, rehearsals, performances and just hanging out with her friends. Leah won multiple scholarships throughout her years with HWDC.  She has had so many amazing opportunities to be trained by professional instructors such as Stephen “Twitch” Boss, Gregg Russell, David Rossetti, Jessica King and Will Wingfield to mention just a few.

“Being a member of HWDC and a student at Heather Wayne's Performing Arts not only provided me with the skills to exhibit my passion for dance, but I have had a wonderful mentor in Heather Wayne that will continue throughout my life.  Anyone can provide a facility for dance instruction to be taught but it takes an exceptional person to give their heart and life to the advancement and success of their students. Thank you Heather Wayne and all your amazing staff of instructors for providing a platform to build my future.”  HWDC for Life, Leah Stinespring

Name: Leah Stinespring

Birthday: 02/10/1996

Hometown: Flowery Branch, Ga

When did you Graduate High School? 2014

What college did you attend? The University of Alabama

What did you major in? Marketing & Dance

What is your career? Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer

Family: Curt & Teena Stinespring


Restaurant-  Chili’s

Food-  Teena’s Lasagna  

Candy- Sour Straws  

Shoes-  Any type of running shoe

Accessories- Earrings (always)

HWPA/HWDC Performance- Competitions

3 Hobbies:


-Planning Events  


Special Trait: My passion to see others succeed

Best/Funniest Dance Story: At our dancers showcase my freshman year of high school, I was tapping in a tap dance and I was sweating so bad that my sticky boobs came un-stuck and fell on the stage. When I tried to pick them up and throw them off the stage they STUCK. Moral of the story I was mortified at the time but now it is the funniest story.

Favorite Dance Style: Jazz

What styles of Dance are you trained in: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary

How old were you when you started Dance: 2

How many years did you Dance: Over 20 years

What was your signature Dance move/trick: Any kind of turn

Favorite Quote:  “If GOD so loved us, we also ought to LOVE ONE ANOTHER…

if we love one another, GOD abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

1 John 4:11-12

Rachel Blough

Birthday: 07/20/1995

Hometown: Dacula, Ga

When did you Graduate High School? 2013

What college did you attend? Mississippi State & Vanderbilt  

What did you major in? Secondary Education & Urban Education  

What is your career? 8th Grade Math Teacher  

Family: The Blough’s


Restaurant-  Bar Louie

Candy- Reese’s

Shoes-  Loafers  

Accessories- Big Hats & Earrings

HWPA/HWDC Performance- So many but mainly anything from my Senior Year

3 Hobbies:

  • Baking
  • Taking classes/constantly trying to learn different things
  • Growing Plants

Special Trait: Ambition

Best/Funniest Dance Story: I have 2! When Ella Kay was a baby Heather would sit her in the studio when we were tapping. I remember one time when she would cry every time we stopped dancing. But as soon as we started talking again she would be happy and smiling.

When I was in middle Heather made us sit in front of the mirror and tell ourselves we were beautiful and strong. It felt silly at the time but really resonated with me.

Favorite Dance Style: Tap

What styles of Dance are you trained in: All Styles

How old were you when you started Dance: 3

How many years did you Dance: 18 +

Favorite Quote: “Hey, It’s Heather here” - Heather Wayne

Bayla Thompson

Birthday: 12/27/1998

Hometown: Braselton, Ga

When did you Graduate High School? 2017

What college did you attend? Pennsylvania State University

What did you major in? Neuropsychology

What is your career? I’m hoping to enter the neuropsychology field by performing my own research in behavioral and mood disorders

Family: Family is represented to me as the people around me in my life who show an unwavering amount of mutual support and love.


Food- I LOVE any type of food really, I'm not picky at all. I love traveling the world and tasting different cuisines and opening my palette to an abundance of cultures

Candy- anything really. I like sour, chocolate, cotton candy, rock candy, etc.

Accessories- My favorite accessories have to be hair clips and bobby pins. I recently cut my hair and gave myself bangs so those hair accessories really saved me for a good week or so. I also really enjoy wearing rings and dainty necklaces. I feel like I can never wear too many rings, ever!

HWPA/HWDC Performance- one of my first performances. I was in the drama department and we did a cruise ship theme. That was super cool to me how all the departments came together to create a thematically seamless show.

3 Hobbies:

  • Painting and Sketching
  • Video Tape & Editing  
  • Reading

Special Trait: My special trait is how adaptable I am to new situations and environments. I am able to express all sides of my ethnic identity which facilitates immersion into new surroundings with a wider range of people and cultures.

Best/Funniest Dance Story: Best dance story was when we had recitals. I love the environment and the ability to see not only just dancers in HWDC but also the amazing talent that the whole studio showcases and works on throughout the entire year.

Favorite Dance Style: Musical Theater

What styles of Dance are you trained in: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop

How old were you when you started Dance: 13

How many years did you Dance: 7

What was your signature Dance move/trick: Aerial

Favorite Quote: “ You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” -Oprah Winfrey