Kim Diepold- Instructor
Kim began dancing at the age of 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She began as a competitive dancer and later shifted her focus to ballet and modern technique. She studied simultaneously at Northwest School of the Arts and Piedmont Dance Conservatory, where she performed soloist roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, and George Balanchine's Serenade. In December 2012, she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University. During her time there, she participated in a variety of performance opportunities and volunteer organizations, including The Dance Project - a community outreach group that offered free dance classes to local schools. Through the school's International Programs, she spent a summer studying dance in Paris. She has supplemented her training with a variety of intensives and workshops, including the American College Dance Festival and UNCSA Winter Dance Festival. She has performed professionally with Moving Poets and Asheville Ballet, and spent a summer working and training with the second company of Nashville Ballet. She currently teaches ages three through adult at numerous studios in the Charlotte area, including Jami Masters School of Dance and Open Door Studios. She is also the Studio Manager of Iron Butterfly Pilates, and serves as the Assistant Artistic Director of Open Door Studio's Youth Ensemble.
Whitleigh Cook- Owner and Director
Whitleigh began dancing at the age of 6 in the Charlotte area. Her training consisted of competitive and convention style education traveling throughout NC and the country for continued education. With her competitive training, she won several scholarships to Steps on Broadway, Joffrey Ballet, Luigi's Dance Center, and Harlequin Dance Floors along with several awards from many dance competitions as a young dancer. Whitleigh also participated in the various levels of Miss Dance of North Carolina where she received several awards. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance in May 2010. Whitleigh is a past National Board Secretary for Delta Chi Xi Honorary Dance Fraternity, Inc., member and past ambassador of the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, judge for regional and National Dance Competitions, as well as local pageants, Choreographer for the Audrey Kell High School Dance Team, is a Women Inspiring Strength and Hope Society Member in the Make A Wish Chapter of Charlotte, and an Elevate Lifestyle Magazine Top 30 Under 30 Future Leader of Charlotte for 2017, 2021 Tina Ross Leadership Award for Community Involvement for Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce. Whitleigh was a 2 year veteran and Super Bowl NFL Cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers. Whitleigh is certified to teach through Dance Masters of America, Inc.
Abi Carney- Instructor
Abi grew up in Mint Hill, North Carolina, and has been dancing since she was four years old. She started her dance career as a student alongside the now Owner and Director, Whitleigh Cook. Following that, Abi was a student of Whitleigh's for five years and was a member of the competition team for four of those years. In addition to taking classes, and competing her senior year of high school, Abi took on a few of her own classes at the studio. This is where she discovered her passion for teaching. Her childhood dream of becoming a dance instructor came true, and she continues to live this dream out with the Mint Hill Dance Center family. She is proficient in jazz, ballet, tap, and modern, with a niche for tap specifically. She has won several competitive awards as a dancer and as a teacher, Abi is the choreographer for our Competitive Company team.
Alessandra began dancing at the age of 4 in her hometown of Southern Pines, NC. During this time, she studied at a ballet-based studio where she performed many lead roles including Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Princess, Black Swan, Lilac Fairy, and more. She also spent time on stage competing with the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organization, where she held a local title and received many talent and fitness awards. In 2017 she received her Bachelors of Science in Communication from East Carolina University. During her time there, she was a member of the ECU Dance Team and served as captain her senior year. While dancing for the ECU Dance Team, she competed at the collegiate national level in Daytona, Florida every year and was selected as an All-American Dancer her senior year. After graduation, she followed her dream to dance professionally and auditioned to become an NFL Cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers, where she awarded a TopTicket. She is now entering her third season cheering with the Carolina TopCat’s. During this time, she has also been teaching dance and gymnastics, as well as choreographing solos for local pageants. Her choreography has been featured in many shows and recitals, including on the Walt Disney World Performing Arts stage in Disney Springs.
Gena Penley and Danielle Rubino
Blue- MHDC Mascot
Lil Charlie Blue hangs out in the MHDC office greeting dancers and families with his symphony of barking, endless kisses, and wagging tail. Feel free to give him love at any time.