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Academy Faculty

Brantley Arrington

Director - Owner

Brantley moved back to Columbus after spending over 10 years in Chicago and Texas dancing professionally. While training at the Academy of Fine Arts under the direction of Patty Taylor, he completed his first degree in Early Childhood Education and Teacher Certification from Columbus State University. To further his dance education, Brantley was awarded the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship from Texas Christian University in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. At TCU, he was a member of the Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honor Society and earned his second degree graduating Magna Cum Laude in Ballet. While in Texas, Brantley danced with the Ballet Concerto Dance Company and trained under the late Fernando Bujones, of the American Ballet Theatre and Orlando Ballet.
To continue his dance career, Brantley moved to Chicago and was a scholarship recipient for Lou Conte-Hubbard Street Dance School and apprentice with River North Dance Chicago. For over 5 seasons, Brantley performed professionally throughout Chicago and toured both nationally and internationally to Japan. He is a former company member of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Inaside Chicago Dance, and Joel Hall’s Dial Dance Company. Brantley’s diverse stylistic performances in Chicago include various works with Chicago Crash, Dance Chicago, Lyric Opera Works, Alliance Dance, and soloist with Ballet Arts-Scholastica. 
While performing in Chicago, Brantley completed his Master of Arts degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Education and Dance from North Park University, graduating with honors. He is a current member of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and Dance Masters of America where he is certified, through rigorous testing, to instruct classes of all levels in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Tap.
For over 20 years, Brantley has been on the faculty of numerous dance studios where he instructs classes, intensives, master classes, and choreography workshops. His classes include Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, and Partnering. Brantley’s span of choreography includes Ballet & Contemporary dance companies, musical theatre productions, and competitions nationwide. Since 2006, he was the resident choreographer for the Lane Theater in Chicago and has received countless Platinum, Overall, and Top Choreography honors and awards. Along with dance instruction, Brantley has served as Jazz Director, Competition Team Coordinator, and Dance Curriculum Advisor for several dance studios.
In addition to his dance career, Brantley is a certified Group Fitness Instructor. He leads a variety of classes including Yoga, Pilates, Aerobics, and Conditioning.

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Leah Stewart

Assistant Director

Leah and her husband have relocated back to Georgia from Illinois. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Georgia College and earned a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Troy University. Her passion for working with children and adolescents is reflected both in her experience as a School Counselor as well as 10-plus years as a dance instructor.

Leah serves as the Assistant Director for the Academy, Teacher Assistant Program Coordinator, and Competition Coach/Choreographer, where her routines have received numerous Choreography, Judge’s Choice, and Overall Category Awards. Her teen/senior hip hop large group routine was selected in the top 5 out of 300+ routines at International Dance Challenge 2014.

Leah trained for 14 years at the Academy of Fine Arts Dance Center in Columbus, where she was a member of both the Apprentice Dance Company and competition team. She was a 4-year member of the Hardaway High School Dance Team, where she had the opportunity to travel to Miami, FL and perform in the 2007 Orange Bowl Halftime Entertainment show. During her years at Georgia College, Leah was a member and head choreographer for the award winning dance team, The Sassy Cats. There she trained with numerous Hip Hop and Jazz choreographers including Stephen Jones, star dancer in the ‘Step Up’ movie series. Leah is a former dance instructor with the Universal Dance Association (UDA), where she traveled the southeast instructing Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Pom, and Kickline technique and routines to dancers of all levels.

 Before moving back south, Leah served as the lead Outreach Dance Instructor for multiple dance studios in the suburbs of Chicago, IL.  Leah loves working with dancers of all ages and abilities and is excited to spread her knowledge, professionalism, and fun to dancers in the Valley area! She is the School Counselor at Gentian Elementary, and she and her husband, Kyle, welcomed their first child, Lillie Kate, last fall!

Kassi O'Donnell

Artistic Director

Kassi Bosco is an accomplished performer, teacher, and choreographer from Columbus, GA. Kassi is a graduate from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance. At VSU, Kassi was a 4-year member of the award-winning dance team, The Valdosta State Red Hots. On the team, she was a two time NDA All American. During her senior year as captain, she led the team to a National Championship in the Hip Hop Division.
While in her major at VSU, Kassi was a member and featured soloist of the SWAdance company performing at several conferences such as ACDA and The Modern Atlanta Dance Festival. She's trained with several company directors such as George Staib, of Staib Dance, and Kristin O'Neal, of Core Dance.
Kassi is a former dance and Head instructor with the Universal Dance Association (UDA), where she traveled the southeast instructing Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Pom, and Kick dance to students of all levels. Kassi still choreographs for numerous Dance Teams across the southeast.
Kassi previously resided in Chicago, IL and expanded her dance path to the North! While in Chicago, Kassi taught multiple genres at several studios around ChicagoLand, with her primary home being Beyond Center Stage in Elmhurst, IL- Where she was a main dance instructor and their Elevation Team Director.  Additionally to teaching dance, Kassi was also a Pure Barre instructor at Pure Barre Logan Square & Pure Barre Park Ridge. Pure Barre is where Kassi found her love for Fitness and enjoys sharing it with her clients in the community. 

Kassi is excited to return to the Academy Dance Center, where she truly found her passion for dance. When not at ADC, you can catch Kassi on the mic at Pure Barre Columbus or at home with her husband, Ryan and their Pug, Munson.


Pam Averett

Operations Manager

Pam has been a part of the Academy in different roles for over a decade is now part of the Academy's Business Staff. She is a graduate of Columbus State University with a B.S. degree in Science and minors in both Computer Science and Mathematics. Besides her regular presence at the Academy, she also volunteers with numerous church, school, and community activities. Pam and her husband, Anthony, have three children - Ashlyn, Alana, and Nicholas. 


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Mary Jane Bowden


Mary Jane, originally from Columbus, Georgia, graduated with a degree in Dance from the University of Alabama in 2013 on the SFA (Dean's Office) Scholarship, Dance Gift Fund, and Tutwiler Dance Scholarship. Upon graduation she moved to New York City where she participated in Broadway Dance Center's Professional Semester training program on scholarship. While in New York she performed on TV shows such as "The View", where Mary Jane was also the choreographer and Dance Captain for, "The Dr. Oz Show", and "Good Morning America". She had the opportunity to perform the work of many prestigious choreographers at places such as Lincoln Center, The Actors Home, and as a featured dancer in A Chocolate Avenue Christmas in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Since returning to Columbus, Mary Jane had a blast playing the role of Cha Cha DiGregorio in the production of Grease at the Springer Opera House as well as performing in West Side StorySingin' in the Rain and as the choreographer of The Great Gatsby. She received her Masters in Theatre Education with Teacher Certification while working as the graduate assistant to the dance minor at Columbus State University. Mary Jane also taught dance and theatre at Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts in MCSD for two years. She is also a STOTT Pilates instructor for Quest Pilates Studio. She is so excited to continue teaching dance where she first began her training at age 4! Mary Jane now resides in Phenix City, AL with her husband, two pups, and twin boys, Ford and Baker.  

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Amanda Blanchard


Amanda is a Columbus native where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Columbus State University, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in both Communication and Dance. Locally, she began her dance career at a young age, where she trained in various genres such as ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. Amanda's favorite style of dance is ballet; while at CSU Amanda studied and trained in ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance under Amy Taylor. Amanda teaches Pre-K at Brookstone School, loves working with our Mini Motions dancers at the Academy, and is recently engaged!

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Mallory Ragland


Mallory is a LaGrange, GA native who has recently moved to Columbus. She attended Columbus State University where she studied dance under Amy Taylor. This year she will be a paraprofessional at Eagle Ridge Academy as well as continuing to educate students through her passion for dance at Academy Dance Center.

Mallory started dancing at the age of 2 and has worked to develop her craft for 18 years. She has trained in multiple genres such as ballet, jazz, pointe, tap and contemporary. Over the years Mallory has danced with the Lafayette Ballet Company (Senior Company), Techniques School of Dance, and Elite Talent. Performance history includes being cast in leading roles such as Spanish and Snow Queen in the Nutcracker productions and Dame Gothel in the Once Upon a Time production.

Mallory also has over 15 years of experience in the competitive dance circuit. She has competed in lyrical, pointe, jazz, contemporary and tap. During her years of competition dance, she was awarded many Platinum and Double Platinum awards for her solos, duets and group dances. Her dance training has included numerous dance intensives, as well as various master classes and dance conventions.

She has passed on her love of dance through teaching at the Lafayette Center for Dance (2017-2020) and the Royal Academy of Dance (2021-2023) and is excited to continue this love of educating in dance to the students at the Academy!

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Chloe Geter


Chloe Geter is a senior honor student at Shaw High School where she is a member of the Beta Club and Spanish Honor Society. She is also a member of the Football Cheer Team. She has loved dancing at the Academy for 13 years, where she has had multiple performance opportunities through our End-of-Year productions as well as being a participant in all of the Academy’s Holiday Productions. Chloe has been on the Competition Team for 12 years and is a highly decorated and awarded performer. Most recently, Chloe has performed the roles of Cindy Lou Who in our 2nd rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Snoops in the Academy’s 2023 production of The Rescuers. In her free time, she enjoys working with children of all ages, whether she is a tutor, camp leader, or dance instructor. Chloe is excited to continue working with our growing dancers here at the Academy this season!

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Taylor Beecham


Taylor McKenzie Beecham is a senior honor student at Columbus High School, where she participates in multiple academic clubs and social groups. Taylor has danced at the Academy for 15 years and has been a committed participant in the Teacher Assistant program serving both as a Teacher Assistant and Junior Instructor for the Academy for over 5 years. Her experience ranges across from our Mini Motions dancers and up! Taylor has been an active member of the Competition Team for 10 years both as a student as well as an assistant coach.

She attended Rainey McCullers School of the Arts where she was a dance major and studied a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, modern, modern ballet, and many more. She has played memorable roles at the Academy such as Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol, and many more.

Taylor has a love and passion for teaching dance and is excited to expand on this as an Instructor on the Academy’s faculty this year!

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Skylar Gidron

 Junior Instructor

Skylar Gidron is a junior honor student at Columbus High School. She has danced at the Academy for 8 years and has been a member of the Competition Team for 5 years. She will be remembered for her recent portrayal of Nero the Crocodile in ADC’s 2023 Production of The Rescuers. As well as, Rue Who in the Academy’s 2022 Holiday Production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Skylar loves to travel and learn about different cultures and countries. She is also a volunteer for the Victim-Witness Advocate Program with the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Skylar is excited to continue her personal dance education in addition to working with students at the Academy this year.

Patty Taylor

Founder - Past Director

Patty, a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL., was the Owner and Director of the Academy for 45 years. Her certified training influenced students over many years to seek professional performing dance careers all over the United States, as well as become dance teachers and studio owners. As Artistic Director for the Patty Taylor Contemporary Dance Company for 26 years, the company toured internationally in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Greece and with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. 

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