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, are excited to announce they are expecting a little girl this November!

Kassi Bosco

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 Fiance, Ryan and their Pug, Munson.

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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

Instructor

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

 Instructor

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 3-K at Brookstone School and loves working with our Mini Motions dancers at the Academy!

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Sage Law

 Instructor

Sage is a junior at Columbus State University, where she is majoring in Theatre Education. She trained for eight years at Simply Dancing Studio in Lilburn, GA, where she gained experience in numerous styles of dance. She is continuing her craft at CSU under the instruction of Amy Taylor. Sage has been an integral part in the Academy’s Summer Dance Series and enjoys working with students of all ages.

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Silvia Beltran

 Instructor

Silvia is currently a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major at Columbus State University with paths in Health Science and Dance. Silvia trained in Venezuela, where she is from, for 16 years. Her primary foundation is in ballet, but also trained in jazz and flamenco. More recently, she has continued her training in jazz and modern dance at Columbus State University, where her love for ballet also still flourishes. She has expanded her teaching genres to include tap as well. After graduating from Columbus State University, Silvia plans to keep teaching dance as well as continuing her career in the field of health science.

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Ashlynn Wilbanks

 Instructor

Ashlynn is a senior and has grown up dancing since she was 4 years old. Her passion for dance started at a young age but has grown significantly during her time at the Academy, where she is a member of the ‘Celebrity’ Competition Team. Ashlynn has 5 younger siblings who play a big role in her interest in children and education. She has volunteered in the Kid’s Ministry with toddlers at Mid Tree Church for several years. She has also organized and taught a dance camp for the elementary students at Calvary Christian School. Most recently, she enjoyed the opportunity to teach at Academy’s Encanto Princess Dance Camp during the summer. Ashlynn enjoys teaching all age groups and looks forward to sharing her love of dance with others! 

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.