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. For 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 15 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.

IMG-7634 (1).jpg

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 Team Director 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. Here 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, is married to her husband, Kyle, and loves to spend any extra time she can with their American Bulldog pup, Tucker!

IMG-1011.jpeg

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. 

 

ann headshot.png

Ann Flynn

Instructor

Ann has been the Academy Office Manager and ADC Instructor for over 20 years. She is the Mini-Motions Coordinator and also a Specialist in instruction for our young dancers with 24 years of dance and teaching experience. She is a graduate of Troy University and previously taught in the public school systems in Florida and Columbus. She is married to Joe Flynn and they have six daughters.

MJ Headshot 20-21.jpg

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 recently 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 spent the last two years as a dance and theatre teacher at Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts. She now resides in Phenix City, AL with her husband and two pups and is also a STOTT Pilates instructor at Quest Pilates Studio. She is so excited to begin teaching dance where she first began her training at age 4! 

Cope Headshot 20-21.jpg

Cope Vinson

 Instructor

Cope is a 12th grade Honor Student at Harris County High School. She is a member of the Beta Club, Student Government Association, DECA, and St. Luke Leadership Team. She has danced at the Academy for 13 years and is a member of the 'Celebrity' Competition Team. Cope has excelled through both the Academy's Teacher Assistant Program and as a Junior Instructor for multiple years.

Courtlyn Headshot 20-21.jpeg

Courtlyn Holt

 Instructor

Courtlyn Holt is currently a senior at Columbus State University. She is a Theatre major with a minor in Dance and a Musical Theatre Certificate, after changing her path from majoring in Music with focus in Opera. She trained for 16 years at Pink Slipper School of Dance in Albany, GA before moving to Columbus to begin her college training. Courtlyn is regularly involved in the musicals at CSU and the Springer Opera House. Recently, she was cast as Elle Woods in Columbus State University’s Legally Blonde. Other performance and casting experience includes CSU’s Guys and Dolls (Sara Brown), Cabaret (Fritzie), and the Springer Opera House’s Cinderella. Upcoming roles with the Springer for Courtlyn include Linda in Evil Dead: The Musical and Cindy Lou in the production of Winter Wonderettes. Courtlyn loves and trains in all styles of dance, however musical theatre and modern have stolen her heart. After college, she plans to move to New York to pursue a career in Musical Theatre.

Berkley headshot 21-22.jpg

Berkley McGee

 Instructor

Berkley is a 12th grade student at Northside High School where she is a member of DECA, Diamond Dolls, Northside Sisterhood, and a biomedical magnet student. She’s an active member of ‘The Corner’ Youth Group and a member of the St. Luke Leadership Team. Berkley has danced at the Academy for 13 years where she has completed the Academy’s Teacher Assistant program and Junior Teaching Program.

Headshot.jpg

Silvia Beltran

 Instructor

Silvia is currently a senior at Columbus State University. She is majoring in Nursing with a Dance minor. Silvia trained in Venezuela, where she is from, for 16 years. She focused on ballet, but also trained in jazz and flamenco. Silvia’s favorite style of dance is ballet; however, she has trained in jazz and modern dance at Columbus State University. She plans on expanding her training in dance by taking tap and lyrical classes. In addition to her career as a nurse, Silvia would like to continue to dance or teach dance in the future.

Amandas Head shot.jpeg

Amanda Blanchard

 Instructor

Amanda is a Columbus, GA native where she is a senior at Columbus State University. She is an Interdisciplinary Studies major, 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 jazz, tap, ballet, and lyrical. Amanda's favorite style of dance is ballet; however, Amanda has trained at CSU in ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance under Amy Taylor.

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.