Stephen Akinduro has been a student of a variety of dance-styles since he was a kid. Enamored by the moves of some of his favorite entertainers and the skills displayed by dancers on the TV-show "Soul Train", he started dancing in competitive dance-teams in secondary school and in college while living in Nigeria. His primary focus was African, Hip-hop, and freestyle dancing. In recent years he has become more focused on the Latin dance styles, including Salsa, Bachata and Merengue. Dancing has also been a technique Stephen uses to fight against clinical depression, which he has lived with for most of his adult life.
This is his third year dancing as a pro for "Dancing Stars of Columbus", the cause being near and dear to his heart as a caretaker of a family member living with dementia, and also having lost two grandparents due to complications related to Alzheimer's disease. He is humbled to be a part of the show and the prospect of making new lifetime friends, and hopes there will be a cure for this brutal disease in the near future.
Brantley Arrington has recently moved back to Columbus after spending over 10 years in Chicago and Texas dancing professionally. He completed his first degree in Early Childhood Education and Teacher Certification from Columbus State University. Brantley was awarded the Nordan Fine Arts Full Dance Scholarship from Texas Christian University in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX and earned his second degree graduating Magna Cum Laude in Ballet Performance/Choreography. To further his dance education, Brantley completed his Master of Arts degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Education and Dance from North Park University – Chicago, IL, 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.
Throughout Brantley’s performance career, he has had the opportunity to be a member and guest artist with several professional dance companies; dancing throughout the nation and internationally. His diverse stylistic performances include River North Dance Chicago, Inaside Chicago Dance, Texas Ballet Company, Joel Hall Chicago Dance Company, Texas Ballet Concerto, Chicago Lyric Opera Works, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre Midwest and principal soloist with Chicago Ballet Arts Scholastica. He is the former resident choreographer for the Lane Theater in Chicago. His choreography highlights include Annie, Gypsy, The Wiz, High School Musical, Guys and Dolls, and Grease.
Currently, Brantley is the Owner and Artistic Director of Academy Dance Center in Columbus. His classes include Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Partnering, and Competition Team instruction.
This is Brantley’s third year participating in “Dancing Stars of Columbus.” In 2014, he and his partner, Ginny Lawrence, were the Judges Choice winners. In 2015, he and his partner, Marie Moshell, were the People’s Choice winners. Also, in 2017, he and his partner, Isa Meeks, were the Judges Choice winners.
Ashlyn Averett is a student at Columbus State University majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Dance. She is a graduate of Columbus High School, where she was co-captain of their ‘Dancing Blue Devils’ Dance Team and a former Governor’s Honor nominee in Dance. Ashlyn trained at the Academy Dance Center for 15 years and is a former award winning competitor with the ‘Celebrity’ Competition Team. She recently performed the lead role of ‘Princess Tiana’ in the Academy’s production of, ‘The Princess & the Frog’ at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Currently, Ashlyn is on the faculty at Academy Dance Center where she is an Assistant Coach for the ‘Celebrity’ Competition Team and instructs multi-level classes in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop.
This is Ashlyn's first year dancing as a pro for "Dancing Stars of Columbus". Having lost two great-grandmothers diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she is humbled and excited to be a part of such an amazing event that continues to raise awareness and money to combat this disease.
Kassi Bosco is a graduate from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA with a Bachelor's of Arts in Dance. Kassi trained for 17 years at the Academy of Fine Arts Dance Center in Columbus, GA where she was a member of the Apprentice Dance Company and competition team. At VSU, Kassi was a 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 of the SWAdance company performing at serveral 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.
Currently, Kassi is the assistant director and competition director at Academy Dance Center! She is excited to dance with her partner, Cameron Saunders and tear up the dance floor for a great cause!
Tracie is a native of Hamilton, GA. She graduated from Harris County High School in 1998 and Columbus State University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science.
Tracie began dancing at the age of 5 and has continued throughout her adult years. She began competing with Cottrell Dance Studio in Columbus at the age of 10, being one of the youngest competitors to represent the studio at that time. She competed all through high school and into college. During her years at Columbus State, she was member of the dance team that won the conference championship two years in a row. She performed two years at the College Dance Team National Championships in Orlando, representing Columbus State.
Tracie has performed with the Moscow Russian Ballet, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and two Orange Bowls featuring Jon Secada and Gladys Knight. She has been an assistant and an instructor at Cottrell Dance Studio since her high school years. She currently teaches ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical, with a passion for tap and is one of the dance team coaches.
This is Tracie’s first year as a PRO for Dancing Stars of Columbus. She has a personal connection with Alzheimer’s, losing both of her grandmothers to the disease. She is honored to be participating in such a wonderful cause and hopes that because of our fundraising and research we can finally put an end to this devastating disease.
Chris De’Angelo is a native of Columbus,
Ga. He graduated from Columbus High School in 2009 and Albany State University
in 2014 with a BA in Speech and Theatre. Chris is a dance teacher at Company C
Academy of Dance, under the direction of Janda Cearley. As a proud member of
Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society, Chris McGhee has an unmeasured
love for the arts. He officially started his dance training at age 19 under the
direction of Tamela Ransom. With a late start to training, remarkably Chris progressed
very rapidly in various styles of dance. He has been a soloist in the World
Ballet Inc.'s Nutcracker and made it to the choreography round of Season 11
auditions of So You Think You Can Dance. Chris has directed, choreographed, and
performed at various shows while in undergrad. He inspires to be a successful
entertainer all on Broadway, Film, and Television. "To watch me dance is
to hear my heart speak"
Born into a military family at Ft Benning, GA, Joshua has lived almost his entire life in the Columbus area. Joshua attended and graduated from Chattahoochee County School System for all of his elementary, middle and high school education. A recent graduate from Columbus State University with a degree in Exercise Science, Joshua plans to go for his Masters in Occupational Health and Safety and is currently working at Aflac. Joshua’s dance career began only eight years ago at Company C, Academy of Dance in Columbus, Georgia. As a member of the competitive team, Joshua has been awarded numerous Top Overall placements, special judge’s recognitions, first place rankings at several regional and national dance competitions and also received the title of “2014 Mr. StarQuest.” Not only does he continue to train in various styles of dance including hip-hop, contemporary, ballet, tap and jazz, but he also serves as an Instructor for Company C, Academy of Dance. Joshua has had the opportunity to participate in the Miss Georgia pageant as a featured dancer for five years, has taught multiple summer dance camps for Columbus State University’s Continued Education “Activ8” program, as well as choreograph and coach multiple high school dance and cheerleading teams. Joshua is returning as one of the PROS for the third year and is ready to make this year even better than last year. Having a niece with a super rare disease, Late Infantile Batten Disease, raising money for associations that are trying to find a cure or promote awareness for any diseases, makes Joshua work even harder.
A native of Columbus, Georgia, Traci began
dancing at the age of 3 at Patty Taylor’s Academy of Fine Arts where she was a
member of the dance company and competition team. She is a dance instructor at
Company C Academy of Dance and has developed choreography for various teams and
pageant competitors in Georgia and Alabama. Along with her passion for dance,
she has a passion to help others with two and four legs, so when she’s not
dancing, you can find her volunteering in our community
Katie Jo Lewis
Katie Jo Lewis is a native of Phenix City who began dancing at the age of 4 at Rita Martin's School of Dance.
Some of her accomplishments include being a former assistant coach and choreographer for the Columbus Lady Lions Dance Team and the former co-owner and instructor at Capella's Dance Studio.
Katie Jo has found a deeper passion that's close to her heart through ministry dance.
She is happy to finally be a part of this amazing event and to be representing Company C Academy of Dance.
Megan is from Nashua NH, just 45 mins outside of Boston Massachusetts but recently relocated to the Columbus Georgia area because her husband who’s in the Army and stationed at Fort Benning. Megan started her dance career at the age of 2 at “The Dancing Corner” dance studio also located in Nashua NH. There she studied ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical until the age of 16. At 16 she had to put her dance career on hold for a torn labrum in her hip. After surgery and a year of physical therapy she continued her dance career as an assistant dance teacher at the YMCA of Greater Nashua. Megan did a year of assistant teaching before she was given her own set of classes; where she taught tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet and hip-hop to students ages 3-adult. The YMCA of Greater Nashua is the studio were she did all of her teaching before moving down to Georgia. She taught there for 8 years and assisted with their performance company as well as their competition team. While teaching there she was sent to master classes with hip hop dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss from “So you think you can dance?” As well as Deo Mwano who also was a contestant on “So you think you can dance?” And choreographed for Dancing with the stars. In 2012 Megan attended Fitchburg State University where she was apart of the Schools dance team. She danced there for a year in styles including, advanced tap, jazz funk and lyrical. After that year she suffered another torn labrum in her other hip which ended her college dance career in another hip surgery.
This is Megan's first year as a pro with Dancing Stars of Columbus. She is so excited to be part of such an amazing event. She hopes to help spread awareness and raise money for a cure if this terrible disease.
Sherman Williams, a native of Columbus and a USAF veteran started dancing at the age of 5 and became a bboy by the age of 10. He has traveled the world during his military career and civilian life doing numerous hiphop battles, teaching workshops, attending workshops, and judging battles. He has learned all types of styles such as breaking, krumping, tutting, locking, waving and much more. His hobbies include, dancing, dancing, dancing, and possibly eating. This event is something he has always wanted to do in order to both help a good cause and introduce his community to the culture that is hiphop. Watch as he head-slides into action.
“I haven’t had family directly affected by Alzheimer’s Disease but I’ve had plenty of friends who have had their families touched by it. If I can help them doing what I do best, then I will become the best at what I do.” - Sherman Williams (Bboy E-Musical)
I started dancing in ballroom dancing classes as a student at the University of Georgia. Just about every night, somewhere in town, there was some kind of dancing lesson followed by open dancing. A lot of partner dancing experience was gained through those engagements. I also took tap and jazz dancing classes at UGA. In 2008, I performed with UGA’s Ballroom Performance Group in their annual Ballroom Magic performance. Dancing Stars of Columbus in 2015 was my next time on stage. I won the competition at Columbus State University’s 1st ever “Spring Swing” event with a partner I first danced with earlier that night. They call me “The Dancing Man” at The Loft in downtown Columbus. I love dancing to live music.
I consider myself more of a professional businessman that dances for fun. I am an insurance agent with Country Financial that is honored to have been selected to participate in this event hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association of Columbus. I will gladly give my time to help fight this horrible disease. The more that I get to know my partner, Patty, the more honored I am to be helping to make her dreams come true. I am very grateful for this opportunity for me to work with Patty. What can I say? She is a STAR in Columbus! Wow!