Tony earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 2007, and she performs and choreographs in many dance styles; among her favorites are modern dance and hip-hop. Tony also studied and danced at the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University and is pursuing K-12 Certification. She has taught at many national events, including the New Orleans African Dance Festival at Tulane University and she conducted outreach programs in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Public School Systems as a Teaching Artist. Tony continues to enjoy connections and collaborations with other artists in Pittsburgh and Michigan. She enjoys spreading her love of hip-hop and its history through teaching master classes and lecture demonstrations at the University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College. Tony continues to make her mark in the dance field by teaching studio classes and competitive dance at multiple studios, schools and churches in the mid-west and east coast. She is inspired by Rennie Harris, with whom she has worked as Rehearsal Director for “Heaven” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has been a company member with People Dancing and is the founder and Artistic Director the Haus of Dance now based out of Jackson School of the Arts where she is also on the dance faculty.
Jenna Spinei is a performer, educator, choreographer and movement therapist, who has worked in Ireland, England and the United States. She received her early dance training from The Dexter School of Dance, Music and the Performing Arts and Studio 1 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she trained in jazz and ballet with TeDee A. Theofil. She received a Movement Science Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Later, she received a Master of Arts in Dance Movement Psychotherapy from Goldsmiths, University of London, England, where she graduated in 2014 as a Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist (RDMP) by the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy, United Kingdom (ADMP UK). In addition, she spent a year training at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London.
Angelina Dickinson graduated from Spring Arbor University in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Fine Art and a Minor in Visual Art. She has played the piano virtually her entire life, and taught both piano and private voice lessons for five years, as well as performing in numerous choirs and touring music groups. Angelina started dancing at age 2, taking on and off ballet and tap while growing up. Starting in middle-school through college, Angelina studied Irish Step-Dance at the Academy of the Arts under Jesyka Beers. She has performed in a number of locations, including Las Cruses, New Mexico and Carlos Pas, Argentina. Angelina has also studied ballet at Grace School of Dance and Jackson School of the Arts for the past 5 years. In addition, Angelina has studied historic contra-dance, folk dance and both traditional and informal ballroom dance. Angelina was in both an East Coast Swing club and a Latin Dance Club in college and studied folk dance abroad in Argentina, Bermuda and Spain. Angelina has participated in various dramatic performing groups debuting in a university play at the age of 12. She has performed and provided costumes for numerous plays at Spring Arbor University, where she is currently employed as Costumer. Her studies in theatre included directing, theatre history, stage-combat, costuming, script-writing, and stage hair/make-up and effects (such as prosthetic creation and application.) Angelina began teaching theatre in 2014 at PIONEERS Home School Co-op and since then has branched out to direct her own theatre as well as consult at several community theatres in the Spring Arbor area and teach guest theatre classes for Ballet 5:8 in Chicago. Angelina loves the creative processes wherever it can be found, and continually strives to better herself as both an artist and a teacher.
Aimie attributes her love of dance to her first dance instructor Connie Wolin who introduced her to tap and Al Gilbert. Aimie danced at Albion College under Heather Vaughn-Southard and also studied with Martha Petry (Jackson College) where she also worked as adjunct faculty for the dance program. She taught at Susan Vaughn’s School of Dance for seven years and since 2016 has joined Jackson School of the Arts staff. Most recently, her choreography was seen on the stage with Center Stage Jackson, both with main stage and youth theater productions. Aimie specializes in tap, but has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and ballroom.
Mary has been learning and practicing the art of Russian ballet all her life and continues to enroll in ballet intensives and perform. While dancing under the instruction of Deborah Shiposh and Katrina Frelich at Brighton School of Ballet, Mary has had the opportunity to dance in over a dozen renditions of the Nutcracker, several recitals, and perform with the Moscow ballet. Mary is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and is excited to share her deep love and passion for dance at Jackson School of the Arts. She currently teaches and leads the ballet technique program, where students can experience a more advanced ballet curriculum and training. This is her fourth year at Jackson School of the Arts, where she enjoys building relationships with her students and their parents. She currently lives in Ann Arbor with her husband.
Keegan has owned his own dance studio for the past 3 years, and he specializes in teaching break dancing to students ages 3 to 67. He has been break dancing for the past 10 years. His dance group, 61Syx Teknique, travels to various venues to entertain and get audiences involved in breakin’! He just wrapped up his first season on the Chicago Bulls Dance Team. We are excited to have Keegan return to Jackson School of the Arts.
Jennae has been an enthusiastic dancer since the age of 4 taking classes with Ginger McNetton, the former dance program coordinator at Jackson School of the Arts. Her first loves are tap and ballet, but she also enjoys hip hop and jazz. There is a very obvious gift when Jennae works with young children, as they seem to gravitate towards her, and her love of dance becomes infectious. This is Jennae’s 4th year teaching at Jackson School of the Arts.
Ms. Meghan trained at the Fenton Dance Academy for 9 years and she danced competitively for 9 years, attending many competitions and 3 Nationals, competing in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, modern, lyrical and pointe. She continues to attend dance workshops around the country. She leads her church’s hip hop dance team. Meghan has also performed at half time for the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock.
Christina Sears MFA, is a performer, choreographer and educator with professional experience in many forms of dance, including ballet (Vaganova and American styles) modern, tap, jazz, improvisational performance, contemporary performance, and site-work. She is Artistic Director of People Dancing since 2000, and teaches in public and private settings. She earned a BA from University of Michigan, and later, after dancing professionally in New York City and London, obtained a MFA degree from State University of NY, College at Brockport. IN 2011, she joined the faculty at Eastern Michigan University. Other teaching in higher education include: Wayne State, Towson University and University of Michigan: Flint. She has expertise in choreography for Ballet, Opera and Musical Theatre and also in Laban Movement Analysis and Somatics. Recent choreographies include: Vocal Arts Ensemble, Eastern Michigan University Dance Company, The Factory Dance Co., Hillsdale College Dance Program, ArtLabJ Workshop, Detroit Dance City Festival, and for solo dance artists. Christina’s choreography was recently presented at the International Season of Dance, 2014 Diaspora Arts Festival at Cave Hill campus in Barbados, West Indies.
Jode Piotrowski, Art Program Coordinator has a business degree in Graphic Communications from Baker College. She also has a Child Development Associate from Jackson Community College. She owned and operated her own preschool, Happy Hearts Children’s Center for six years where she worked as the director and lead teacher in the classroom and she has worked at Northwest Preschool and in visual merchandising at Elder Beerman Stores. She has taught various art classes for Jackson School of the Arts, including on-site classes, summer art camps, as well as the After School Art Programs for the past five years. Jode began teaching at Jackson School of the Arts after helping with the creation of the props and scenery for the 4th Annual Fairy Festival.
Carey studied Art and K-8 Education at Adrian College. As a Jackson native, she has spent the last eight years in Jackson teaching Art to Kindergarten through eighth graders. She enjoys implementing her art experiences and art history background in all of her lessons and classes. She strives to create a supportive classroom nature, teaching young artist that there are NO mistakes in art. Everyone in her classroom can create an original masterpiece that they can be proud of!
In a variety of capacities, she has helped organize innovative art programs for young artists. Programs including Mural Clubs, Saturday Art Camps, Community service Art, and an Annual Chalk Mural Competition. When time is available, Carey is a painter who enjoys creating mixed media portraits.
Kevin Nichols has been cartooning for over 40 years. He used his cartoon skills as an integral part of his 28 year career in the newspaper business doing comic strips, editorial cartoons and humorous illustrations for the Jackson Citizen Patriot and MLive.com. He now makes his living as a full time freelance cartoonist and professional musician. This marks his second season teaching cartooning for Jackson School of the Arts.
Gabrielle Piotrowski has been drawing and creating art since before she could walk! Her earliest doodles were at about six months old, and she has continued to create and master her skills every chance she gets. She has taken high school art classes, and was in Yearbook for two years where she worked on creating the entire yearbook, from photography, to editing in Photoshop, to layout and design. She is currently attending Spring Arbor University for a dual-enrollment Art Foundation Class. She has participated in the ART 634’s 24 Hour Art Show, and was chosen for the 2016 Emerging Artist Art Show in Jackson, Michigan. Gabbi’s art has been in multiple Jackson Area School Art Shows where she has received many ribbons and awards for her work. One of her pieces was selected by Ella Sharp Museum for the Art A Loan Exhibit. She has always had a great passion for drawing and painting but also enjoys photography, mixed media, and watercolor. Gabbi enjoys working with students in the classroom as an art instructor for Jackson School of the Arts, where she teaches the Cartoon Classic classes. She is a senior at Northwest High School, and is currently attending campus tours to decide what university she would like to attend this fall to pursue a degree in Fine Art.
Shannon Reif earned her Bachelor of the Arts while studying the Fine Arts of drawing and painting at Spring Arbor University. She found much success in the collegiate art circle, entering art shows and receiving many awards, such as Best of Painting in the Small College Art Exhibition in 2015. Also during her time at Spring Arbor, she volunteered as the Art Coordinator for the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder and fell in love with teaching art to children. This led her to broadening her knowledge by taking classes in writing for children, child psychology, and children’s spirituality, in addition to her Fine Arts classes. Shannon strives to use art as a vehicle to help children see that they are creative, capable, and valued. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Book Illustration online through Academy of Art University of San Francisco.
Rhiannon Ragland is a Resident Artist at the Purple Rose Theatre Company. Her performance credits include Miles and Ellie, 33 Variations, On Golden Pond, Escanaba in Da Moonlight, Some Couples May, Boeing-Boeing, Our Town, Gravity, A Streetcar Named Desire, Apartment 3A and Growing Pretty.
She made her directing debut with The Stone Carver, 2012 and was costume designer for Miles and Ellie (2013) and The Last Romance (2014). She choreographed the 2010 production of Gravity. Rhiannon is also an instructor of children’s and adult classes at Jackson School of the Arts and is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.
Dr. John Lennox has trained in various forms of swordplay for over 25 years. Beginning with the katana, he later moved into the western weapon styles. Through his involvement in stage combat for theater over the past 29 years he began to study a myriad of weapons. He is a Fight Director for Art of Combat, an Honorary Fight Director with the Australian Stage Combat Association, and he has taught stage combat at Indiana University/Purdue- Ft. Wayne, Lansing Community College, Jackson Community College, Centenary College and Wayne State University.
He is an instructor with the Historical Martial Study Society, as well as an expert level knife instructor for the School of Two Swords. Over the past few years he has focused on unarmed combat theory as well as fighting with knife and tomahawk. His recent research includes German smallsword and Aztec/Mayan combat systems. Since 2006 he has been teaching at workshops all over the world, including the Paddy Crean International Art of the Sword Workshop, The Shenandoah Project, the Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History (S.W.A.S.H.) in Leeds, England, and numerous workshops in Scotland, England, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Mexico and Canada. He is the author ofA History of Stage Swordplay: Shakespeare to the Birth of Film, and has presented several lectures at symposiums and conferences. He is currently working on publishing a book on fight direction entitled Truth in Action. He is routinely called in to colleges and universities for workshops on historical combat and stage combat. John holds a PhD in Theater with cognate studies in historical fencing from Wayne State University.