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.
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.
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.
bio coming soon
Dammy started dancing at a young age training in contemporary and modern. While studying psychology at the University of Michigan he danced with a branch of the international dance company Dance 2XS, eventually becoming one of the branches Co-Artistic Directors. He’s the former Creative Director of Next Level Dance Company, a youth and adult hip-hop dance company based in Detroit. Next Level competes across the Mid-West region and has taken 3rd place overall at Word of Dance Chicago twice, as well as placing and winning at various other competitions across the Midwest and country. They have earned two invitations to compete at World of Dance International Finals L.A., once in 2015 and again in 2017. Dammy loves working with both adults and children and is always looking to push dancers to think outside of their box and find their personal style.
bio coming soon
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 and is also the Director of Kids Create, an immersive preschool experience in the arts.
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.
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.
Tory is a theatre artist and educator with 15 years of professional experience. She is a Royal Shakespeare Company/Ohio State University partnership-trained teaching artist. While earning her MFA in Acting from Ohio State, she trained with the RSC’s renowned education department in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The innovative “Stand Up For Shakespeare” methodology provided a framework for her work bringing Shakespeare to K- 12 classrooms in central Ohio. Additionally, prior to graduate school, she worked for four years as a teaching artist at the highly regarded Columbus Children’s Theatre (Columbus, Ohio). She is a professional actor and director. Among her many credits, she is most proud of a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, adapted for young audiences, which she directed in 2013 under the auspices of the RSC/OSU partnership. This production, along with a post-show workshop she created to complement the show, was experienced by thousands of K-12 students across central Ohio. Among her many acting credits, she spent three years performing in original musicals at Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
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.
Catherine Coffey began her theatrical career at the age of thirteen as a founding member of the Nebraska Girls Shakespeare Company. Since then she has performed with several companies including Angels Theatre Company and Flatwater Shakespeare Company in roles ranging from Juliet in Romeo and Juliet to Glory in Almost, Maine, to Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone. Catherine is also a musician and has written and performed original music for productions of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. An album of her original music will be released this fall.
Catherine has also worked as a writer, director, and dramaturg for various productions, her dramaturgical work and research earning her the Kennedy Center Undergraduate Theatre Scholar Award in 2015. Catherine attended Hillsdale College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and English. While an undergraduate student, she studied Shakespeare’s late romances abroad at Oxford University. She is currently working towards an MFA in Applied Drama at Eastern Michigan University.