The AoD strives to provide each student with the tools to not only become a confident, creative artist, but also to empower them to be able to achieve their greatest potential not only as a dancer, but as a person.
Core Values: Family, Respect, Confidence, Creativity (Artistry), Empowerment, Community
Imagine a place where you feel instantly at home. Warm, welcoming classmates begin feel like old friends. You become encouraged to step out of your comfort zone by your friendly, knowledgeable instructor who respects you as a person.
Your fellow classmates applaud your achievements and offer their assistance if you’re unsure about a step. You gain confidence in your abilities as you begin to develop a passion for dance, and you’re allowed to express your own creativity. Soon, you’re developing your artistry while dancing on stage in a year-end show, a performance company, or perhaps even a competition team. You become empowered to become your best self, inside and outside of the classroom. Step thru our doors into a world where you feel like part of the family! Welcome home!
The AoD is committed to providing quality dance education in a positive, safe environment that empowers each student towards their own personal excellence, both as a dancer and as a person. We’re building not just great dancers, but quality people as well.
The Academy of Dance was founded in 1970 by former San Francisco Ballet Company dancer, Bonnie Little Roberson, in the basement of her home in Warner Robins. She quickly outgrew her space and moved to a professional building as a one room studio. In 1984, the Pleasant Hill studio was built from the ground up as a dance studio. A year later, Judy McCune became the second owner as Mr. Roberson was transferred to California.
For 20 years, Miss Judy expanded the program to include new dance forms, such as lyrical and hip hop, as well as competitive teams and a performance company, Southern Spirit. In 2005, she passed the torch to Kim Rowley. Kim has expanded the Academy offerings once again to include classes for children as young as 2 years of age as well as a full-range of dance styles for all ages thru adults. A teacher’s teacher, Kim has created a training facility for young students to become teacher apprentices, junior faculty members, and full-fledged faculty members. All instructors at the Academy have now either become certified thru Dance Educators of America’s Teacher Training School or have degrees in dance. Many of her graduates have either gone to teach dance throughout the state of Georgia, or gone to college as a dance major or minor. High School Juniors and Seniors have the opportunity to participate in the Career Bound Dancers program which helps them transition into dance or careers beyond high school dance with hands-on assistance from Kim. Master teachers seek out the Academy to offer their classes and to partner with the school, with the latest being the Moscow Ballet. These master classes are offered to all local dancers. Believing that great teachers are always learning, Kim and her staff attend master seminars, conventions, and trainings to stay on top of the latest trends. Dancing to make a Difference is the studio tagline which encompasses the give-back charitable programs the studio has championed for the local community as well as performance opportunities at local charity events throughout the school year. The studio is also the home to Expressions Dance Company, LLC, which is a GA Non-profit organization dedicated to helping students experience the art of dance.
When you step through the front door of the Academy, you will be greeted with 2 dance studios, each fully equipped with sprung floors and non-slip marley floor coverings so that your dancer will have the safest flooring which will help protect their joints in jumps and help to prevent falls during turning. The in-house closed circuit TV system will give you the peace of mind of being able to watch your dancer progress throughout the year without the children being distracted by open windows. Our front desk is staffed with knowledgeable personnel ready to help you in any way needed! Our location is very convenient for families stationed at Robins Air Force Base, and being a Veteran-family owned business, we understand how military life affects families, so feel free to tell us all about that TDY, upcoming PCS, TLF, or any other thing that can pop up! We understand and we’re here to help!
Karen Smith is a graduate of Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh/University Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a BS degree in English with a literature emphasis. She is also a Dance Educators of America Level 2 Teacher Training School graduate, certified to teach ballet, tap, jazz, modern and acrobatics.
She competed in intercollegiate gymnastics, taught Oshkosh High School physical education gymnastics program and coached the interscholastic gymnastics competition until she joined the Air Force and was stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa FL. Upon her honorable discharge, she and her husband moved to Bonaire in 1981 and joined Trinity United Methodist Church where she’s been a Sunday School teacher for years.
What does Karen love about teaching dance? “To creatively challenge a new dancer to want to participate. To encourage a dancer safely through their fears. To corral their enthusiasm when the studio becomes ‘theirs.’ To share their excitement and confidence when successful technique is attained. To experience the relief and pride enjoyed by parents, teachers, and students at the recital performance. My ultimate reward is to witness a dancer’s progression develop into the passion for dance. My humble delight is to know I am a piece of their tapestry.”
James Mulac is a certified ballroom dance instructor through Dance Vision International Dance Association (DVIDA). He began dancing hip-hop at the age of 9 and his love for music and dance has continued to grow ever since. James was introduced to ballroom dance at the age of 15, but it wasn’t until the age of 21 that he began his career as an instructor. He began his career as a competitive instructor at the largest studio in Michigan, Bolero’s School of Dance. James has taken his students all across the United States, from Washington D.C.’s Yuletide Ball to the Vegas Open in Las Vegas, Nevada to compete in the Pro/Am division, with many of his students placing 1st. He developed a love for teaching and enjoys helping students reach their goals in ballroom dance. James moved to Warner Robins in January of 2012 to be with his wife Karla, who is currently serving at Robins Air Force Base.
A student teacher training to take her dance certification exams this summer, Brittany Panton has trained with the Academy of Dance for over 8 years. During that time, she has performed with our Expressions Dance Company and Competition Teams and was a member of our Career Bound Dancer Program. She has been a teacher apprentice for 4 years. Brittany is currently a student at Central GA Tech, and plans to attend Kennesaw next fall to major in Exercise Science and minor in Dance. Her future goals are to hold a doctorate in physical therapy and choreograph on the side.
A native of Queens, NY, Nina Panton trained at the Theatre of Dance Movement under the direction of Lucille Hill, as well as with Dance with Me Productions. Nina is a Level-1 Dance Educators of America Teacher Training School Certified Instructor, certified to teach ballet, tap, jazz, modern and acrobatics. She has performed with Professor Griff from Public Enemy in Queens, NY as well as in an off-Broadway production titled FootTown. Nina is a graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Liberal Arts. She has been teaching Ballet, African, and Jazz for 5 years, and was the past assistant director of One Step at A Time Dance Studio under Mrs.Pat Harry. A mother of two, Nina loves working with our youngest dancers. Nina’s favorite part of teaching is when a student goes from being unsure to saying “I Love This!”. She loves all the smiles and hugs from her happy students.
Airianna Tauanuu started dancing at the age of six and is trained extensively in the areas of ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical. She has taken from various well-known instructors in New York (on scholarship at Broadway Dance Center) and numerous national conventions. She is a Level-1 Dance Educators of America Certified Instructor from the Teacher Training School at UNLV, as well as the Director to our nationally award-winning competition team.
Airianna’s first love is tap, and she has had the opportunity to teach master classes throughout the state of Georgia. As a choreographer, Airianna’s pieces have won overall awards both regionally and nationally, and she herself has received several Best Choreography awards. She has also had the opportunity to choreograph for contestants of the Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen pageants. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Kennesaw State University, Airianna has judged both on the local and collegiate level for dance teams, talent shows, and musical theater competitions. Whether she is working with her recreational dancers or competitive teams, Airianna’s goal is to impart her passion and inspire the love of dance in each of her students.
Laura Preiss hails from Warner Robins Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Polymer and Textile Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters of Military Operational Art and Science Degree from the United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College. She is a Chemist at Robins Air Force Base.
Laura began dancing at the age of four and has trained extensively in ballet, jazz, and tap at the Academy of Dance, Fayette Ballet (Fayetteville, Georgia), and the Madison Studio of Dance Education. She competed extensively in all styles of dance through junior high and high school, taking classes from many teachers through associated conventions, and participated in Midsummer Macon Fine Arts Camp in order to continue dancing during the summer. She performed in both the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia and the Fayette Ballet’s Nutcracker, as well as dancing with the Macon Moving Company. She holds a Dance Educators of America Certification, Level 1, from DEA’s Teacher Training School. This certification includes training in the instruction of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and acrobatics. Laura is very excited to return to the Academy of Dance and share her love of dance with a new generation.
Emily Edge is a graduate of Veteran’s High School and a Dance Educators of America Teacher’s Training School Level 1 Certified instructor. She is currently a student at Middle GA State University. Emily has been a junior faculty member for the past 3 years. As an AoD Student, Emily has been a member of our Expressions performance company and competition teams and our Career Bound Dancer program.
“My favorite things about teaching are: watching my students grow as people and as dancers; being able to positively influence my students; and teaching them to have a motivated attitude ~ enforcing the value of earning things by working hard. “
Chipper Dent is a graduate of Veterans High School. Chipper is a Dance Educators of America Level 1 Certified Instructor. She plans to continue her instructor training to become a level 2 instructor. Chipper has trained at the AoD for 13 years, and was a Teacher Apprentice for 7 years. She was a junior faculty member for 4 years. Chipper is very passionate and driven and enjoys teaching children how to fall in love with dance.
Janice Malloy was first introduced and fell in love with yoga while living in England in the late 90’s and has been practicing ever since. Upon retirement from teaching preschool, she gained her certification as a yoga instructor and personal trainer in April, 2012. Her certification is in The Iyengar method of yoga. She continues to develop her skills by traveling to a variety of studios to study under master instructors as well as study various techniques. Join Janice in one of her classes or schedule a private lesson to find your Zen.
Kim Rowley hails from Goose Creek, South Carolina with a BA degree in Psychology with a concentration in both dance and child development and welfare.
Her training brought her to the Robert Ivey School of Ballet, where she was personally invited by Mr. Ivey to become a member of his Junior Company. Here, she was given the opportunity to train with Mrs. Elizabeth Allen and Christina Cooledge and she was able to take classes with Valentina and Leonid Koslov, Melissa Hayden, and Ruth Mitchell. She continued dancing in the RIB Senior Company through the end of high school, performing in numerous yearly performances, lecture demos, and the World’s Fair. Mr. Ivey was instrumental in helping her obtain her first job teaching dance. Kim quickly realized her desire to inspire other dancers to be able to perform with confidence and passion.
Kim was awarded a Dance scholarship to study ballet and modern at Columbia College in SC. Here, she trained with Martha Brim, Libby Patenaude, Jill Adomaitis, Anita Ashley, Dan Wagoner, and jazz choreographer Marcus Alford, to name a few. Kim was a member of the Columbia College Dance Company and danced at the American College Dance Festival in Washington DC as well as regional SCAPHERD dance conventions. During college, Kim also began teaching ballet, tap and preschool dance for Suzanne’s School of Dance in Lexington SC. Her background in child development allowed her to create a developmentally sound preschool program for her dance classes at Suzanne’s, and she continues to make sure her classes are designed for children’s ability levels to this day.
Kim has created dance programs for many Army Youth Services programs to include Ft Huachuca, AZ, Ft Hood, TX, and Mannheim, Worms and Darmstadt Youth Services in Germany. While in Germany, she became the first choreographer for the newly formed American Football League’s Frankfurt cheerleaders. She also had the opportunity to work with the Darmstadt Theatre to choreograph shows for German nationals. While in Texas, she was the owner of the Dance Expressions studio in Copperas Cove and also oversaw the dance programs for the City of Lampasas and City of Copperas Cove’s rec. programs and the youth service program at Ft Hood. Throughout her journey, she has taught dancers of all ability levels, allowing them to grow in confidence as performers.
She believes every good teacher is always learning. Kim is dedicated to the art of teaching, always attending dance conventions and seminars and learning from the masters of the trade. She holds a Dance Educators of America Certification, Level 3 (the highest level to complete) from the Teacher Training School at UNLV. This certification includes Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Acrobatics. She is a certified Revolution Tap teacher. She also holds a Peff Pointe teacher training certificate for teaching pointe work. Kim has trained with greats such as Charles Kelly, Raymond Lukens, Louis Kouvarus, Mme. Peff Modelski, Jo Rowan, Finis Jhung, and so many more. Kim is a member of Dance Educators of America, the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce and BBB.
Kim is married to Maj (Ret) Tod A. Rowley and the mother of two children. She is proud to be the third owner of the Academy of Dance and share her passion for dance and over 35 years of teaching experience with her students.