Janda Cearley: Owner/Director
Janda has been dancing for the past 39 years. Her areas of study have included ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, hip-hop, and musical theatre. Janda attended Hardaway High School where she was a Governor Honors Semi-Finalist in Dance, a choreographer for the theatre department’s productions of Fame, The Wizard of Oz, and Blame It On Broadway as well as the captain and choreographer of the HHS Dance Team. While at HHS, she was a Universal Dance Association All-Star and was invited to perform in New York & Paris. Janda graduated from Columbus State University in 2000 with a B.S. in Humanities and in 2002 with a Master of Public Administration. She was a member of the 1998-99 CSU Cougar Heat Dance Team, became the Assistant Coach in 1999 and the Head Coach and Choreographer in 2001. Under her direction, the squad won one State Title, three PeachBelt Conference Titles, and was consistently ranked among the top teams in the nation with UDA. She was an instructor, judge, and choreographer for Eastern Dance Association and the Resident Choreographer for the Chattahoochee Valley Community College Music Department. Janda previously worked for the NBA D-League Columbus Riverdragons where she also coached and choreographed for the River Rage Dance Team. She was the choreographer for the 2011 National Champion Smiths Station High School J.V. and Varsity Dance Teams and the 2011 National Champion Wacoochee Junior High Dance Team having won Best Choreography for their pom routine and other various awards at national competitions.
In addition to her team experience, Janda has appeared in various productions at the Springer Opera House, to include: A Chorus Line, Will Roger’s Follies, Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Grease, A Christmas Carol, and was the lead dancer in the role of Dream Laurey in Oklahoma!. She was also the choreographer for the productions of The Sound of Music, Phantom, and T.H.E.’s School House Rock. Her most recent choreography was seen in the Chattahoochee Shakespeare Company's production of "Reefer Madness: The Musical" and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. She has worked on the production crew for various Miss Georgia pageants and serves as an assistant, stage manager, choreographer and Assistant Producer for Miss Georgia Pageant. Janda also served on the Board of Trustees for the Miss Georgia Organization and was the Managing Director for the Chattahoochee Shakespeare Company. Janda has returned to CSU as the Head Coach for the CSU Cougar Heat Dance Team for the third season.
Rachael Cearley Venegas: Choreographer, Assistant Creative Director
Rachael has been dancing for the past 32 years. Her areas of study include ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop. She is a graduate from CSU with a B.S. in Marketing. Rachael was the captain of the HHS Dance Team where she won the title of UDA All-Star and Drill Down Queen and was also invited to perform in Paris and New York. She has competed and won various awards throughout the southeast as a member of the Rivertown Dance Theatre competition team. As a member, choreographer, and two year captain of the 2002-2005 Cougar Heat Dance Team, shecompeted at the UDA College National Championships having most recently finished 9th in Jazz and 4th in Hip-Hop in the nation. Rachael has also choreographed for various high school cheerleading competition teams through United Cheerleading to include Shaw, Pacelli, and Calvary Christian and currently for the Chattahoochee County Varsity Squad. She was a member of the NBA D-League Columbus Riverdragons Dance Team where she also served as Dance Captain for two years. She appeared as the lead dancer in the Springer production of Phantom, and was competed in the Miss CSU pageant and the Miss Columbus pageant where she was awarded the “People’s Choice” Award two years in a row. Rachael was an instructor for UDA and has been awarded Best Choreography for her Senior competition pieces at various competitions. She is a former choreographer for the Northside High School Varsity Dance Team and the Smiths Station & Wachoochee Junior Pantherette Dance Teams. Rachael was been seen as the lead dancer in ChattShakes’s production of “Reefer Madness: The Musical” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” where she also served as dance captain. She serves as an assistant choreographer and stage manager for the Miss Georgia Pageant and is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Brittney Peterson: Head Instructor
Brittney has been dancing for the past 25 years. Her areas of study include ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and musical theatre. Brittney attended Hardaway High School, where she spent two years on the dance team. While dancing at Hardaway, she made the All-Star dance team at UDA, was nominated for Governor’s Honor in the subject of dance, placed 2nd overall in the solo division at state, and went on to win first in state for both the jazz and hip hop group routines. Since graduating from Hardaway, she has returned to choreograph for their dance team, where they ranked 1st in class and received superior ratings in competition. Brittney has also choreographed for Chattahoochee County High School, the Columbus State University winter guard team, various area dance camps, and has led several soloists to rank high in competition, as well as receive scholarships to dance around the country.
Brittney has been a dance instructor for the last 10 years, while the past 6 years have been with Company C Academy of Dance. She works with all ages and levels, and currently assists with Company C’s award winning competition team. She resides in Columbus, GA with her husband, Perry.
Joshua Edens: Operations/Instructor
A graduate of Columbus State University, Joshua began his dance career only nine years ago at Company C, Academy of Dance. A graduate in the top five percent of his class at Chattahoochee County High School, Josh served as captain of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad from middle school through high school as well as Battalion Commander of the JROTC program. As a member of the CCAD competitive team, Josh has been awarded numerous Top Overall placements, special judges recognitions and first place rankings at several regional competitions including the title of "Mr. Starquest 2014" in Atlanta, GA. He continues his training in various styles of dance including hip-hop, contemporary, ballet and jazz while also working at AFLAC. Josh also was a featured dancer for various Miss Georgia Pageant productions.
Ishmael McKinstry:Acting/Vocal Instructor
Ishmael is a small town country boy with a boundless heart for the arts. From a very young age, Ishmael has always displayed an undeniable passion for music and theatrics. May of 2014, he graduated from Albany State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Speech and Theatre. During Ishmael's collegiate matriculation he excelled tremendously in the theatre and music departments. Ishmael Markael was President of the Albany State Theatre Ensemble, Vice President of the CAPTIVATING Chi Delta Cast of Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society, and he served as the Vice President for the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts. He starred in a plethora of productions at Albany State such as "The Colored Museum”, "Before It Hits Home”, "Side Man", "Next to Normal", and many more! He was also a featured soloist in the Albany State Concert Chorale, the Albany State Gospel Choir, and the annual Martin L. King, Jr. Day Celebration. He aspires to be a professional working actor in the theatre, film, and television industries and was recently seen in Sister Act and Grease at the Springer Opera House as well as a 2016-2018 Featured vocalist for the Miss Georgia Pageant. He has recently become the Director of Choral and Theatre Arts at Lee County Middle School.
Roseann Torbert: Instructor
Roseann's passion for dance began at a very young age. She was self taught hip hop and displayed her talent regularly at local events around her town. However growing up in a rural area there was very little opportunity for formal dance training. Yet, she found a way to train one year in ballet, tap, jazz, and clogging. She was finally able to display her full passion and creativity in high school as a member of the marching bands dance line, where she was choreographer and co-captain. In college as a member of Delta Sigma Theta she continued her passion as her chapter's Step Master. After graduating she moved to Tampa and began training again, focusing her skills in ballet, jazz, and hip hop. She was recruited to instruct Jazz and Hip Hop for AAYA where she taught until she returned home to Georgia.
Sarah Weber: Instructor
Sarah Weber has been in the Columbus area for over ten years. She is a military wife with three children, and by day a high school math and science teacher at Central High School. She has coached both recreational and high school cheerleading. Sarah has been teaching contortion and acrobatics at all skill levels at Company C since 2014, and also taught previously for Company C in 2006. She is a certified yoga and meditation instructor, and is also a choreographer for award winning competition acrobatics routines. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys running, hiking, and biking with her family.
Traci Gary: Instructor
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 teams. She has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, pointe, modern, hip hop, musical theater, ballroom and Latin dance. She competed for Teen Miss Dance for Dance Masters of America Chapter 33 and was named a top 4 finalist. Traci has trained and taken master classes under a long list of incredible dance instructors including Debbie Dee and Mia Michaels. She has performed all over the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and a true highlight was performing as a part of the 1996 Olympics. Using dance as her talent, Traci competed in pageants throughout the southeast winning numerous titles regionally and nationally as well as locally being crowned Junior Miss and Teen Miss Columbus. As an instructor, she has developed choreography for cheerleading competition teams, dance teams, and show choirs at Pacelli, Brookstone, Smiths Station, Troup County and Northside. She also coached and choreographed for pageant competitors throughout Georgia and Alabama. Along with Traci’s passion for dance, she has a passion to help others with two and four legs. She is currently a volunteer with Animal SOS and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley where she was named Big of the Year and nominated for the Tri-Community Director of Volunteer Services’ Volunteer of the Year.
Sherman Williams: Instructor
Also a native of Columbus, Georgia, Sherman has been in the hip-hop dance scene for the past 18 years. He is a Hardaway High School and an United States Air Force Veteran. He has been dancing in the hip-hop scene for eighteen years. Starting with b-boying, he has been in numerous battles around the state and in other states during his high school years. He has served as a judge for various battles as well as winning numerous battles throughout the US and in South Korea where he was station in 2014. His specialty areas include; break dancing, krumping, tutting, popping, locking, house step and animation. Currently he is teaching at Company C Academy of Dance and is a member of Columbus’s very own, Adrenaline Rush Crew. He loves teaching and spreading the joys of dance while educating his community on true hip-hop culture.
Megan Radin: Instructor
Originally from Nashua, New Hampshire, just 45 minutes from Boston, Megan is now relocated to the Columbus area where she resides with her husband, Bradley and daughter, Paisley. Having danced since the age of 2 at "The Dancing Corner", she has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and lyrical. After an injury resulting in surgery and physical therapy, she was able to begin her dance career again by becoming an Assistant Dance Instructor for the YMCA of Greater Nashua. Within a year she became full staff and continued instructing dancers ages 3 through adult in tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet and hip-hop for the next 8 years. While at the YMCA, Megan was an assistant for both their performance company and competition team. She has trained in master classes with "So You Think You Can Dance?" contestants Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Deo Mwano, as well as served as a choreographer for the local Dancing Stars charity function. Megan attended Fitchburg State University studying advanced tap, jazz funk and lyrical while also serving as a member of their collegiate level Dance Team. Since 2017, she has taught throughout the area to include the award winning Brookstone Cougar Dance Company. She served as a Pro Dancer in the 2018 Dancing Stars of Columbus. Megan will be joining the CCAD Staff for her second season as well as taking on the Head Coach position for the Brookstone Dance Team for the upcoming school year.
Katie Jo Lewis: Instructor
Raised in Phenix City, Katie Jo began her dance training at the age of 4 in areas such as ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop. By the age of 10 she studied under her long time dance instructor Melissa Williams. She was an award winning competitor on both the regional and national level with various companies such as Tremaine and Showstoppers. Katie Jo became an inaugural member of the 2001 Wardolls Dance Team which later became more well known as the Columbus Lions Indoor Professional Football Team. For 10 years, she continued developing the program as the Assistant Coach and Head Choreographer and most recently has served as the choreographer for the River City Youth Football Cheerleaders since 2010. Katie Jo was the co-owner of Capella's Dance Studio from 2015-2017. She instructed her students in the styles of tap, jazz, ballet and hip hop and it was during this time she was introduced to Praise Dance. She is a member of Dance for a Cause Ministries and thanks God everyday for always opening new doors!
Katie Jo is the loving mother of her 2 beautiful children while also continuing her career as a Dental Hygienist. Katie Jo is proud to now be a part of a new dance family at Company C Academy of Dance.
Ashlyn Shoup: Instructor
Ashlyn is a Junior at Columbus State University where she is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science as well as a minor in Dance. She is from the small town of Forsyth, Georgia where she grew up dancing at her mom’s dance studio! Ashlyn has primarily trained in Clogging, which was the first style of dance that she fell in love with. She has also trained, and is continuing to train in, Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. She has been teaching for 6 years in various styles of dance, as well as coaching young girls in pageantry. Ashlyn has a love for Musical Theatre and has recently performed in productions of “42nd Street” and “Crazy for You.” She is so excited to be a part of the CCAD dance family!
Natasha Connell: Instructor
Natasha studied ballet under Lidija and Gustavo Franklin at Escuela Ballet-Arte in Caracas, Venezuela, as well as with Julio Lamas And Graciela Diaz. More recently, she trained with Linda Kinlaw, Randall Marks, and Heidi Winton-Stahle, among others. Natasha began teaching ballet to adults about 3 years. She retired from the US Army in 2014 and began graduate school as well as opening a fitness studio providing personal training and ballet. She has now relocated to Columbus with her husband Chris. Not only will be she be teaching regular ballet classes for CCAD but is also running her own Adult Ballet Program, "Transcend Normal" for ages 18 & Up. She hopes to share all things adult-ballet related with the community and follow her moto of finding something that brings you joy, and practice it for that reason.