Our Dance Faculty

The CSU Rankin Arts Center is the Uptown venue for Continuing Education services. The CSU Rankin Arts Center serves as a focal point for the arts education in the Uptown area by offering classes in photography and dance. This center is the home of the CSU Youth Dance Conservatory and houses multiple dance studios, art studio/classroom space and a fully functioning photography studio. View our beautiful Dance Facilities and learn more about the historic Rankin Arts Center. 

Interested in becoming a Youth Dance Conservatory Instructor? Email Laura Johnson with your dance resume.

Meet our Dance Instructors

Bridget Adams

Bridget started her dance training with Jackie O’Neal School of Dance in Birmingham, Alabama with a concentration in ballet, jazz, and acrobatics. After ten years of training there, she began teaching at Nix Dance Studio in Auburn, Alabama while completing her BA degree in art. Ms. Adams came to Columbus in 2004 and began taking classes at CSU Dance Conservatory. She performed in the Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Swan Lake with The Columbus Ballet. She finds great joy teaching the students at CSU Dance Conservatory and sharing with them her passion for dance.

Laura Johnson

Laura received the majority of her early training at The Dance Factory under the instruction of Mrs. Susan Fisher. She continued her training at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and received her B.A. in Dance and International Relations in 2001. Upon graduation, Laura attended the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC on a Young Artist Scholarship to continue her studies in modern dance. She continued her training while earning her M.A. in Performing Arts Management at American University in Washington, D.C. Laura has been teaching dance for over 15 years and teaching at the CSU Dance Conservatory since 2009.

Elizabeth James

Elizabeth started her training at Kehl School of Dance in Madison, Wisconsin focusing on a wide variety of styles including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and contemporary. She later studied dance at the University of Wisconsin and Mount San Antonio College. At Mount San Antonio College she received her certification in teaching Pilates in both mat and reformer. She currently attends Columbus State University where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science.

Kylie Casino

Kylie received what she considers the best of her training from The University of Akron’s Dance Institute. She went on to earn her BA in dance from The University of Akron. During her time at Akron, she was given the opportunity to perform pieces choreographed by David Parsons, Paul Taylor and Amy Miller. After working as a professional dancer for a year after college, she decided to continue on with her education and earned her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in January 2016. Kylie finds complete fulfillment through teaching and looks forward to sharing her love of dance with others.

Toni Lum

Toni’s love of ballet began at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, training and performing in both school and company roles. After graduating high school, she then went on to receive her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Arizona where her love of modern and contemporary dance grew. After college, she continued her training with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in both ballet and contemporary movement. While in San Francisco, Toni danced professionally for The Mark Foehringer Dance Project and Robert Moses’ Kin. In 2010 Toni accepted a position with the Chicago company: DanceWorks Chicago, where she ultimately completed her dance career, but not before dancing in Chicago, New York, and spending a year dancing in Berlin, Germany. Always a mover at heart, she then went on to complete 5 half-marathons, a Century ride, a half-IronMan, and she successfully swam Alcatraz! Toni is now a registered yoga instructor (RYT 200) and teaching at River Flow Yoga and Wellness here in Columbus. Fun fact: Toni is actually short for Antoinette.

Courtney Collado

As a young dancer, Courtney Collado trained and performed on scholarship at the Academy of the Colorado Ballet in Denver, CO. At age 14, Courtney attended the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA as a scholarship student and performed for four years with the National Youth Ballet. Upon graduation, she joined the dance department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, studying and performing with numerous elite choreographers and dancers.  Courtney then pursued a career as a modern dancer for a decade in NYC and also earned her Pilates certification, becoming a Master Pilates instructor. She has led certification and training for instructors and practitioners across the US as well as led Pilates, injury-prevention, and anatomy workshops for pre-professional dancers and fitness professionals. Courtney has had the opportunity to study and apprentice on scholarship with such dance organizations as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; the Boston Ballet; Paul Taylor Dance Company, Isadora Duncan Dance Company, Tina Croll and Company, Nicholas Andre Dance Theater and many, many others.  Courtney relocated to Columbus in August of this year to lead the dance program at Wynnton Arts Academy and is delighted to find herself back in the dance world as part of the faculty at CSU’s Dance Conservatory.

Melissa Kennedy

Melissa Kennedy started her dance training with the Royal School of Ballet under the director of Joanne Hughes Morscher in North Royalton, Ohio.  Later becoming Great Lakes Youth Ballet under Ana Lobe, Melissa supplemented her education with summer programs including those with The American Ballet Theatre, Balletmet and Canton Ballet companies.  She went on to pursue and graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013 from the prestigious Point Park University as magna cum laude.  Throughout her training with the University, Melissa had the opportunity to work with Thodus, River North, Houston Ballet, Sidra Bell and Giordano company directors.  She has taught students of all ages at multiple studios including Spotlight, Studio West, Center Stage Dance, Inspired to Move Dance Academy and South Sound Dance.  Melissa is excited to continue teaching the wonderful students at CSU. 

Katy Hamrick

Katy grew up in dance, doing different styles like ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, ballroom, and lyrical.  She graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from California’s Victor Valley College (2016). Katy is also into theatre, and has done it all from performing, stage managing, and doing tech work. Some of her favorite work include, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty, and choreographing Beauty and the Beast Jr. Outside of dance, she enjoys yoga, archery, and playing ukulele.