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Note from Directors


Thank you so much for joining us for an AOTA Masterpiece! We are grateful for your support and so thankful for our AOTA Family. We love all art forms and we are excited to fuse the art of movement with these masterful works of art.  


We are revisiting a past performance theme this weekend and it was definitely a past favorite.  Each piece is inspired by famous painters, digital designers and illustrators. We hope to bring their strokes to life. Throughout the performance we also celebrate the greatest artist, our creator. We live in a universe surrounded by His masterful works and we are a part of that masterful work. He created each of us as a masterpiece and He gave us the gift of LIFE and the gift of His LOVE. We hope you know that you were created beautifully and wonderfully, that God loves you unconditionally, and sees you always as a work of art. We pray that you know Him and His love. 


We wish to recognize the commitments and support of our dancers and their families, helpers, volunteers, donors, and every individual that has been a part of the AOTA team. We are so thankful for the Academy of the Arts. Our lives are enriched and blessed by each of you and we are truly grateful.



Kate Price and Elizabeth Shaffer

Co-owners and Directors of the Academy of the Arts

2023-2024 AOTA Faculty, Staff, and Acknowledgements


Kate Price & Elizabeth Shaffer

Ballet Director

Sarah Kilgore

Costume Director

Elizabeth Shaffer

Studio & Performance Support

Kim Bickel, Penny Buckles, Richelle Childs, Emma Curtis, Katie Faley, Katie Merritt, Nathan Price, Grace Rupp, Sam & Elizabeth Shaffer, Pam Williams, Chris Young, Kelly McGraw

Studio Maintenance

Richelle Childs, Denise Jordon, Stephanie Littlejohn, Brandi Shattuck, Chris & Gena Young

Artistic Director for AOTA & JDC

Kate Price

JDC Tap Director & Hip Hop Director

JP Krick

Public Relations & Events Manager

Elizabeth Shaffer

Instructors & Choreographers

Audrey Bickel, Celia Ebener, Carli Hammond, Brianna Hampton, Maria Jacoby, Nicole Khon, Sarah Kilgore, JP Krick, Kennedy Maynard, Ally McIntosh, Isabelle Pienta, Kate Price, AnnaMia Rumley, Brooke Smith


Suzanne Eller; Kingsley Photography, Carrie Stadelman; Freeland Photography

Studio Manager

Jeskya Vetter

ACRO Director

Nicole Khon

Costume Design & Seamstress Support

Katie Merritt & Pam Williams

Guest Choreographers

Abbey Barclay, Joshua Blake Carter, Channing Cooke, Maddy Falconer, Mallory Trudell, Avery Zerr

JDC Board

President Nicole McIntosh, Casey Allmandinger, Kim Bickel, Christyle Broadworth, Sara Grant, Cristi Hammond, Alanna Schnell

Special thanks to our many helping parents and the Potter Center staff for helping us create an amazing show to end our incredible 2023-2024 season. We couldn’t do it without all the many helping hands.

AOTA 2024 Graduates

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Allie Anastasiadis

Allie is a graduate from Jackson Christian High School. She was 2023/2024 Student Senate Vice President. She was a part of band. She has studied at AOTA for 6 years and a member of Jackson Dance Company for five years! Next year, Allie plans to attend Adrian College and study business management and will be a member of their college dance team! One of Allie’s favorite memories at AOTA was the senior sleepover last year! She really enjoyed choreographing this year for Student Choreography and looks forward to creating more! Another favorite memory was when they won the overall high score of the whole competition in February at DanceMakers Inc! Allie will miss all the DMI weekends with her friends and all the classes. Allie will be forever grateful to the Academy for everything they did and for her time here! She can’t wait for her future and she thanks AOTA for preparing her for a bright dance future!

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Maddie Buckles

Maddie Buckles is a graduate of Western High School where she ranked in the top 5% of her class, graduated with highest honors, and was awarded Outstanding Student in Science. She was a member of Western’s Student Council, Key Club, National Honors Society and Senior Leadership Team. She was also President of the National Art Honors Society and Vice President of the Spanish Club. Maddie has been in the Jackson Dance Company since she was ten years old and has danced with Academy of the Arts since she was four. Her proudest moments include performing the principal role of Clara in the 2023 Nutcracker production and being a scholarship finalist for both the Jazz and Hip Hop DanceMakers Auditions. Maddie will be attending Grand Valley State University’s Frederik Meijer Honors College in the fall to pursue Microbiology through a pre-med program and will also be minoring in Dance. Maddie’s dream is to become a pediatric physician of some specialty in the future. 

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Celia Ebener

Celia Ebener is a graduate from Northwest high school. She was a member of both choir and band, for both of which she was in the highest auditioned groups. She was Colorguard Captain for both her Junior and Senior year. She won Outstanding Senior Choir Member and Soprano section leader at her most recent choir banquet. On top of all of her musical accolades, Celia was a member of National Honors Society, Link Crew, and Student Council. Celia has been a part of the Jackson Dance Company for 8 years, and she’s been involved at AOTA since she was 5. Next year Celia will be attending Wayne State University to continue her Dance education, with plans of graduating with a BFA to one day be a choreographer of sorts. Some of Celia’s fondest AOTA memories include, placing 3rd runner up with her self choreographed solo, the Senior Company sleepovers, the process of choreographing her group piece ‘Appaloosa Bones’, long DanceMakers weekends with her team, and so much more! Celia is extremely grateful for her time with Academy of the Arts and Jackson Dance Company, and although she is sad her time is ending she can’t wait to see what her future holds!

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Jayla Meredith

Jayla is a graduate from Northwest high school. During high school she was a member of National Honors Society, the senior class secretary Student Council, a member of advanced broadcasting - Mountie Nation Station, and peer connections helping at both the high school and elementary school. She has been a member of Jackson Dance Company and involved at AOTA for six years. She will be attending Western Michigan University to continue her studies in dance. Jayla’s years as a member of Jackson Dance Company have been wonderful and she is so grateful to have been a part of the company. A few of her favorite memories include student choreography, senior company sleepovers, and competition weekends at DanceMakers. Some of her proudest moments include performing a self choreographed solo at competition, being a scholarship finalist in the DanceMakers hip hop audition, and being a part of Jackson Dance Company’s first group dance to win a highest overall score. She has loved every minute of her time with JDC as the friendships, dance knowledge, and guidance and support from teachers and staff hold such a special place in her heart and always will.

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