Miss Donna has been involved in the dance world all of her life. Her grandmother and mother danced in Vaudeville and Off Broadway. Therefore when Donna was barely age 2, she started dance lessons. She danced at Caroline Daniels School of Dance until she was 17. She graduated from Queens College with a degree in primary education but since she had opened a dance studio while a freshmen she decided to continue with her studio instead of teaching school.
Through the years she has choreographed children’s TV shows, Charlotte Summer Stock Theater, Carowinds Theme Park and many public school productions. Miss Donna has judged competitions all over the USA for the past 20 years.
Many of Miss Donna's students are now dancing professionally on cruise ships, theater, in Hollywood and numerous commercials. Miss Donna is very proud to say that 10 of her former students now have their own dance studios.
To quote Miss Donna, "Working with children has become my whole life and I cherish and love every minute I have with your child. I give you my word that I will always conduct my school in a manner which you will be proud to say, 'My child dances at Miss Donna's'."
Miss Patsy came to Miss Donna's at age 10 as an older beginner taking ballet, tap and jazz. She excelled in ballet and at age 11 was a very accomplished dancer on Pointe. She was awarded the top beginner student and several years later was presented the prestigious award Outstanding Student (there have been only 3 students in 51 years receiving this award). Miss Patsy started assisting classes at age 11 and at age 13 taught her own classes. She was born a dancer and a teacher!
After teaching ballet, tap and jazz for 25 years she was asked to take the position of assistant director of Miss Donna's which along with competition director is her current position. Miss Patsy has been associated with Miss Donna's since 1958. Her wonderful organizational skills keep everyone - students, parents, teachers and Miss Donna in line. She is truly a wonderful person.
Jana Gray Smith leads competition, choreographer and instructor in Jazz, Lyrical and Hip Hop.
Jana started dance training at the early age of 2 with Pat Hall's Dance Unlimited where she continued through high school taking classes in Ballet (cecchetti method), tap, jazz, gymnastics, modern, lyrical and hip-hop. She has taken extensive Master classes from Frank Hatchett, Shiela Barker, Rhonda Miller, Dee Caspary, Dennis Caspary, Janson Parson, Mia Michaels, Barry Lather, Brian Friedman, Ray Leeper, Tymme Reitz and Amy Reitz.
Jana has worked in the past with Jonathan Lewis who was one of Janet Jackson's back up dancers. She also worked with the choreographers and stars of the cheerleading/dance sequel, "Bring It On Again". Jana toured with Star Systems on a scholarship program for 2 years. When competing, she placed 1st overall with her solos in the Junior and Senior division at Showstoppers, Starpower, On Stage, Star Systems, and Show Biz.
Jana graduated with a B.A. in Dance from UNC Charlotte. She was on the Dance Team placing 1st nationally for 4 years. She coached and was a choreographer for the UNCC Dance Team (Gold Dusters). Jana is a staff instructor and choreographer for the National Dance Alliance; an organization for high school and college dance teams.
We are very proud to have Jana on our staff. She wants to share her love and passion for dance to every student and to inspire all of them to reach their highest potential.
Jannelle Grey began dancing at the age of 4 in all styles of dance, but quickly learned that Tap is her passion. She has taken numerous master classes from Jason Parsons, Mia Michaels, Mike Minery, Jason Janas, Acia Gray, Brain Freidman, Maurice Chestnut, Brenda Bufalino, and Dianne Walker. She has also participated in dance intensives in the states of California and Georgia. She began studying under her mentor, Jason Janas, owner and performer of Tapestry, at the age of 14 and has taught numerous tap intensives with Jason. When competing, she placed in the top 3 with her tap solos, duos/trios, and small groups. Jannelle graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a B.A. in Elementary Education. While she was a student at UNC Charlotte, she choreographed many tap pieces for their dance department, including the musical “Up On Your Toes” which was the premiere performance for the new theater Robinson Hall. Miss Jannelle has been teaching and choreographing for many years now and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. She wants to encourage her students to live their dreams and to follow their hearts. She hopes to share her love of tap and dance with each and every one of her students. She also enjoys being a role model and mentor to the many dancers’ lives that she has touched and will touch throughout her career!
Pat is nationally recognized as a dance instructor, choreographer, costume designer, consultant and judge for many dance competitions including Showbiz, Headliners, and Star Systems. She began dancing at the age of four and received extensive training in all forms of dance. Pat performed with the North Carolina Ballet Company. She also studied dance in New York and Las Vegas.
Pat has developed, choreographed and directed numerous dance programs in and around North Carolina. She was a studio owner for 29 years before selling two studios in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999.
Pat continues to teach Ballet in North Carolina. She is a current member of Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America and holds the office of treasurer for Cecchetti Council of America. Pat is currently designing costumes for Glamour Costumes Recital Catalog in New York. Her knowledge and expertise is invaluable and very much appreciated at Miss Donna's School of Dance.
Ashley is a competition instructor. Ashley started dance lessons at age 2 and has continued through her teenage years. She has competed in lyrical and jazz since age 4. Ashley has received many overall awards throughout her dance career and was awarded the "Outstanding Student Award" by Miss Donna. This prestigious award has only been awarded three times since 1956!
Ashley graduated from Wingate University with a degree in human services. Ashley was on the Dean's List every semester since entering the university.
You can see her in numerous costume catalogs as she has been modeling in New York City and Los Angeles, California since she was six years of age.
In 2007 she was the National Miss Superstar at Star Systems held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Ashley says, "I would rather dance than do anything - I love it so much!"
Her competition classes have won many overall awards and recently her Junior class won first overall at Showstopper Nationals!
Miss Neely is a dancer, gymnast, teacher, friend and role model. She graduated with distinction from UNC Charlotte with a degree in Exercise Science. She is also an ACSM Certified Health Fitness Instructor. Miss Neely was born to dance! She started at the age of two and hasn't stopped since! Her love for dance allowed for a successful dance and cheer competition career which began at the age of eight. By the end of her senior year in high school, she had brought home many regional and national dance and cheer awards. At 16, Miss Neely was chosen as a Charlotte Sting dancer. She went on to dance as a Charlotte Hornets "Honey Bee" during their last year in Charlotte.
Miss Neely has spent the last eight years teaching either gymnastics or dance (or both). She is dedicated not only to choreographing and teaching dance and cheer, but also to promoting the physical and emotional health and well being of all the young people she works with.
Miss Shannon is the daughter of Miss Donna and the sister of Miss Ashley. As you would expect, she has been dancing since the age of two. She started teaching at age 15 and taught competition for fifteen years. Shannon won numerous national championships. Her students have performed for the NBA, Disney World, and Cruiseline audiences.
Her training includes 26 years of teaching lyrical, tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop. She has 39 years of complete dance experience as both a student and teacher.
Shannon said, "Most of my joy from teaching comes from the life long relationships I have with my parents and students alike. Thank you for the opportunity to be even a small part of your child's life."
Miss Connie has been a part of Miss Donna's School of Dance for 18 years. Her daughter, Haley, is an assistant competition instructor. Connie is now an Instructor at the Harrisburg studio.
In addition to her dance career, Connie is a kindergarten teacher assistant for Pitt School Elementary in Cabarrus County. Her love for children and background in childhood education has made her decision to teach dance a joy, as dance was always her true love. Her goal is to instill the love of dance in every child she teaches.
Alicia McCall is the newest of Miss Donna’s instructors, but she is by no means new to the Miss Donna family. Miss Alicia has studied dance at the studio since she was two years old. As a part of the competition team, Alicia excelled to the top performance classes by her senior year. After graduating from East Mecklenburg High School in 2009, Alicia enrolled in Central Piedmont Community College and began as an assistant at the Sardis and Indian Trail Studios. Miss Alicia’s love for dance and her exceptional technique coupled with her love for children and her ability to connect with them has made her classes highly motivational. Kids respond well to her and have improved dramatically each year since she began teaching. She looks forward to many more years with Miss Donna’s School of Dance.
Miss Alicia is an instructor and manager at the Long Creek Studio. She is the new mom of a precious baby girl, Adelyn.
Miss Ginny started dance lessons at age 10 at Miss Donna's. The first year of her dance training she was awarded "Outstanding 1st Year Student". She danced through her teenage years then retired from dancing to get married and raise a family.
After having a girl then a boy, she decided to come back to dance class with her daughter. Ginny started teaching pre-school classes at Miss Donna's 10 years ago and now is teaching age 2 through teen in ballet, tap and jazz.
Ginny loves every student and gives each one special attention. To have danced with Ginny as a teacher is a great dancing experience as she gives her all.
Miss Katie was born in Palatka, Florida and has lived in North Carolina since 1990. At the age of five, gymnastics, cheerleading and dance became a big part of her life. In Katie's senior year at Sun Valley High School, she started teaching at Miss Donna's School of Dance. While continuing her study of modern dance at Central Piedmont Community College, Katie earned her Associate's Degree in General Education and Diploma of Office Systems Technology. Currently, she teaches advanced classes at the Indian Trail studio and also works full time as an Office Coordinator at Hussmann Services Corporation.
After teaching at Miss Donna's since 1995, Katie still looks forward to seeing those smiling faces come in the studio. The wonderful children and families that she has been so fortunate to be a part of through the years, has made her job very rewarding. According to Katie, "It's an absolute privilege to work for Miss Donna's School of Dancing and have the opportunity to teach each child the love of dance".
DeAnn Weekley began her dance career in 1978 with Pat Hall’s Dance Unlimited in Charlotte, NC. While at Pat Hall’s Dance Unlimited she was a competition student into her 20’s. She then began teaching competition groups and was also the studio manager at the Pineville location.
As a competition performer for 13 years, DeAnn has had the privilege of studying with many nationally and internationally acclaimed choreographers; among them, Frank Hatchett, Sheila Barker, Rhonda Miller, Roberta Mathis, Ronnie DeMarco and Judy Bassing. She had the honor of receiving a “Pass Commended” grade for Cecchetti Ballet Grades I and II. She is also certified by and has been a member of Dance Masters of America in Jazz, Ballet and Gymnastics.
Some of her noted performances include; as a hostess of the exercise segment of WSOC-TV’s “Kid’s World”, in her selection as a “Superstar” for the Superstar Drill Team Camps in 1987, and as choreographer and cheerleader for the Charlotte Rage “Outrageous” cheerleaders. Selected “Best Cheerleaders” in the arena football league, the team was chosen to perform at an exhibition in Paris, France. Other talents and acknowledgments include DeAnn’s six year membership with a local show choir, which received top honors at music festivals in New York and Canada.
Megan Zugelder was born and raised in Ohio and has been dancing since she was 4 years old. She has been a dance teacher/choreographer for the last 13 years, working with children of all ages and demographics in dance and theatre avenues. She has trained in all styles of dance had was also a competitive gymnast for 10 years. She holds many solo and team titles and championships as a dancer and choreographer.
Megan attended the University of Cincinnati where she graduated with an early childhood education degree. She also completed her Master's degree in Education from Walden University. While Megan was in college, she was honored to be crowned the 2008 National American Miss Ohio. During her reign she traveled to schools and spoke to children about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and being an outstanding and goal-achieving citizen.
After graduating college, Megan danced with Exhale Dance Tribe, a professional contemporary/jazz company in Cincinnati, OH, founded and directed by broadway veteran Andrew Hubbard and Missy Lay Zimmer. She has also learned from dancers and choreographers such as: Dee Caspary, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Barry Youngblood, Karl Mundt, Jennifer Rutherford, Lea Lachey, Tre Holloway, and Byron Carter.
Megan is currently the founding dancer teacher and dance team coach at Winding Springs Elementary School and is a competition instructor in tumbling, jazz, and lyrical technique for Miss Donnas. She truly enjoys sharing her passion for dance with others and feels very blessed to call this her career.