Meet Our Staff
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 she 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. She has also 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 studios.
Miss Shannon was really born into the business, with Miss Donna being her mom she started dancing at the age of 2 and teaching by the age of 16. She traveled every summer to New York to study under master choreographers such as Savion Glover, Sheila Barker, and Frank Hatchett in hopes of becoming a famous dancer. She soon realized that as much as she loved to dance her heart was in teaching. The joy she got from seeing each child she taught love dance as much as she did made her heart smile. Watching them grow each year and become great little dancers in their own way.
" I want to thank you for letting me be a small part in your child's life."
"After 39 years of teaching I have hung up my dance shoes to focus more on the operations of Miss Donna's. My heart will always be with the children even though my feet may not be. "
Jana Smith has been involved in dance since the age of 3. She is trained in all areas, yet specializes in jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. Growing up, Jana trained at a studio in Charlotte. She has also studied under many well known choreographers including Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchett, Sheila Barker, Mia Michels, Brian Friedman, Jason Parsons, and Mandy Moore. Growing up as a competition dancer herself, she received many scholarships to study and further her career. She studied and trained in NYC for several summers as a teenager. Upon graduating high school, Jana received a full dance scholarship to attend UNCC, and obtained a B.A in Dance Performance and Education in 2004.
Jana was also involved in her college dance team who placed first in their division for the 4 years she attended. Being on a college dance team brought her the amazing opportunity to work with NDA, where she traveled across the US teaching and choreographing for high school and college dance teams.
Jana has been teaching for Miss Donna since 2004. She teaches and choreographs jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop to the dancers who are in competition. Each dance year she choreographs nearly 100 routines for the studio! Her kids and choreography place nationally and she has several choreography awards including Choreographer of the Year at the World Dance Championships in NYC. Jana’s routines over the years have won several National titles along with World titles as well. Many of her students continue to pursue dance after graduating and are currently working in the dance industry. One of her former students is now the lead role in the touring company of Cats! This past year, another one of her students became a Radio City Rockette, in the Christmas Spectacular ensemble for their very first job in the field! Proud is an understatement for how she feels about her students. Dance is in her blood; it drives her, and she is so thrilled to share her knowledge and gift to the wonderful students of Miss Donna’s School of Dancing.
Megan Hornung is a performer and professional dancer from Charlotte, NC. She began her dance training at the age of three and she grew up dancing at some of the most competitive dance studios in the Charlotte area. She continued her dance training as the youngest member of the traveling tap troupe Tapaholics and also appeared as a principal dancer in the off-Broadway production "Slide" while still attending high school. Megan also gained experience traveling to multiple cities such as Los Angeles and New York to train with many renowned professional dancers and choreographers, before receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with a concentration in Dance Studies. While attending college, she spent countless hours training and performing with the UNCG Dance team, the Spartan G's. She began teaching at local studios upon returning home and held the position of Competition Director for several years at her previous studio. Her unique and award-winning choreography has earned numerous awards and accolades across the state throughout the last decade.
Hi I’m Neely Hill. I have been teaching at Miss Donna’s for 23 years! I began dancing at the age of 2 and I haven’t stopped since. I was also a Honeybee for the Charlotte Hornets in my college years. By day, I am a kindergarten teacher and I love working with children. I have two daughters, Harper and Rowyn, who dance competitively for Miss Donna’s as well. Dance is my passion, and I love sharing my passion with your children!
Competition Tumble Teacher
Hi, my name is Jennifer Hornaday! I am a teachers assistant and a full-time mom to my two awesome children. Growing up I was a competitive gymnast, and then went on to dance, and do competitive cheerleading. Tumbling was my passion and as an adult teaching children is my passion! I am USAG certified and safe sport certified. I love to help students reach their own personal goals in tumbling. Incorporating fun but challenging skills to all students and helping build good character are my main goals.
Long Creek Manager
& Competition Teacher
Miss Alicia teaches both recreational and competitive dance for Miss Donna’s. Miss Alicia has been dancing since the age of 2. She started taking dance at Miss Donna’s in the footsteps of her mother Mary, who also danced with Miss Donna since the age of 2. After about 6 years of taking recreational dance Miss Alicia joined the competition dance team where she furthered her knowledge in all subjects of dance including Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, and Hip Hop until she was 18. After graduating high school, Alicia attended community college and started to assist Mrs. Shannon where she would end up learning so much more about dance, and even more so the joys of teaching. This is now Miss Alicia’s 14th year teaching for Miss Donna. Miss Alicia loves to teach and loves to be around children. She has two children, Adalyn and Arya. Adalyn is starting her 8th year of dance and Arya will be starting her 4th year! Miss Alicia is ready for another great year!
Miss Jessica started taking dance at the age of two, graduating with 11 years of recreational and competitive technique at 18. Before taking a break from dance, she assisted with various instructors at Miss Donnas. She assisted her sister Miss Alicia at the Long Creek location for recreational and competitive in the past, but she is managing and teaching the best students at the Harrisburg location! Passion is in every smile that comes through the door, the light in student’s eyes when they finally conquer a new step. With her mother Miss Mary, and sister Alicia, two nieces in the competitive team, it’s safe to say dancing is in her bones!
Indian Trail Teacher
Miss Amelia started dancing with MDSD at the age of three. From an early age, she was drawn to dance because her grandmother previously owned a dance studio. She spent 14 years with MDSD up until her high school graduation. Miss Amelia recently graduated from UNC Charlotte with her bachelors in Elementary Education and when she is not at the studio she is a 5th grade classroom teacher. Miss Amelia is very excited about starting her 6th year as a teacher at the studio and plans to continue to share her passion for dance for years to come!
Indian Trail Teacher
Miss Alex is a Charlotte native with 25 years of dancing experience and 11 years of teaching experience. She started dance at 3 years old, danced competitively for a local studio for several years, and even took on dancing at the collegiate level as part of Western Carolina University’s nationally ranked dance team for 3 years. After graduating WCU in 2017 with her bachelor’s in business administration and marketing, she joined the MDSD staff as an assistant, and has since become a head teacher at both Sardis and Indian Trail locations and helped assist on the Competition team for the past 4 seasons. Miss Alex is excited to begin her 7th year of teaching at Miss Donna’s! Her favorite style of dance is jazz because it is upbeat, sassy and FUN! In addition to her job at Miss Donna’s, she works as a Data Specialist. Miss Alex just got married in May 2023, and when she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her husband and their two dogs, Olive and Miller. Dance has always been her passion, and seeing her “dance babies” on stage at the end of every season sharing that same love and passion is what makes working at MDSD the most rewarding for Miss Alex.
Miss Sonja, a Charlotte native, began dancing at the age of 2 at the Bethlehem Center and by the age of 8, she was dancing at Miss Donna’s. By the time she was in middle school, she was a teacher assistant and competitive dancer. While at MDSD, she received the Merit and Scholarship Awards, and prior to heading off to college, she received a dance scholarship for college from the Star Systems Dance Nationals in 1992.
Miss Sonja attended North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned BS degrees in Business Administration Management & Office Administration. While in college, she was a member of the Blue & Gold Marching Machine Band, where she was on the “Golden Delight” flag/dance squad for 4 years and served as co-captain in 1994. She was also on the “Aggie Essence” dance team for 3 years where she also served as co-captain. Upon graduating in 1997, she taught at MDSD for one year before going on to earn her MBA from Pfeiffer University in 2000.
Miss Sonja has trained in many styles of dance. Her favorites are tap, jazz, and liturgical, as well as twirling flags. She has taught at the Bethlehem Center, was a West Charlotte High School Coach for the flag & dance team. Additionally, while living in St. Louis, MO, she was the Central Baptist Liturgical Dance Ministry Co-Director/Choreographer and taught at DK Dance Productions. Her biggest accomplishment was choregraphing a 1st place overall 12 & under jazz duo at Headliners Regional Dance competition in 2013.
When not at the studio, Miss Sonja works in Accounting. She resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband, Calvin and their children, Courtney (a competitive dancer at MDSD) and CJ. Miss Sonja is extremely proud to say that she’s a “MDSD Alumni!!” It is through her dance up bringing that she has developed her love of dance. Her goal is to share that same love with all her students and to encourage them to strive to be their very best, not only in dance, but in all they do.
Long Creek Teacher
danced with Miss Donna’s for 15 years - 10 years in recreational and 5 years in competition. This will be her 4th year teaching at the Long Creek Studio.
Her favorite styles of dance are tap and lyrical.
When she's not teaching, she loves to spend time with her family.
Her husband is Adam, and they have a two year old son, Oliver James. They also have an American Staffordshire Terrior named Tillie Mae.
Indian Trail Teacher
Miss Gabi has been dancing at Miss Donna's since she was 2 years old. She discovered her love for teaching at the age of 13 and has made it her goal to have a positive impact on every student's life. She is our Hip Hop teacher and an assistant teacher as well. Miss Gabi plans to continue to dance throughout college and study business, but for now she is thrilled to begin her 15th year of dance and her 5th year of teaching.
A Chance to Dance
Miss Kim is a proud mom of three beautiful daughters. She's a former UNCC 49er Gold Duster and she took her very first dance class at Miss Donna's when she was 2 years old. While she loves all styles of dance, ballet and lyrical are her favorite. Dance has always been a part of her life. Kim's youngest daughter Reagan is on the autism spectrum. Inspired by her daughter she dreamed of starting an inclusive dance program for the special needs community and in the summer of 2015 that dream became a reality when Miss Donna gave A Chance To Dance for special needs a home. She's very proud to be a part of Miss Donna's School of Dancing. Kim's life verse is Galatians 6:9.