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.
I was really born into the business, with Miss Donna being my mom I started dancing at the age of 2 and teaching when I was 16. I 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. I soon realized that as much as I loved to dance my heart was in teaching. The joy I get from seeing each child I teach love dance as much as I do made my heart smile. Watching them grow each year and become a great little dancer in their own way. I am now going on my 35th year of teaching and I absolutely love it. I want to thank you for letting me be a small part in your child's life.
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.
Long Creek Manager
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 11th 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 4th year of dance and Arya will be starting her 1st year! Miss Alicia is ready for another great year!
Miss Jessica started taking dance at Miss Donna’s when she was two years old all the way up until graduating at eighteen. After a few years away from dance, she was able to return and continue teaching and fulfilling her passion of working with kids. Assisting with Miss Alicia at the Long Creek location and now she is also teaching Monday’s and Saturday’s at Harrisburg.
Alex Brunt is a Charlotte native with over 20 years of dancing experience. She has had 8 years of competitive dancing experience, which includes 3 years as part of the Nationally Ranked Western Carolina University Dance Team (where she graduated in 2017 with her Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing) as well as about 10 years of dance teaching/assisting experience. This is her third year teaching at Miss Donna's School of Dance and she cannot wait to see what this year will have in store. Her favorite style of dance is jazz, because it is upbeat, sassy and FUN! When she is not teaching at MDSD, you can find her at her "big girl job" at Sealed Air Corporation, at a country music concert, or at home catching up on her favorite TV shows.
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.
Indian Trail Teacher
Miss Jackie has been dancing at Miss Donna’s since she was two years old. After graduating high school, she went on to double major in elementary and dance education at East Carolina University. While at ECU, she took various classes in ballet, jazz, modern, , tap, and improvisation. She will be starting her 8th year teaching with Miss Donna in the 2019-2020 season and could not be more excited!
Indian Trail Teacher
Indian Trail Teacher
Miss Amelia started dancing at MDSD at the age of 3. From an early age, she was drawn to dance because her grandmother owned a dance studio out of state. She has 14 years of dance experience through Miss Donna's. Miss Amelia also graduated high school with the class of 2018. She is now studying Physical Therapy at Central Piedmont Community College. With plans to continue to share her passion for dance in her future.
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.