Emory Friends of Dance Board of Directors

2017-2018 Friends of Dance Board of Directors:

Kate Balzer (President), Andrea J. Catchings, Lynne Clark, Alyson Goodman, Sheri Latham, Jennifer McCormick, Jessica Portugal, Rose Shields, Kendall Simpson (ex-officio, Treasurer/Secretary), Lori Teague (ex-officio)

Kate Balzer is the development and communications coordinator for The Atlanta Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to being a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls and to end generational poverty. A graduate of Monterey Institute of International Studies, she received her master of public administration in international management with a focus on international development and social change organizations. With over 10 years in the nonprofit sector, she is experienced in nonprofit management, volunteer management, event planning, and communications. Previous nonprofits include Several Dancers Core, Theatrical Outfit, Chicago Cares, and Young Nonprofit Professional Network of Atlanta. Most recently, she completed the graduate certificate in nonprofit management at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies from Emory University.

Andrea J. Catchings is an Atlanta-based teacher/choreographer whose philosophy hinges on the notion that everyone has the ability to dance—and to connect through dance. Her teaching style—informed by years of training as a competitive gymnast, as well as a track and field athlete—focuses on strength conditioning, technical proficiency, and authentic self-expression. 

While pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Emory University, Andrea performed extensively with the Emory Dance Program and other student dance organizations. She followed her passion for dance to Temple University where she earned an MFA in 2006.

Andrea is a former member of Full Radius Dance and has performed with other independent choreographers in Atlanta. She also served on faculty with Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education teaching Limon-based technique for beginner, intermediate/advanced, and pre-professional levels. With an emphasis on the creative process to foster a sense of permanence in the finished work, she strives to develop critical-thinking movers who are fully engaged in a meaningful, invigorating exchange of ideas.

Ms. Catchings currently serves on the performance committee for Eyedrum and is a professor at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. She continues to teach and choreograph for various dance studios, schools, festivals, and art events throughout the southeast.

Lynne Clark moved to Atlanta in 1997. She quickly fell in love with the city and all it had to offer. With her husband and daughter, she takes part in many different cultural activities. Upon discovering the dance world, Lynne and her family fell head over heels with dance and its vibrant community. Soon the Clarks became hands-on volunteers for many local arts organizations, for both dance and theater. Lynne has actively participated in many recent and diverse productions such as Hidden Away (the Library at Night), Dearly Departures, and Terminus. In 2010, Lynne and her daughter attended their first Emory Dance event, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, they attend as many Emory Dance events as possible.

Francine K. Johnson has had a passion for dance her entire life. She grew up in a large family beef cattle business in Ohio. Her formal dance training began when she was accepted into the Ohio State dance program. She got a bachelors degree in fine arts there with a major in dance performance and a minor in education. After a few years working as an artist, she returned to school and completed a masters in business, also from Ohio State.

She spent 23 years at Abbott, a Fortune 100 healthcare/pharmaceutical corporation. She also held 12 positions in that time and relocated eight times, including two international assignments—one in Oxford, England and the other in Paris, France.

Her core is to connect, collaborate, and create, with all. She has evolved her artistic endeavours into muliti-media, especially writing books. She enjoys being a patron of all art forms. Her current passions are helping others achieve their dreams and being a positive force in her global community.

Amanda Exley Lower is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and community builder, reaching audiences and students from Agnes Scott to the English Avenue neighborhood. Lower currently serves as a lecturer in the Agnes Scott Dance Program and as a teaching artist for Moving in the Spirit. She and her family recently relocated to Atlanta from Chicago. While in Chicago, Lower was the executive and artistic director of Striding Lion Performance Group, an interdisciplinary arts company equally committed to performance and outreach and was an adjunct professor of dance at Northwestern University. Lower’s dance performance highlights include appearances with the Jose Limon Dance Company, Clay Taliaferro, Shapiro & Smith, and Tere O’Connor. Lower has also played lead acting roles such as Kaspar in Peter Handke’s Kaspar and as Claire in Jean Genet’s The Maids. Her choreography has been performed in Chicago (Links Hall, Josephine Louis Theater of Northwestern University, the Neofuturarium, Hairpin Arts, Berger Park, the Swedish American Museum), Atlanta (Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, the Conant Center for the Performing Arts, the Beam, 7Stages), New York City (New York International Fringe Festival, Free Range Arts of NYC, Tisch Fifth Floor Theater), Cleveland (Cleveland Public Theater), Salt Lake City (Salt Palace), and in Durham, NC (Reynolds Theater, The Ark). She received a BA from Duke University and an MFA in dance performance and choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, with additional studies at the University of Ghana in Accra. She is also a certified Pilates instructor.

Jennifer McCormick began her interest in the performing arts at the age of six while attending her cousin’s dance recital and that interest hasn’t slowed down since. Studying dance through college and beyond, Jennifer began her nonprofit administration career interning with such organizations as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Aspen, and the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville, Florida. Following the completion of a BS in dance/arts administration at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jennifer transferred to Atlanta to pursue employment with Several Dancers Core. During her time at SDC, Jennifer completed her MBA at Oglethorpe University where she graduated with distinction and received the Faculty Award for Academic Achievement. Jennifer’s career then moved into the world of higher education administration, working with institutions such as Columbia Theological Seminary, Emory University School of Medicine, and the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a regional branch campus of the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. Jennifer currently serves as the accreditation and assessment coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Georgia State University. 

Jennifer’s previous board experience includes serving eight terms on her homeowner’s association board of directors (seven as secretary). In 2016, Jennifer completed The Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s “Women on Board: Level 1.”  In her free time, Jennifer enjoys working in her yard, taking yoga classes, and spending time with her dog, Peanut.

Rose Shields received her BFA in dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2007. She had the privilege to perform with UNCSA’s outreach program, The Open Dream Ensemble, a musical theater company bringing arts and education to kids all over the southeast. Rose was delighted to continue helping students be active learners through the use of arts and academic integration when she became a substitute teacher for three years with the Gwinnett County Public Schools. Rose has been energized through performing with Brooks & Company Dance, Bubba Carr, Serenbe Playhouse, Young Audiences Woodruff Arts Center, The Imperial OPA Circus, and ELEMENT Acrobats. She currently is in her third season as a dance artist with CORE Performance Company. Being very energetic herself, Rose enjoys climbing trees, break dancing, and making use of all styles of dance and physical expression.