Emory Friends of Dance Board of Directors

2017-2018 Friends of Dance Board of Directors:

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


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.



Sharon Carelock began performing at church and she instantly knew that she wanted to pursue a professional career in the arts. With the encouragement and guidance from her family, she attended Emory University (Oxford College and Emory College) where she received an undergraduate degree focused on dance, theater, and production design. After graduation, Sharon choreographed and performed for many notable artists in the Atlanta area while continuing to develop her skills in technical theater under the mentorship of Emory dance faculty Greg Catellier and BlackLight Productions’ Andre Allen.  In 2013 she was accepted to the master's program at the Florida State University School of Dance. There she renewed her passion for singing by working on projects such as Emily Johnson’s piece SHORE and  to create unique movement and vocal works, such as, How He Went Home (2013), Bardo (2014), and her thesis work [Contain(her)] (2015). Carelock came back to Atlanta and immediately started working for Lucky Penny as a stage manager for their summer production Head’s Up and the youth development dance organization, Moving in the Spirit, as a Teaching Artist and a Technical Director, as well as volunteering her production skills to church/community organizations, such as World Changers Youth Experience and Organique Connections, and performing in the memorable works BAES: Beauty and Entertainment Systems by Corian Ellisor and Keep the Body, Take the Mind by Kamali Hill. Sharon continues to perform with amazing choreographers and directors in the Atlanta area. She is currently the Production Manager for Core Dance.

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.



Edward McNally

Longtime ATL creative connector and sensory concierge Edward (never "Ed"McNally creates / promotes immersive experiences, rooftop cocktail parties and other unique cultural happenings here and across the US. A seasoned Burner since 2000, Edward explores urban jungles and wild places around the city and way, way beyond seeking passionate creative souls, transformative performances, primal communal rituals and serenely tranquil spaces. Creative Loafing recently invited him to post a bi-weekly online column showcasing innovators and issues impacting Atlanta’s performing arts scene. Edward is an avid and astute patron of contemporary dance and theatre across the city, attending more than fifty performances a year presented by visiting and Atlanta-based dancers, choreographers, actors and directors. He has actively promoted, and occasionally participated in, performances by gloATL, T. Lang Dance, Zoetic Dance Ensemble and Push Push Theatre, among others. Edward is a founding board member of Fly on a Wall, the ATL-based idea house / movement theater group. 

Past lives include serving in communications positions for the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He has served on the Board of 7 Stages Theatre and on the jury for Forward Atlanta’s annual Emerging (Visual) Artist Award. An Atlanta resident since 1970, Edward and his British-born wife Siobhan Gilchrist share their Capital View home (circa 1916) with their amazing dogs Ninja and Molly.


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.



Patton White graduated from Emory University in 1983 with degrees in Psychology and Philosophy, and has worked as a dancer and choreographer since 1982, for the stage, site-specific work, and dance for the camera.  As Artistic Director of Beacon Dance since 1990, he has sought innovative ways to bring art to the public, including site works throughout DeKalb County parks and nature centers, the High Museum of Art, in the former Sears building in Atlanta, in Freedom Park, at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, the B Complex in southwest Atlanta, the Emory University Campus, and on the Atlanta Beltline.  White is also the Company Manager of Core Dance and teaches part time at Emory University.  He has been an artist in residence at UNLV, Rice University, and Emory University, and has conducted numerous community residencies and his work has been funded by the NEA, South Arts, GCA, Florida Council on Arts & Culture, among others.  He has been a member of Alternate ROOTS since 1997, and is happy to be supporting his alma mater through the board of Emory’s Friends of Dance.