Chattanooga Dancing Faculty

Donna Massari

Chattanooga dancing Donna Massari is the Director of the School and the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga. She began her teaching career by opening her own studio in 1973.

 She has appeared with several dance companies that include the Original Chattanooga Civic Ballet, Dance Theater Workshop, Louisville Ballet, Tennessee Festival Ballet, and the Scottish American Ballet. She has served as ballet mistress for the children’s cast for Tennessee Festival Ballet and the Scottish American Ballet. She was Founder/Director of the Chattanooga Dance Ensemble. She has functioned as choreographer for  local, civic, and educational programs including ABC Dance, a program in collaboration with Allied Arts of Chattanooga that has given thousands of preshoolers a chance to experience dance in a theater setting.  She also served as choreographer for Chattanooga Theater Center. Productions including You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Christmas Carol, The Fantastiks, A Little Night Music, How to Succeed in Business, Little Shop of Horrors, Company and many others.  She has performed extensively in various Theater and summer stock productions.

Donna is Past President of the Board of Directors of Project ABLE (Arts Builds Learning Experience)….and served as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Association of Dance.


IN MEMORIAM..David Wood… 1950-2018  

Chattanooga Dancing David Wood was Administrator of the School and Co Director of the Ballet Company. He Taught Dance for 35 years.

David  danced principal roles with the Chattanooga Civic Ballet, the Scottish American Ballet, Allegro Dance Theater, and the Chattanooga Dance Ensemble.  He performed with the Chattanooga Opera for many years and was a professional musician and church organist for 47 years. He was a member of the comedy improvisational group, Chattanoodle. David was selected as an Artist-In-Residence for the Tennessee Arts Commission, Allied Arts and the WolfTrap Foundation.  He served as Lighting Design/Director for over 100 local productions.   David  directed and choreographed    for the Signal Mountain Playhouse, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, Oak Street Playhouse and  numerous high schools. He was Drama Director for McCallie Middle School.   He was also Technical Director for McCallie School and lighting designer for Barking Legs Theater and Heritage High School.  David was Adjunct Faculty at Chattanooga State teaching Movement for Actors in the Professional Acting Program.

In 2016 he received an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Governors School for the Arts in dance.

He will be missed VERY much by all of his dancers, students and friends.


Christy Baker

Chattanooga Dancing

Since the age of seven, Christy Baker has performed in ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, tap, and jazz. She received her primary dance education at Massari-Wood Dance Center, where she performed with the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga in roles such as Snow Queen and Arabian in the Nutcracker.

She later studied at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she was a dance performance minor, performing with the University of Tennessee Dance Company for all four years of her attendance, and studied under Melinda Brown-Guion and Peggy Burks Denny. With the UTDC, she performed in local productions in Knoxville, as well as represented the university in annual adjudicated performances at the American College Dance Festival, where she studied with great choreographers and dancers, such as Donald McKayle, Garth Fagan, Fernando Bujones, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and many others.

Baker was the founder and head coach of the two-time state champion Hunter Middle School Flygirls dance team in Ooltewah, TN, and also coached our now disbanded award winning hip hop team, the Massari-Wood All Stars. 

She is currently the jazz instructor at Massari-Wood Dance Center. Full-time, Baker works as a language arts teacher at Hunter Middle School. She is also married to a wonderful man, has two beautiful little boys, and has a pretty awesome boxer named Oscar.

–“I am a dancer.  I believe that we learn by practice.  Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living…. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit.  One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”  ~Martha Graham


Amberjill White Batey

Amberjill started ballet at the age of four and fell in love with dance. She found her home away from home at Massari-Wood dance studio when she was ten years old, and was invited to join the Civic Ballet Company in 2000.  She rejoined the company in 2014, and has preformed in many productions. Such as, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Guarde, Sérénade, and Giselle.
>  After assisting as a student teacher  for many years… she was given her her own class and loved it.  She is always excited to be teaching and looks forward it every week.
Amberjill also enjoys sewing and beadwork and has helped with costume repairs and construction.  She has contributed costumes and headpieces for Nutcracker, Swan Lake and several others.



Cara has belonged to the Massari-Wood Dance family since she was 4 years old. Over her years at the studio she has studied ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. At 13 years old she was given her first lead role as Clara in the Nutcracker. The following year she was invited to become a company member with the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga. Since then Cara has starred in numerous roles such as Dew Drop and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Princess Tsarevna in The Firebird.

While studying nursing at Berry College, Cara also took classes in ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, and yoga. She performed with the Berry College Dance Troupe for 4 years and won the award of Most Outstanding Female Dancer her Sophomore year.

Since moving back to Chattanooga, Cara has had the privilege to teach the Elementary 2 & 3 levels and is thrilled to be teaching them again this year. She is very excited to get to share an art form with others that has brought so much joy to her own life.

When not at the studio, Cara loves to spend her free time reading, practicing yoga, doing craft projects, and rambling through the woods with her husband and puppies, Sawyer and Finn.

Maggie Daniel

MAGGIE DANIELMaggie was introduced to her first ballet class at the age of six and immediately had a passion for dance. After six years of training with other studios she enrolled at the Massari-Wood Dance Center in 2009 and has been a part of their family ever since. She was accepted into the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga in 2013 and has performed in ballets such as Serenade, Giselle, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. She has choreographed and set original dance pieces on members of the Civic Ballet and Training companies. It has been her pleasure to serve as an assistant teacher alongside Donna Massari and David Wood for the past seven years in the following classes: M&M, Pre-ballet, Primary 1 & 3, and Elementary 1. In 2015, she was given the privilege to teach the Pre-ballet level.
Maggie is eager to be a part of the process to help young girls enjoy the beauty of dance.


Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio is a ballet teacher at Massari Wood Dance Center – covering ballet, pointe, and jazz classes.  She has served as Rehearsal Assistant to the Company, and provided costume assistance for several productions.

Emily grew up a part of the Massari-Wood Dance family.  She is a ‘twice member’ of the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga, where she was named a soloist in 1998, and invited to rejoin in 2013.  While attending Clemson University, she was a member of Clemson’s first Top Ten ranked dance team- The Rally Cats; and has also performed with the Baylor Dance Collective, Clemson Dancers and Baylor’s Verve.  Emily has danced in Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee, Ballet West; in addition to various soloist roles in The Nutcracker. She has also appeared in numerous original ballets and other works in recent years.

Emily enjoys teaching and studying the fundamentals of ballet, as well as fostering a love of dance in all of her students.


David Hedrick : 

We have been fortunate to have David Hedrick teach for us on occasion this past year! His classes were SO popular that he is officially now on board as a permanent Faculty member and will be teaching ballet classes with elements of variations and Pas de Deux. He is man of few words.. when I asked him for a short Resume so that I could share. This is what he sent.. he doesn’t really NEED to say a lot! Look at his bio!?  
San Francisco Ballet, 
Stars of American Ballet,
Metropolitan Opera Ballet,
Paris Opera Ballet.
Juilliard School,
School of American Ballet.


Sara McKenna – 
Sara began dance classes at the age of five in New Jersey and has continued her training in Georgia for the past twenty years. It was in high school when she took dance more seriously after performing her biggest role of Peter in Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ballet under the Trinity Christian Fellowship: The Studio. She studied under Lori Zamzow-Wire at Sugarloaf Performing Arts in the Sugarloaf Ballet Company, where she performed in the ballets Snow White, Aladdin, and Sleeping Beauty. After graduating from Collins Hill High School, Sara obtained her Bachelor’s degree in dance at Kennesaw State University with a concentration in ballet. While dancing with the Kennesaw Dance Company, Sara performed under choreographers such as Ivan Pulinkala, Sandra Parks, Lauri Stallings at the American College Dance Festival and at the Kennedy Center. She has also trained with the Atlanta Ballet, the Georgia Ballet, Tlang dance, Along King Lines ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Jose Limon Dance Foundation, and the PGK dance project during summer intensives. Since graduating, Sara has danced with SIDEWAYS Contemporary dance company, Fuerta Dance Company, Zoetic Dance Ensemble, Padeia Dance Theatre, Dance Canvas, Room to Move Dance, Professional Bodies and with Full Radius Dance while also teaching ballet, tap, modern, and jazz.
 Pam Miller

Chattanooga Dancing Pam began taking dance at the age of six at the Massari-Wood Dance Center. She continued to study dance and became a member of the Chattanooga Civic Ballet where she performed lead roles in Coppelia, Swan Lake, the Nutcracker and many other ballets. Pam was a dance major at the Performing Arts High School while performing with the Civic Ballet.

While completing a B.S. in Dance Education at the University of Georgia she performed and toured with the Georgia Ballet Ensemble.  Pam also served as the president of the Young Choreographers Series and studied multi-cultural dance with the Non-Stop Dance Company in Georgia.  She has performed in New York, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Upon returning to Chattanooga,  She received the outstanding teacher award for the Tennessee Governors School of the Arts.  Pam served as the Department Head and Primary Ballet and Modern teacher at the Center for Creative Arts High School for five years where she choreographed and staged two full production dance concerts per school year, created and executed a full dance curriculum with weekly lesson plans for students in Hamilton County schools grades 6 – 12, and worked with musical theater department as choreographer.

For the past few years she has enjoyed being a stay home mom for 2 boys while coaching and teaching for Massari Wood Dance Center.

“Teaching dance has always been my true passion.  I believe that every person can benefit from the discipline, strength and creativity that dance instills and that these qualities can carry over to all aspects of our lives.”  Pam Miller


   KRISTIN NALLEY will be teaching upper level Ballet Classes as well as Progressive Ballet Technique.
Kristin began dancing at the age of 2 at a small studio south of Atlanta and continued her passion for dance at the Atlanta Ballet in the Career Program. She danced in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Mid-Summers Night Dream. Kristin continued her dance education at Birmingham-Southern College, Georgia State University and Brenau University where she had the privilege to experience all types of forms of dance, not only ballet, from Modern to Jazz to Musical Theater. Kristin has her level one Dance Educators of America training and is PBT (Progressive Ballet Technique) certified and in Spring of 2019 graduated with her Master’s in Arts Administration. Currently, Kristin is guest choreographer for UTC Theatre Department, choregraphing such shows as Chicago, Oklahoma, Evita and Cats. 


Melissa Northy-Crane

Chattanooga Dancing Melissa has danced with our studio for twenty eight years, serving as the ballet mistress, Regisseur and rehearsal assistant for the Civic Ballet for the last 12 years. She has danced in many leading roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in our annual production of The Nutcracker. Melissa has a BS in Marketing and MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and works in IT at TVA. She has two beautiful children and a                                                                                       wonderful husband.


Amanda West

amanda2Amanda has been dancing since she was four, and at Massari-Wood since she was seven.  She was chosen for the Civic Ballet of Chattanooga when she was 15 years old to be a part of one of her favorite dances, Serenade.  She has also many roles such as the Arabian Princess and the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker as well as Sleeping Beauty.  She has choreographed the Russian dance in the Nutcracker for several years.  Amanda is principle teacher for the PRIMARY LEVEL. She is very excited to be teaching and helping younger students fall in love with dance.  She has a daughter who also loves dancing and will be performing in the   Nutcracker for the 6th time this year!!