The Creative Arts Guild Dance Department Faculty
Jessie Fincher Southerland
Guild Dance Director Jessie Southerland has an extensive background in Classical Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz and Tap Dance. She began her dance training at the age of three. Over the years she has worked with such notable instructors as Robert Barnett (Former Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet), Mary Munro (RAD), Maniya Barredo (Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet), Nicholas Pacana, Cornelius Carter and Carl Ratcliff. Her studies continued with Diane Callahan (San Francisco Ballet), Carol Smiarowski, Heidi Longwith, Stanislav Issaev (Moscow State Ballet Theater), Amy Card Lillios, Andrea Pell, Vincas Green, Jolie Long and Martha Goodman.
In 1999, Mrs. Southerland earned her B.F.A. in Dance Pedagogy from Brenau University after being awarded a four year dance merit scholarship. Her studies included Ballet, Modern and Jazz Techniques, teaching internships with Gainesville School of Ballet, Ballet Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Kinesiology for Dancers, Music for Dancers and Improvisation as well as Dance Practicum, Choreography and extensive performance credits. While attending Brenau University, she performed soloist roles with Gainesville Ballet and Brenau Dance Ensemble as well as making guest appearances on other projects. Mrs. Southerland was also a substitute dance instructor for Brenau University and Gainesville School of Ballet.
Since moving to this area, Mrs. Southerland has taught and choreographed for Dalton School of Ballet, Baker-VanCura Ballet Centre, Mountain Laurel Dance Studios, Bessy Smith Hall and created a dance program for The Lutheran School in Chattanooga, TN. She has also judged for the state of Georgia in the Georgia Governor's Honors program for many years. Mrs. Southerland served three terms as well as two additional guest terms as a dance panelist for Georgia Council for the Arts. Since 2001 and prior to joining the Guild, she owned and directed Dalton School of Ballet and Ballet Dalton. In 2005, she merged Dalton School of Ballet with the Creative Arts Guild and became the Director of Dance. In addition to her position with the Guild, she is also an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga teaching Dance Tech I and II classes.
Megan is a dance instructor and choreographer originally from Canton, Georgia. She started dancing at the age of 3 at the Woodstock School of Ballet where she studied ballet, modern, tap, and jazz and danced as a company member with the Cherokee Ballet Theatre. While studying at Brenau University, Megan performed both as a member of the Brenau Dance Ensemble and with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. During her time at Brenau, she had the opportunity to learn and perform original choreography from the Mark Morris Dance Group, Alwin Nikolais, and Bob Fosse. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies with a focus on the dance and theatre arts. After college, Megan has taught and choreographed for various studios in North Georgia and Nashville, including Cumming Dance Academy, Bellevue Performing Arts Center, and TMProductions as well as master classes for Heather Wayne’s Performing Arts, DanceEast, North Forsyth, Christ Presbyterian Academy, and Belmont University. Megan recently relocated to the Chattanooga area in January of 2021 and is excited to share her love for dance with the students at the Creative Arts Guild!
Rosalyn Zock Guerra
Rosalyn Guerra began her dance training when she was three years old. She grew up in the Dalton School of Ballet and The Creative Arts Guild/Ballet Dalton and has been trained in Ballet and Pointe, Modern, Jazz, and Hip Hop under instructors Jessie Southerland, Elizabeth Manley Fisher, Monica Coulter, Dana Smith Crain, Jessie Johnston Carmon, Lonnie Davis, Josh Keenum, Kara Marcum, and the late Michael Hollier. When she was only nine years old, Rosalyn was accepted into the Charleston Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Joffrey New York, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Nutmeg summer dance intensive programs. That year, she attended the Charleston Ballet Theatre dance camp for four weeks. At the Charleston Ballet Theatre, she trained under Patricia Cantwell (Executive Artistic Director), Jill Eathorne Bahr (Choreographer), Stephen Gabriel (Musical Theatre), Jessica Roan (Pointe), Janet V. Meister (Jazz), and Jonathan Tabbert (Variations).
Rosalyn graduated from Northwest Whitfield High School in 2010. Along with dancing, she played clarinet in the marching band and wind ensemble and attended District Honor Band all four years of high school. Rosalyn was a two-time semi-finalist in dance for the Georgia Governor’s Honor’s Program. During Rosalyn’s freshman year, the Creative Arts Guild began its annual winter ballet, “The Snow Queen,” and she was cast as “Kay” in the inaugural production. As a sophomore, she portrayed the title character “The Snow Queen.” As a junior, Rosalyn was “Queen of the Sprites,” and she graduated out of Ballet Dalton as “Gerda” for her final performances. Since then, she has returned almost every year to work backstage for “The Snow Queen.” Rosalyn has also been a substitute teacher for dance classes and has worked as an administrative assistant at the Creative Arts Guild Dance and Gymnastics Center. In addition to her work at the Creative Arts Guild, Rosalyn has been a volunteer at the Women’s Enrichment Center, and she has assisted in several Youth Ensemble Theatre productions at the Dalton Little Theatre.
Rosalyn attended Berry College, where she earned a B.S. in Sociology and Anthropology in 2014. She participated in the Wind Ensemble and Clarinet Choir and was the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club at Berry. After college, Rosalyn applied for and was accepted into the Peace Corps as a Community Health Promoter in Telpaneca, Madriz, Nicaragua for 27 months (March 2015-June 2017), where she became fluent in Spanish. She worked side-by-side with Nicaraguan counterparts to educate community members and health promoters on HIV prevention, teen life skills, and infant and maternal health. Now back in the United States, and along with instructing dance at the Creative Arts Guild, she is the Executive Assistant to the president of The New Flat Rate. She is delighted to be starting a new year with her Creative Arts Guild family.
Lyndi Jensen is a lead Ballet Dalton Company Member, a member of the Guild’s teaching apprenticeship program, and a Dance Department substitute. Lyndi has danced for 9 years, five of those as a Ballet Dalton Company member at The Creative Arts Guild. During her time in company, she has danced many group and leading roles including Kay, the Doll, and most recently, the coveted role of the Fall Princess. She trains in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. Lyndi is also a dual enrollment student at Dalton State College and Dalton High School. In her spare time, she works at Fiddleheads Garden Center doing digital marketing/advertising, a weekly newsletter, in store advertisement, and LED signage. The Guild is very excited to welcome her to our permanent dance staff.
Sean Tristan Steigerwald began his training in the Atlanta area at Academy Dance Company and Roswell Dance Theatre. He received additional training at the International Ballet Competition, Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, The Houston Ballet School, and The Orlando Ballet School. He participated in the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association’s festival from 2002-2005. Sean graduated with a B.F.A. from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied with renowned artists Mellisa Hayden, Susan McCullough, Ethan Stiefel and Warren Connover. Sean joined The Georgia Ballet in 2010 and worked with Directors Gina and Jansz Mason, Alexandre Proia, Fiona Farrie, and Daet Rodriguez performing classical and neo classical ballets, as well as contemporary works. Sean has enjoyed performing soloist and principal roles in productions such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Carmen, La Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Peter Pan, Sleepy Hollow, Four Seasons, Hayden, and The Nutcracker
Sean Steigerwald has taught in the Atlanta Area for the past thirteen years at a variety of schools. From 2015-2021 he started and built the ballet department at Core Dance and Acrobatics Studio. Additionally, Sean created his own curriculum, and choreographed and directed his own abridged version of The Nutcracker. In 2016, Sean was hired at the East Side School of Ballet as their advanced instructor in both contemporary and classical ballet. He choreographed and assistant directed ballets including The Snow Queen, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He has also coached students in female variations from ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and Swan Lake.
In the past, Sean has taught ballet technique, pointe, variations, partnering, contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop. He is also Balance Body certified to teach both mat and reformer Pilates. Sean Steigerwald’s passion is pushing students to their highest potential and watching them grow into beautiful and talented dancers.