The Creative Arts Guild Dance Department Faculty

Jessie Fincher Southerland

Jessie Fincher Dance Pose

Guild Dance Director Jessie Fincher 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.


Rosalyn Zock

Rosalyn Zock 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 Fincher, 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.


Megan Ervin

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! 


Lauren Day

Lauren Day started her dance training in 1996 under direction of Barry and Anna VanCura with the Ballet Tennessee Conservatory. She had the opportunity to be part of the outreach performance programs with the Hamilton County School System, as well as many performances throughout Chattanooga’s city events featuring Ballet Tennessee. With Ballet Tennessee she danced company roles and was also featured in many lead roles throughout her youth, and was a part of Ballet Tennessee’s Company. Lauren Graduated from The Center for Creative Arts as a Dance Major in 2004, and danced under the instruction of Mira Popovich, a former prima ballerina in the Serbian National Ballet, while attending Birmingham Southern as a Dance Major and Education Minor. She has also taken workshops and summer intensives with Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Virginia School of the Arts. She has danced roles such as Bluebird in Peter and the Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood in The Sleeping Beauty, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Christmas Future, Pas de Quatre, and more. With Ballet Tennessee she has restaged excerpts of the VanCura’s Ballets, choreographed different ballet, jazz, and musical theater works, and alongside Jenison Owens, set a full length How the Grinch Stole Christmas Ballet. Lauren has also had the opportunity to perform in dance films for Pop-Up Project and The Chattanooga Boys Choir’s Singing at the Christmas Tree. This will be Lauren’s 7th year teaching around the Chattanooga and Dalton areas, with her home base in Chattanooga with her two children Lilly and Elijah.  Lauren is excited to be beginning her first season with the Creative Arts Guild.