“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle
Faculty & Staff
Jana Christensen, Artistic Director
Jana Christensen first came to the Franklin School of Performing Arts in 1993 to study under Kaylee Cahoon. She was named the FSPA student of the year in 1998 and shortly thereafter joined the faculty. Jana credits her jazz and teaching style to the influences of her many teachers, Luigi (pioneer of jazz dance), Jeffery Bullock (former Hubbard Street dancer), and Geri Houlihan (former Lar Lubovitch dancer).
She has been a guest teacher for the Nashville School of the Arts, Metro Parks, and the City Performing Arts Academy in Visalia, CA. Jana has had students go on to nationally recognized college dance programs, as well as, students dancing on Broadway. Jana is also a certified Pilates instructor for Pilates of Cool Springs. Her vast Pilates training has been through Core Dynamics Pilates in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado, and Power Pilates of NYC. Jana's personal goal as a dance teacher is to instill correct alignment and body patterns in her students through the art of dance. Jana has her Associates degree in business from Columbia State Community College.
Megan Ciccoline White
Megan holds a Bachelor’s in Science in Psychology, Dance, and Nutrition. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Dance for Columbia State Community College in Franklin TN.
The past twenty years Megan has been studying dance in Nashville, New York, and California. Sixteen of those years she has been teaching in the Middle Tennessee area where she has held title of Artistic Director of Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory and of the Spring Hill Arts Center's School of Dance. In 2009, White founded Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory to provide her local community with classical dance education. She developed a strong ballet and modern concentrated program that trained dancers to continue on at American Ballet Theatre, Joffery Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Next Generation Ballet, Scripps College, and Florida State University.
As the Artistic Director, White presented over a dozen evening length works including The Nutcracker, La fille mal gardee, Carnival of Animals, and original productions. Megan’s contemporary choreography was noted and placed her student in the top 12 of the 2012 Youth American Grand Prix. In the summer of 2012 Megan co-taught a six week pilot program for Very Special Arts of Tennessee, teaching dance to children with down syndrome and autism. In the fall of 2012 she continued her work by creating a Special Needs dance program at Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory.
Megan began studying modern dance technique, composition, and improviation as a child with former Nikolais and Louis company member, Kaylee Scott Cahoon. She trained under Cahoon at Franklin School of Performing Arts, in Franklin TN for twelve years, continuing on to teach modern, tap, and jazz at the school. During that time Megan had the amazing opportunities to take workshops and master classes from Donald McKayle, Luigi, Bill T. Jones, and Sean Curran, In 2001, Megan moved to Los Angeles to pursue school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, concentrating on Costume Design. This experience helped aid Megan in her work as a dance costume designer. Megan left California to go on tour with multiple touring acts, including a two-year run with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. During this time she worked as a wardrobe mistress and taught pilates and contemporary dance on tour. Megan has continued her dance education by taking classes from Luigi and Brenda Bufalino, as well as, attending workshops at Giordano Jazz Dance, American Tap Dance Festival, NYC Dance Teacher Summit, and Tennessee Association of Dance. She has also taken courses in Laban Movement Analysis, Alexander Technique and Dance Movement Therapy.
In 2018, Megan was awarded the Judith Woodruff, Professional Development Scholarship from the Tennessee Association of Dance, as well as, the Game On Grant from Aldi to implement a mindful movement program at McDowell Elementary in Columbia, TN. She is currently pursuing her K-12 Licensure in Dance from the National Dance Educator's Organization, and hopes to continue arts integration in the Maury County school system.
Thom Yzaguirre, Ballet Director, ABT® Certified Teacher
Originally from Montana, Thom Yzaguirre began his formal dance training at Minnesota Dance Theatre and School. Thom trained in both ballet and modern dance, and worked his way up from student to Company 2 dancer.
Thom went on to receive scholarships with the Tidewater Ballet Academy, Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Among his many teachers were Bonnie Mathis, Gene K. Hammett, Susan Borree, Robert Joffrey, Michael Bjerknes, Stephen Jenkins and Elaine Thomas.
He has danced professionally with Duluth Ballet, Ballet Arizona, as a soloist with Louisville Ballet and as a principal with Nevada Dance Theatre and Nashville Ballet. He has worked with a variety of directors including Loyce Houlton, Vassili Sulich and Janek Schergen. He has also danced a wide range of choreography by a host of dance masters including Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Graham Lustig, Paul Vasterling and Choo San-Goh.
Mr. Yzaguirre has been a guest teacher for the Tidewater Ballet Academy, the Academy of Nevada Dance Theatre, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Nashville Ballet, Tennessee Association of Dance and Ballet of Theatre Arts.
He currently lives in Nashville and is the director of the ballet program at Franklin School of Performing Arts. Thom also works with competitive figure skaters at A Game Skate Academy and teaches ballet for the Commercial Entertainment Department at Columbia State Community College.
Thom Yzaguirre completed an intensive workshop in the Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Junior, Senior & Advanced programs conducted and produced by Marie Walton-Mahon in August 2016. PBT is an innovative program developed by Ms. Walton-Mahon for students to understand the depth of training muscle memory in order to achieve their personal best in dance class. PBT is a structured class that uses fit balls, therabands and mats to help improve students’ understanding of core stability, weight placement and alignment. Thom is excited to start using these teaching tools in ballet class and also to incorporate PBT class in the FSPA schedule.
Thom Yzaguirre is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 + Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum (NTC). ABT® NTC is a breakthrough 9 level program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training.
Jackie Zarcone, ABT® Certified Teacher
Jackie Zarcone grew up dancing at Franklin School of Performing Arts under the direction of Kaylee Cahoon founder and Modern teacher, Jana Christensen Artistic Director and Jazz Teacher and Thom Yzaguirre Ballet Director. She expanded her training in college, graduating from the University of Alabama with a BA in Dance and a minor in Biology. She continued to train in ballet, modern, and jazz under Director Cornelius Carter and Associate Professors Sarah M. Barry, Rita Snyder and Qianping Guo. While at Alabama, she choreographed and performed with Dance Alabama, was an active member of Nu Delta Alpha the national dance honor society and Alpha Psi Omega the national theatre honor society.
She loves sharing her passion for ballet at Franklin School of Performing Arts and aims to help students to express themselves with movement using appropriate body alignment and muscle control.
Jackie completed an intensive workshop in Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Junior, Senior, & Advanced programs conducted and produced by Marie Walton- Mahon in August 2016. PBT is an innovative program developed by Ms. Walton- Mahon for students to understand the depth of training muscle memory in order to achieve their personal best in dance class. PBT is a structured class that uses fit balls, thera-bands, and mats to help improve students' understanding of core stability, weight placement, and alignment.
Jackie is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Lori Brown, Children's Classes
Lori Brown was blessed to be raised in a musical family studying piano from her mother and later went on to take at the university level. She was also in band, orchestra and theater. She performed is several ensembles and her natural sense of rhythm allowed her exposure to choreography in musicals and a position in a dance squad. She secured a vocal scholarship to Bethel college, where she studied classical vocal performance. She performed lead or supporting roles in productions of 1940s Radio Hour, Paint your Wagon and Once Upon a Mattress, and also traveled in a variety of singing groups. She quickly realized the value of formal dance education and sought out learning opportunities. Lori studied general dance education at Saint Mary's, Norte Dame . She also took throughout the summer at festivals and a community center. Since moving to the Nashville area, she has revisited her passion of music and movement and began teaching at Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory in 2009. She has also taught at iNTEGRiTi MUSiC, Concordia Arts Academy as well as the Longview Recreation Center. She has experience in directing Musical Theater , teaching primary Tap, Ballet, Tumble and Jazz. Her passion remains for the youngest movers. You will find her singing and creating a highly interactive environment designed for two to five year old children. She believes in child lead classes and is thrilled to be joining the FSPA/CSPA faculty.
Lori has a belief that the arts are to be open to all abilities and creativity is a gift to be shared. Lori is also Registered Dietitian practicing in Franklin and Columbia. She is passionate about helping people rediscover joy in consuming nutrious foods without restriction or fear. When she is not working she enjoys walking, hiking or playing with her kids. She currently resides in Columbia, TN with her two sweet daughters and very fluffy dog.
Renee McKinney, Tap
Renee McKinney received her BFA in Performing Arts from Western Kentucky University. She has directed and choreographed countless productions for Cumberland County Playhouse as well as having performed in Cats, 42nd Street, Grease, Music Man, Anything Goes, Little Me and Hello Dolly just to name a few. Renee has studied all forms of dance, but holds a special passion for Tap and Musical Theatre. The past 2 summers Renee has attended the Dance Teacher Summit in NYC, continuing to learn from some of the nations top Dance Educators. Renee has 16 years of teaching experience with all ages including adults in the Tennessee area. She is excited about returning to FSPA after a 3 year break. Renee's energy and enthusiasm for dance shows in all her classes!.
Amanda Gavigan, Modern
Amanda Gavigan is originally from Nashville, TN where she grew up and spent most of her childhood at the Franklin School of Performing Arts. In 2002, she spent the summer at the American Dance Festival as a summer scholarship attendee. In 2008, Amanda graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance.
During her time at FSU, Amanda was a member of the Dance Repertory Theatre under the direction of Lynda Davis and performed in numerous concerts and outreach performances. In 2008, Amanda choreographed and had her work performed at Florida State.
She has worked with several internationally recognized choreographers such as Dan Wagoner, Gerri Houlihan, Lynda Davis, Alan Danielson, Bruce Wood, Wallie Wolfgruber, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Since graduating Amanda has lived in New York, performing work with Dajhia Ingram Dance and Amalgamate Dance Company. She has taught in Tennessee at Franklin School of Performing Arts, Harpeth Hall Academy, and Pearre Creek Elementary. Amanda is very excited to be back in Tennessee teaching again at FSPA!
Hadassah Perry, Modern
Hadassah Perry was born in the U.S. in 1997. She studied at the Franklin School of Performing Arts in Nashville, TN, and with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Northern Israel in2016-2017. She has participated in the Tel Aviv Gaga intensive, Bates Dance Festival, and the Movement Invention Project. Alongside her own choreographic works for the Franklin School of Performing Arts and for the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, she has worked with choreographers Roy Assaf, Bryan Arias, Alex Ketley, Yin Yue, and Shannon Gillen. Hadassah began apprenticing with New Dialect founded by Banning Bouldin in 2014 and joined as a full member in 2018.
Stefani Paige, Vocal Performance
Stefani has been performing on stage since she was a child, and has always had a deep love for the performing arts. She participated in Odyssey of the Mind, a competitive acting, improv, and creative-thinking team in elementary and junior high school, and could never get enough of the thrill of the stage!
In 2009, she kicked off her film career in Carrie Underwood's Temporary Home music video as the young mom, and has been doing commercials, films, music videos, and television ever since with representation through Talent Trek and Heyman Talent.
In March she made her Tennessee Repertory debut in The Rotten Core as Genevieve, and she continues doing theatre and film consistently.
She completed studies at the Gately Poole Acting Conservatory at Northern Illinois University, she holds an Associate's degree in elementary education, and a BFA in Acting from Lipscomb University.
She is delighted at the opportunity to explore the magic of acting with the students of FSPA!
Ginny Shockley, Acting
Ginny, a native of Franklin, TN, discovered her passion for theatre in high school while performing with the Act Too Players. From there, she began working backstage at the Boiler Room Theatre as an Assistant Stage Manager and a House Manager, along with Lighting, Sound, and Multimedia operations. She was then promoted to Stage Manager just as she began her studies at Lipscomb University, eventually receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre.
After graduating, she worked at the Nashville Children's Theatre for three years in three roles as the Administrative Coordinator, Grants & Admin Manager, and Development & Education Associate before moving on to work as a freelance teaching artist and director.
She is now living in Brentwood with her husband, Zach, and puppy, Daisy.