Teacher Spotlight: Jennia Shanley

Our growing class list would be quite difficult to pull off without the awesome instructors we've been so honored to meet.  We'd like to give you the same opportunity to get to know our Chattery teachers a bit better. 

So, here are four questions to help you get to know Jennia Shanley and don't miss her teaching Introduction to Modern Dance tomorrow! 

Jennia Shanley grew up training in gymnastics and dance in Chattanooga, TN. At age fourteen, she knew she had a passion for dance and began honing her technique under her direction of Karen Smith at Baylor School. Jennia went on to graduate Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in Dance from Florida State University where she studied with world-renown artists and performed with Dance Repertory Theatre. Professionally, she has performed with Staib Dance of Atlanta, GA and Mary Love Dance Projects of Orlando, FL. Jennia currently serves on the faculty at Baylor School where she instructs Modern Dance to grades 6-12 and choreographs for annual concerts. She owns Ascension Dance, LLC which brings quality dance education to preschools in Chattanooga. Additionally, she is a guest artist at The Chattanooga Ballet, choreographing works for both the Children's Company and the Professional Company. When she's not dancing, Jennia enjoys walking and biking around town with her husband, Brendan, and cuddling with their miniature schnauzer, Emmy Lou. "Dance is more than just steps and counts," says Shanley, "it is an enriching medium for physical, artistic and intellectual growth."

How did you get started in your profession? 

I've always been movement-oriented since I was a young girl. I grew up training in dance and gymnastics and was always twirling, flipping and dancing around the house! Later on, once I started doing the college search, I knew I wanted to become a dance teacher, so I pursued my BFA in Dance. After graduating, I took on various jobs teaching anything and everything! From preschool gymnastics, elementary cheerleading, high school dance... if it moves, I've taught it! Over the last couple years I've been able to narrow my focus on teaching primarily creative movement and modern dance.

Why do you love Chattanooga?

Chattanooga is my hometown and unlike any other place I've been. It's funny because If you had asked me as a teenager if I would be in Chattanooga as an adult, I would've laughed in your face! I used to believe I wanted to live in Southern California and "be famous," but over time I began to fall in love with the South-- the scenery, mountains, rivers, the people. I spent a semester in NYC while I was in college, and from there I determined life in the big city was not for me. I love Chattanooga because it's a place where you can actually make an impact and be a part of the community. I enjoy seeing people I know when I'm out and about, and I love being able to see my dancers grow up from the time I've had them in elementary school through High School. Chattanooga is not too small of a town though, which I also appreciate. There's so many wonderful places to go, events, music, outdoor recreation... there's always something to do if you want to get out! Also, I love that it is becoming more bike and pedestrian friendly which is the most fun, healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around!

What's one topic you'd like to learn through The Chattery?

How to start an online blog and introduce revenue through advertisements.

What's something someone would be surprised to learn about you?

I think I've watched Gilmore Girls in its entirety, all seven seasons, about four times all the way through. It just never gets old for me!