Dana Smith Crain, Director
Dana Crain first opened Woodstock School of Ballet in 1985. Her early training included many years with Stanley Zompakos, a former member of New York City Ballet. In summer studies as a youth, she had instruction from Alexandra Danilova, Melissa Hayden, Robert Joffrey, Patricia Neary, Karel Shook, Patricia Wilde, Billy Wilson, Duncan Noble and Yurek Lazowski. In 1976 Ms. Crain earned a B.F.A degree in Dance from the University of South Florida and was awarded a City Spirit grant from the Tampa Arts Council for her choreographic contribution to Tampa’s Bicentennial celebration. A member of the Carl Ratcliff Dance Theater of Atlanta for six years, Ms. Crain toured extensively throughout the southeast. She also performed with Ruth Mitchell Dance Company and Susan Eldridge and Dancers. She has had master workshops with many modern dance companies including those directed by Murray Louis, Lar Lubovich, Alwin Nickolai, Jose Limon, Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham and Erick Hawkins. Since 1986 Ms. Crain has been an adjudicator for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program in Dance. In addition to teaching and directing at WSB, Ms. Crain has instructed dance at Shorter College, Berry College, Northside School for the Performing Arts (North Atlanta HS), Dalton School of Ballet, The Creative Arts Guild, Chattanooga Center for the Dance and Interlochen Arts Academy. From 1978-1986 Ms. Crain directed the dance programs for the Gilmer Arts Council and the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association. Also a past member of the Board of Directors for the Cherokee Arts Center, Ms. Crain has been recognized in all 3 communities for her outstanding contribution to the arts. She and her husband, Robert, have lived in Cherokee County since 1984 and have two wonderful daughters who grew up dancing at WSB.
Elizabeth Manley Fisher, Assistant Director
Elizabeth Fisher has been teaching and choreographing since 2000 and began working at WSB as Assistant Director in 2010. Ms. Fisher has also served as Assistant Director for the Creative Arts Guild, Dalton, GA, where she co-wrote and co-directed their annual production of The Snow Queen. She has been on staff and performed with Dalton School of Ballet, Tennessee Youth Ballet and Springfield Ballet (Springfield, MO) where she staged and coached children’s choreography for the Moscow Ballet’s touring performance of The Great Russian Nutcracker. A native of Dalton, GA, Ms. Fisher received her early training from Dalton School of Ballet and Ballet Tennessee. As a student some of her instructors included Jessie Johnston, Dana Crain, Travis Gatling, Terri Miller, Monica Coulter, Lonnie Davis, Jr., Barry Van Cura and Anna Baker Van Cura. She has studied with Ruth Mitchell Dance Company and Ballet Rotaru as well. As a student, Ms. Fisher was accepted into many prestigious summer programs, including BalletMet, Joffrey Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre. She participated in summer programs at Virginia School of the Arts, Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Alabama Ballet where she studied with such noted dance professionals as Petrus Bosman, Wes Chapman and Cynthia Harvey. As a high school sophomore, Ms. Fisher was chosen as one of 16 state finalists to attend the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program in Dance. Since 2005 she has served as an adjudicator in Dance for Governor’s Honors Program. She and her husband, Matt, reside in Acworth and have two beautiful children.
Lizzie Baker graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance with an emphasis in Modern Choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory. She is a native of Dalton, Georgia. In her youth, Lizzie had the privilege to study under a few notable names in the greater Atlanta area; including Monica Coulter, Michael Hollier, Lonnie E. Davis Jr., Elizabeth Fisher, Jessie Fincher, Kara Marcum and Nicole Mickey. After graduating from Dalton High School in 2010, Lizzie took a semester off from school to study with Atlanta Ballet under the instruction of Carol Szkutek. During that time, she also traveled between Georgia and North Carolina to choreograph for show choirs at Dalton High School in Dalton, GA and Durham School of the Arts in Durham, NC. In January 2011, Lizzie chose to further her dance education by attending Shenandoah Conservatory; an institution that is rapidly gaining international recognition and respect. While there, Lizzie had the chance to study under the likes of Linda Miller, Erica Helm, Maurice Fraga, Ting-Yu Chen, Alan Arnett, Elijah Alhadji Gibson and Tiffanie Carson. During her time at Shenandoah University, she had the opportunity to work with a number of guest artists, including Jon Lehrer (Lehrer Dance), Erica Gionfriddo and Curtis Uhlemann (Arcos Dance) and Mike Esperanza (BAREdance Company). Her professional engagements of note include dancing with Flying Lions Dance Company (Washington, D.C) , Ekilibre Dance Company (San Diego, CA) and Lobrace Dance Works (New York, NY).
Ms. Watkins began teaching at Woodstock School of Ballet in 2014. She has been teaching and choreographing for over six years. She has been on staff with The Creative Arts Guild: Ballet Dalton where she also performed and received her early training under Jessie Fincher, Elizabeth Fisher, and Paige Retchko. She has over eight years of training in various techniques such as classical ballet, pointe, jazz, acro-contortion, modern, lyrical, African, gymnastics, and hip-hop. She was accepted into and attended The Atlanta Ballet’s advanced summer intensive, as well, and received training from instructors such as Sharon Story, Lonnie Davis, Angela Harris, and Sarah Hilmer. She was accepted into Georgia, Alabama, and Kennesaw State’s collegiate dance programs. Now, Grace has received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Kennesaw State University. There she has had the privilege of receiving instruction from Ivan Pulinkala, Daniel Gwirtzman, Mara Mandradjieff, Christine Welker, Lisa Lock, McCree O’Kelley, and Ido Tadmor. She has also had the opportunity of training with professional companies such as Vertigo, Urban Bush Women, Mad Boots, and The Mark Morris Dance Group. Grace has danced with the Kennesaw State Dance Company for three years performing classical ballet roles as well as modern, contemporary, and folk roles. Through this company, she has been selected to perform at the American College Dance Association and the Cobb Energy Center’s production of Synergy. She has also received production training and was the Assistant Stage Manager for the KSU production of MELD, as well as the sound board operator for their performance of Metamorphosis. Grace received numerous honors while attending KSU such as; Presidents List, 2017 Student Scholar of Research and Creative Ability, Nu Delta Alpha Secretary, Student Council Member, and recipient of the Joan Harrell Scholarship Outstanding Service Award. Her undergraduate research has been published in the KSU Undergraduate Research Journal. As a senior, her choreographic work Bringing to Bear was selected for performance in the KSU Spring Student Concert. While studying abroad in Israel, Grace trained with the Batsheva Dance Company and researched the current trends within contemporary dance and choreography. Now, Grace dances professionally with Unity Dance Troupe receiving solo roles and being selected for their international touring company, which has just returned from a tour of Belgium, the Netherlands, Paris, Brussels and Ghent.
Susan Moran is an Atlanta native who has taught Irish Step Dance at WSB since 2003. As a competitive Irish dancer, Ms. Moran grew up dancing all over the southeast, training with Cregan O’Brien School of Irish Dance and bringing home many medals and trophies throughout her career. After retiring from competitive dancing, she began teaching as a way to stay involved and share her love of Irish Dance with others. For 4 years, Ms. Moran worked as a paraprofessional for children with autism for Gwinnett County Schools. She now has a degree in Special Education from the University of Georgia and teaches in Gwinnett while pursuing her Masters Degree. She and husband, Eric, love to work on renovating their mid-century modern house in Atlanta, where they live with their very spoiled and beloved pets.