Athleticism & Artistry



Andrea Chickness-Lewis

Born in Pennsylvania, Andrea received her training at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She spent summers with prestigious companies such as Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Charlotte Ballet. At the age of seventeen, she joined Joffrey Ballet Chicago as a trainee, finishing her high school through cyber correspondence and helping create the Cyber & Arts program at Seneca Valley. Shortly after, she moved to Charlotte to work with then artistic director, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and Kennedy Center Honoree, Patricia McBride. There, under the coaching of Ms. McBride, Andrea performed featured roles such as Fascinatin’ Rhythm from Balanchine’s Who Cares, Odalisques from Le Corsaire, and Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty. Ms. Chickness was invited to join Milwaukee Ballet II where she performed in notable leads such as Man I Love Pas de deux and Fascinatin’ Rhythm from Who Cares, Bedroom Pas de deux from Othello, Majisimo, and William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. In 2014 Andrea started her European career dancing in Spain with Victor Ullate Ballet and in Germany with Leipzig Ballet as a soloist. Andrea made the decision to return home to the USA to be closer to her family, and has since danced with Columbia Ballet, US International Ballet, and Ballet Spartanburg. Most recently, she performed with Wonderbound, a contemporary company in Denver, Colorado. In addition to her dance career, Andrea is a sports nutrition specialist, personal trainer, and long-distance runner. She enjoys helping others reach their athletic and physical potential through her own coaching company, Ready.Set.Win. Ms. Chickness is grateful for the support of her husband and family, and excited to share her skills with the Chattanooga community.

Mary Kate Shearer

Mary Kate Shearer is from Ridgeland, Mississippi. She trained from age three with Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet under the direction of Jennifer Beasley. Mary Kate attended numerous summer intensive programs, including Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and the School of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Mary Kate joined the Indiana University Ballet Theater in January 2018. With IUBT, she performed the roles of Yellow Lady in Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels and Angry Girl in The Concert by Jerome Robbins, and also danced featured roles in Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe, George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht and Allegro Brillante, Dark Elegies by Anthony Tudor, and in The Nutcracker, choreographed by Michael Vernon. In May 2021, Mary Kate graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in English and a Certificate in Global French. Since joining Chattanooga Ballet in 2021, Mary Kate's roles have included the Dewdrop in The Nutcracker, an ugly stepsister in Artistic Director Brian McSween's Cinderella, and Polyhymnia in McSween’s Three Muses for Apollo. She has also premiered multiple new contemporary and ballet works with the company, notably including Emilia Sandoval's Then, As In Now and McSween's Capture. As an instructor with the school of Chattanooga Ballet, Mary Kate loves sharing the joy of ballet with her students. Beyond ballet, Mary Kate is an amateur musicologist of sorts, and has embarked on a journey to listen to the top 500 albums of all time, as discerned by the magazine Rolling Stone. Follow her musical journey @mklistens on Instagram. This is Mary Kate’s second season with Chattanooga Ballet.


Sunday, March 12, 2023 @ CHA Ballet, 817B N Market St. Chattanooga, TN 37405

Chattanooga Ballet is seeking to hire female and male artists to a 40-week contract in its 2023-24 season. Artists auditioning are required to have strong ballet technique and be comfortable with pointe, contemporary and modern movement, and may be asked to demonstrate an understanding of pas de deux work. A headshot and résumé are required the day of the audition. Inquiries can be sent to CEO/Artistic Director Brian McSween,
1:00 Registration
2:00-3:30 Class
3:30-4:30 Repertoire
4:30-5:00 Information Meeting


CHA Ballet’s vision for choreography is to provide the greatest artistic experience for its company artists and its audiences. These experiences are created by nationally recognized choreographers in ballet, contemporary and modern dance genres. Ultimately, CHA Ballet strives to provide artistically relevant performances that serve their audiences regardless of past exposure to the art form.

By focusing on works that are challenging, innovative, and of the highest artistic quality, Chattanooga Ballet is capitalizing on the unique and versatile talents of its company dancers and the bold artistic vision of CEO / Artistic Director Brian McSween. Below are several of the most recent works commissioned and premiered by the company.

Alia Kache - Flock, 2019
Emilia Sandoval - Then As In Now, 2021
Autumn Eckman - Wax Wane, 2022
Tyler Gilstrap - Unicornio, 2022
Mollie Sansone - Élégiaque, 2022


Those interested in booking Chattanooga Ballet for a tour should contact us.

Nutcracker on Tour:
December 17, 2022 Niswonger Performing Arts Center

Art/Motion Regional Tour:
Summerville, SC - Summers Corner Performing Arts Center
January 27, 2023 at 7:30pm

Cookeville, TN - Cookeville Performing Arts Center
February 3, 2023 at 7:30pm

Lawrenceville, GA - Lawrenceville Arts Center
April 15, 2023 at 7:30pm