Zaria Franklin

grey background of a Zaria's headshot
High School Dance Teacher and a Top Cat Cheerleader


Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education, UNC Charlotte (2018)

Hometown: Kannapolis, N.C.

Zaria Franklin began dancing in high school, and the longer she took classes the more she fell in love with it.  She was then given a scholarship to continue her dance education further in a local dance studio. 

While at UNC Charlotte, Zaria learned about the importance of professionalism. Her classes and professors emphasized the importance of this, which, she says, opened doors for her in her current career paths.  She also says that the College of Arts + Architecture "helped connect me with Charlotte creatives for networking opportunities." Among her favorite memories from her time in the dance department was her Vintage Jazz class with now retired professor Karen Hubbard.

Post-graduation, Zaria started teaching dance for high school students at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and performing as a cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers' Top Cats. Since starting the position at her school, she has been able to put on quarterly recitals, which has become one of her favorite projects. This is also Zaria's second year of being a Top Cat, so she gave us a glipse at what her routine looks like. "My day to day is filled with teaching and dancing. I normally teach at the school 5 days a week starting at 7:15 AM -3:30 PM, then I go teach at my dance studio, Jami Master’s School of Dance, from 3:45- 7PM. I also practice twice a week from 7-10 pm plus game days. Periodically, I attend appearances I am booked for, community events, and/or photoshoots. Staying in shape, eating right and hydration is a huge part of my life to help aid me in my profession. My favorite part of being a Topcat is bringing joy to others through performing and community service."

Her advice for current College of Arts + Architecture is, "Get involved with as many things as possible!"


zara cheering at football game  top cat cheerleader image