The Dance Center Owner/Instructor Mary Sue Hosey. Photo by Jim Krause.


In 1966, at age 15, Mary Sue Hosey started teaching dance at the Dixon Dance Studio in Cambridge City, Indiana. Nearly 50 years later, she is still teaching.

“I hope to teach children in the community for as long as I can,” says Hosey, who opened her own Dixon Dance Studio in 1970 in the basement of Graham Plaza in downtown Bloomington. She changed the name to The Dance Center in 1980, and now teaches dancers from preschool to high school at her studio at 223 S. Pete Ellis Dr.

“My philosophy is to teach kids good technique but in a fun atmosphere,” says Hosey, who is a mother of six. “I want them to have confidence, body awareness, and coordination so they will have the skills to do things in high school.” She points out that many of her students eventually perform on high school dance teams or in show choirs.

Hosey says she is not trying to train professional dancers, but some of her notable students include Suzanne Gardner Speck, a former Indiana University RedStepper; Angie Bomba, an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader; and Tiffany Storm, Miss Indiana 1994. However, she says hearing parents say dance simply gave their kid the confidence to speak in public or perform in front of people is just as rewarding.

Teaching former students’ children — the first second-generation student entered her studio in 1991 — and even the grandchildren of former students, also gives her satisfaction. “What that says is they had such a good dance experience with me that they want their own child to dance here,” she says.

Along with Hosey, other teachers have offered instruction at The Dance Center over the years, including Lovina Prior Ray, who taught for 33 years. Current instructor Amy Calvert-Hammonds, who has taught at The Dance Center for 15 years, is also a former student.

After a half-century of teaching dance, Hosey says some things have changed. “The biggest change I’ve seen is that kids have so many more activities going on,” she says. “I used to not have to worry about kids splitting their time between activities.”

The Dance Center will hold its 45th recital in May at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. For more information, visit