Artistic Director and Owner
Melissa Hottenstein graduated magna cum laude from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance and Psychology. She was accepted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society as well as Psi Chi psychology honor society. Melissa began her dance training at the age of 4 in Montoursville and Williamsport, PA before receiving her degree at Muhlenberg. She was awarded a dance scholarship for all four years at the college and performed in faculty and student choreographed concerts during her time at Muhlenberg. Throughout college, she taught creative movement, ballet, tap, and jazz to children under the guidance of a Muhlenberg dance professor. Melissa has also taught dance to many special needs children and mentally ill patients and these experiences hold a special place in Melissa's heart. In August 2003, Melissa opened Endless Mountains Dance Center in Towanda, PA. She has been the director and instructor for the dance center since its opening and has choreographed and directed thirteen spring recitals for the Endless Mountains Dance Center. In addition to the spring recitals, she has also directed seven benefit concerts in which she encourages her students to choreograph their own dances to present on stage. Each year the benefit serves someone in the community that is in need. Melissa continues her dance education by traveling to New York City and Atlantic City to take classes from world renowned choreographers. She has studied under dance masters such as Sean Curran, Bill Evans, Gregg Russell, Rennie Harris, David Howard, Finis Jhung, Debbie Dee, Sheila Barker, Frank Hatchett, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, Denise Wall, Tyce Diorio, Lauriann Gibson and many others.
Emily Soden started taking dance classes at the age of seven. Competitive dancing quickly became an important part of her life and she continued to dance until graduating high school. After attaining a degree from Mansfield University in Nutrition and Dietetics, she began working for Maternal and Family Health Services. In 2007 she started teaching dance classes with Melissa at EMDC. She continues her dance education by regularly attending dance conventions, taking classes, and studying various forms of dance.
Business Manager and Instructor
Mary Kusmierz is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in Business. Mary began her dance training in 2003 when Endless Mountains Dance Center first opened in Towanda, PA. She continued her dance training with Melissa at EMDC from the time she was 10 until she graduated high school in 2010. It was after her graduation from high school when Melissa offered her a position with the studio that she could not refuse. Mary has now been an instructor/business administrator since the fall of 2010. She continues to broaden her dance skills in New York City and Atlantic City with different conventions such as The Pulse and Dance Teacher Summit. Mary now serves as the Business Manager of Endless Mountains Dance Center.
Julie Walker began her dance training at the age of seven at studios in Sayre, PA and Owego, NY. As a competitive dancer, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, and modern dance. Julie received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and her Master of Science in Education from Wilkes University. While at Bloomsburg, she was a choreographer for the Bloomsburg University Dance Ensemble. She has been a dance instructor at studios in Bloomsburg, PA and Owego, NY and has been a choreographer for high school musicals. Julie was employed as an Elementary teacher for twelve years before becoming a stay at home Mom. She has been a dance instructor with EMDC since 2013.
Cassie Belcher is a new addition to our staff as of 2016. A Wyalusing graduate with 20 years of dance training through the Wendy Peckins School of Dance in Tunkhannock, she has extensive experience with competition performance as well as community shows and annual recitals. She's worked for over 8 years with dancers age 3 through 73 focusing mainly on the classics: tap, jazz and ballet. Cassie is thrilled to be joining our team and looks forward to continuing her education with future conventions and teaching certification.
Rachel Finogle began to dance at Endless Mountains Dance Center at the age of 14. She has studied several styles of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Lyrical, Modern and Musical Theater. After graduating high school in 2009, she began teaching at the studio while attending Mansfield University to complete her BA in Elementary and Special Education. She is currently teaching at Towanda Area School District. Rachel has continued her dance education by attending dance conventions such as The Pulse and Dance Teacher Summit, as well as attending classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She loves to share her passion of dance with her students at the studio, as well as members of the community through activities such as Camp Sensation, as well as teaching Ballet at the local Personal Care Home.
Allie McDonald is a returning staff member at EMDC this year! Allie started student teaching with Melissa at the studio in 2007 while still in high school. She graduated from Sullivan County in 2008 and continued to teach dance for Melissa throughout her college career. Allie received her Associate Degree in Business from Newport Business Institute in 2010. She is now located in Dushore and is currently a stay at home Mom to her two beautiful children.
Joshua Bogart learned Gymnastics from a young age with teacher Vicki Smithkors, first in Mildred, PA and later at Smithkors Gym in Dushore, PA from 1986-1998. As part of gymnastic classes in Smithkors Gym, Joshua taught beginners level gymnastics and acro classes as well as spotting for advanced level gymnasts. From 1997-1998, Joshua cheered, stunted and tumbled with the Sullivan County High School Cheerleaders. From 1998-2002, Joshua stunted and tumbled with Lycoming College's Cheer Squad. From 1999-2002, Joshua taught acro to the competition dance team at LKW dance studio in Montoursville, PA. While in grad school, from 2002 to the spring of 2004, Joshua trained and competed with Syracuse University's men's gymnastics club.
Laura O'Connor is a new addition to our staff as of 2016. Laura danced at Miss Karen's School of Dance in Appalachian, NY from the time she was 3 until the age of 16 when the studio unfortunately closed. She continues to have a deep love and passion for dance to this day. Laura received her Associate Degree in Business, Marketing & Management from Broome Community College. She also received her Bachelor Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Resources Management from Mansfield University. Laura currently works at Guthrie as an Employment Specialist.
Ashlynn Beckwith is a new addition to our staff as of 2017. Ashlynn is a 2017 graduate from Northeast Bradford High School. She has been a dancer under Melissa since 1st grade. During the 2016-2017 dance year, Melissa had the pleasure of training Ashlynn to become a dance teacher and choreographer. Ashlynn began earning her Dance Teacher Certification in Buffalo, NY this summer! We are very excited to welcome her to our dance family this year!