Endless Mountains Dance Center, founded in August 2003, by artistic director, Melissa Hottenstein, is honored to offer a safe and welcoming space to allow students of all abilities and commitment levels the opportunity to discover the ways in which dance can truly alter their world. We put strong emphasis in developing self-esteem, confidence and discipline while preaching respect for ourselves and others. Our top priority is to give students a strong understanding of technique and creativity. We teach expression and performance in a way that allows students to dance as themselves, not as mechanically trained robots. We offer classes in several styles such as ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and acro at various levels to suit any student.
Along with our annual recital, our students participate in many community events including festivals, parades, and service opportunities. In addition, our students are often given the opportunity to travel with our staff to conventions such as The Pulse in Atlantic City or trips to take classes in New York City at Broadway Dance Center. Some of our students have also traveled to Walt Disney World in 2009 and 2015 to perform at Downtown Disney as well as participate in a Disney Workshop behind the scenes.
With our dance programs we’re thrilled to watch families grow and develop. The bonds we see created within our studio family are like no other. We are humbly proud of the excellent education experience we are qualified to give, but our greatest asset is absolutely the families we serve and the relationships we are given the opportunity to cultivate with the community. At EMDC it is about so much more than dance.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Melissa Emick Hottenstein
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.
Cassie Belcher joined our team as an instructor in 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 12 years with dancers of all ages focusing mainly on the classics: tap, jazz and ballet. Cassie holds membership with the National Dance Education Organization and has studied under many greats including Sue Samuels, Donna Flagg, and Jessica Epting.
Ashlynn Beckwith joined as an 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 the summer of 2017. She also is a preschool aid while continuing her education and working toward her degree balancing her online schooling with an active work life.
Lillian has been a dancer through endless mountains for 11 years, and has been part of the competition team for 4. While competing, Lillian received the encore extreme dance scholarship, as well as being a part of many award winning dances. Lillian graduated from high school in May of 2019, and joined the staff here at emdc the fall of that year. She is planning on continuing her dance education through NDEO.
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.