“We all dance. It’s in our blood,” quipped Sue Hays, owner of family-owned and operated Mini Motions Dance Center.
Hays taught all 3 of her children to dance, as well as her 3 grandchildren. She reminisces, “I thought age 2 was young to start, but little Stella had tap shoes on by 12 months old. I think her fifth word was, ‘tap, tap, tap’ as [she tapped on my] kitchen floor, and then it was ‘plie’ as she bent her little knees.
Hays’ granddaughter Brooklyn (8) has assisted in the 2/3 classes since she was 6, and Brooklyn fondly thinks of the dance studio as her second home. Lincoln (5) is a tumbler and a ball thrower between classes. Sue’s daughters Melissa and Devon are teachers at Mini Motions and her son, Brad, is her “biggest fan and supporter.”
“They say that time flies when you’re having fun,” says Hays. “Now, 30 years later, [I think], ‘How could this happen so fast?’ Every year and every day, I’m always excited to walk into classes.”
Still a thrill
Nothing makes Hays happier than watching a reserved child finally inch out to join the class for the first time, and for Hays, it’s all about seeing the changes in her students, watching them grow, and bringing joy through dance.
“Little ones crave variety…[so] they learn tap, jazz, ballet and tumbling, rotating [through] every week. Variety keeps their attention and enthusiasm.”
Hays frequently receives compliments from parents on the age-appropriateness of the music selection, costumes and dance movements, as well as the affordability of both lessons and costumes. Tap and ballet shoes are provided, which is a bonus for those growing feet. Over the years, Mini Motions has won numerous awards from Toledo Area Parent Family Favorites, including top-rated Dance Studio, #1 Mom-Owned Business and runner-up Gymnastics Center.
“As I approach age 60, the dance families are what stick with me the most: the 4-year-old I taught who is now driving off to college [or the kids I taught who] are now bringing their [own children] to lessons.”
“COVID-19 will not bring me down,” Hays continues. “We just have to get back on our feet. It’s true that dance is therapy–movement helps individuals achieve emotional, physical and social integration. It promotes self-awareness, self-esteem and a safe space for expression of feeling. I won’t talk about how difficult it was during this pandemic, but [I will] say that when the doors reopened, it was a mind, body and spirit connection. Especially now [with the] mental and emotional challenges going on, I can’t think of a better thing to do but DANCE!”