The rhythmic sounds of music and footsteps on a wood floor echo inside Kennedy Dance Theatre, located on Pineloch Drive in Clear Lake. Children ages 2-16 run around in leotards, ballet shoes and tights, jumping from room to room.

Mary Lee Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Dance Theatre, started her first dance studio business with three of her friends 45 years ago. It all began with a $200-per-person investment at Pasadena Studio of Fine Arts, the first studio Kennedy owned.

Kennedy has since changed locations and her studio’s name to Kennedy Dance Theatre. She tries to be as welcoming as possible to everyone.

“I’m very inclusive.” Kennedy said. “I want everyone to feel welcome here. Our atmosphere is very welcoming and family-oriented, which has made us a little different.”

The studio has three companies within it: Ballet Jeté, a company designed for ballet dancers who want to perform on a professional level; Spirit in Motion, the Christian-based group whose dances intend to spread the message of God; and Jazz Company, which has senior, junior and mini teams that compete around the state.

The studio also offers classes for children as young as 2 years old up to adults six days a week, both in the morning and evenings.

“We very much want to offer the best available dance instruction, but we want to instill values that go beyond dance,” Kennedy said. “Example: Our teacher Jennifer Holbert offers free special needs classes every Saturday.”

Kennedy credits her success to hard work and “having amazing employees” who make all the day-to-day decisions for the studio.

“I’ve stayed in business for 45 years not because I am good, but because God has brought good people to me. I’ve never wanted this to be just my studio—they have brought the new ideas and all the different talents,” Kennedy said. “No matter what you do, if you are passionate, persistent and positive, you will be successful.”

Kennedy Dance Theatre

1001 Pineloch Drive, Ste. 100, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-2p.m.