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Tonie Bense, Owner and Director

Tonie Bense, owner and director of Tone’s Dance Workshop in Panama City, Florida, is a dance educator and avid dance enthusiast. Her studio has been in operation since 1976 and has several hundred students.  In addition to teaching weekly classes at the studio, Tonie travels the country participating and teaching at dance seminars and conventions ensuring that she stays up with the latest dance trends. 

Tonie is a native of Meridian, Mississippi and began dancing at the very young age of two.  Her Mom, Mary Alpha Johnson, was a dance teacher and entrepreneur as she directed the “Alpha School of Dance” for 67 years.  The dance studio was in the basement of the family home so therefore, dance class was a very important part of Tonie’s daily life routine.  Mary Alpha Johnson was well known in the national dance community for her innovative teaching method designed for young dancers know as “The Magical Kingdom of Dance”.   


Tonie’s dance training continued away from her home studio with travel to numerous dance conventions and classes where she studied under master teachers such as Roni Mahler, Gus Giordano, Buster Cooper, Joe Tremaine, Sherry Gold, to name a few.  Tonie is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where she majored in dance and choreographed for pageants and productions.  She was “Miss Southern”, Top Ten Miss Mississippi Pageant and Captain of and the famed Dixie Darlings for three years. 


Community activities and charitable events are a top priority for Tonie. Every summer, Tonie’s studio has a charity event called the “Singular Sensation Showcase” This performance raises money to support the dance program of Pediatric Plus.  TDW students participate in many local parades and festivals around town to give back to the community that we all love. 

Dance has been an integral part of her entire life and she feels that real success is finding your life work in the work that you love.

Tonie is married to Allan Bense and has three adult children, and six grand children. Life is definitely GRAND with so many blessings for which to be thankful. 

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