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Bernett D. Hoffman, 83, who operated several dance studios in the Buffalo area, died Thursday (July 24, 1997) in Hospice Buffalo Mitchell Campus in Cheektowaga.

The former Bernett Dietsch, a longtime Williamsville resident, ran the Kensington School of Dance in Buffalo as well as studios in South Buffalo, North Buffalo and Snyder.

As a young woman during the Depression, she traveled the vaudeville circuit, playing nightclubs in New York, Buffalo and Chicago. Her specialty was acrobatics.

Mrs. Hoffman's son, Dr. Walter D. Hoffman of Williamsville, said his mother's dancing skills supported the family during this time.

"She kind of maintained the house and got my oldest brother through the University of Michigan," he said.

Hoffman recalls that his mother worked for Michael Shea, the famed Buffalo-area theater proprietor, and her first studio was located over the old Shea's Theater on Seneca Street.

She also taught dancing in Elma and East Aurora school districts, the Wagner Foundation of Music in Niagara Falls and at Ismailia Temple in West Seneca.

Mrs. Hoffman graduated from Fosdick Masten High School and Ned Wayburns School of Arts in New York City. She was a charter member of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters as well as a member of Dance Masters of America, Western New York State Council of Dance Masters and National Association of Affiliated Artists.

For five years she served as regional director of New York State Council for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.

Mrs. Hoffman retired in 1964 and moved to Tampa, Fla. She and her husband Walter J., returned to the Buffalo area 10 years later.

He died in 1977.

After her retirement, she also worked for her son in Suburban Orthopedic Group, Amherst.

In addition to her son, survivors include three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main St. Burial will be in White Chapel Cemetery, Amherst.


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