Dance studio celebrates 15 years on Main Street in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers: Heather and Jared Hapeman and their daughter Coraline, 5, are shown in the dance studio that Mrs. Hapeman opened 15 years ago. Dance Reflections by Miss Heather has been a mainstay in the Albion downtown and the Hapemans look forward to many more years on Main Street.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2021 at 7:57 am

ALBION – Heather Hapeman wanted to celebrate 15 years of business in Albion, and thank her dance families for helping her reach the milestone.

When Hapeman opened Dance Reflections by Miss Heather 15 years ago, she didn’t have a ribbon-cutting. On Sunday, she was joined by Albion Mayor Eileen Banker and Village Trustee Stan Farone for the ribbon-cutting. Hapeman’s daughter Coraline, 5, cut the ribbon with giant scissors.

The mayor praised Hapeman for being so committed to the Albion community and the dancers. Hapeman is proof a small business can succeed in the Albion downtown, with lots of determination and a dedication.

And the 15-year celebration comes after a difficult past 14 months during the Covid-19 pandemic. Restrictions from the state forced the studio to close temporarily in March 2020. There wasn’t a recital last May to cap the season because of the state-imposed shutdown.

Hapeman instead created a video compilation with photos of all 131 of her students last year, and she made a display of paper hearts with all of their names that she hung in the window of Dance Reflections at 52 North Main St.

Heather Hapeman didn’t have a ribbon-cutting when she opened the business 15 years ago. Today, she and her family celebrated the milestone. Pictured from left include Heather’s parents, Tom and Theresa O’Hearn, Jared, Heather and Coraline Hapeman, Heather’s brother Patrick O’Hearn, and Heather’s grandparents, Sandy and Joe Sacco.

The business was able to reopen for classes in the fall, with new protocols including temperature checks, waiting outside instead of the front room, sanitizing hands, wearing masks and reduced class sizes to allow the dancers to be spread out at least 6 feet.

“The kids have just been so resilient this year,” Hapeman said. “They showed grace. I’m so proud of them.”

If a dancer had any symptoms of Covid, even a runny nose, they were kept home. Hapeman would do dance lessons through Zoom for people who couldn’t come to dance classes because of being quarantined or kept home due to Covid safety measures.

“The parents have been amazing,” Hapeman said. “We’ve had no issues with Covid. The parents would keep their kids home if there were any signs.”

Dance Reflections is nearing the end of this dance year and there will be a recital. Normally the recital is at the Albion Middle School Auditorium. That space has been off limits to outside school groups this school year. The middle and high school drama programs, the band and chorus have all done their performances online this year without an in-person audience.

Hapeman wanted her dancers to perform in-person for their families. That will happen this Saturday with the recital at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds which has a stage, dressing rooms and open-air seating area.

“The kids are super-super excited for the recital,” she said.

Hapeman, 39, has been dancing since she was 2. She teaches all of the classes at Dance Reflections, including genres in tap, jazz, hip hop, soft and pointe shoe ballet, contemporary/lyrical, and dance classes for families and adults.

There was a preregistration last week and 75 students already signed up for the fall. There will be two more registrations in August. For more information, click here.

Albion Mayor Eileen Banker and Village Trustee Stan Farone presented a citation from the village, congratulating Heather Hapeman on 15 years of business in Albion. She praised the Hapemans for their committing to Albion and so many children and families.