Dance studio marks 10 year-anniversary in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Dance Reflections by Miss Heather has become downtown mainstay

Photos by Tom Rivers  – Heather Hapeman is pictured inside the dance studio at 52 Noth Main St. in Albion. Hapeman started Dance Reflections by Miss Heather 10 years ago.

ALBION – Ten years ago Heather Hapeman started her own business, teaching dance to children and adults.

The business has grown over the years to 130 dancers, which includes people with disabilities and children as young as 2.

Hapeman and her studio, Dance Reflections by Miss Heather, has been a stable part of the Albion downtown. She had the business behind the former Pizza Hut on Hamilton Street, in the current Napa Auto Parts. She moved to 52 North Main St. in 2006, a site that has proven a good fit for the studio.

“I’m glad that I’m here,” Hapeman said in the studio on Friday. “I love being in the middle of everything.”

She and her family, including husband Jared Hapeman, worked to transform the space, repainting the interior, putting in a professional vinyl dance floor, full-length mirrors and dual level ballet bars, while preserving some of the historical features of the space, including an archway. Hapeman said her mother Theresa O’Hearn and best friend Megan Morton are key supporters at the studio.

Hapeman, 34, started dancing at age 3 in classes out of Christ Church. Rhonda Steffen was her first teacher.

“This is what I love to do,” Hapeman said.

Dance Reflections by Miss Heather won “Best use of theme” in the most recent Albion Strawberry Festival Parade in June.

She teaches all of the classes at Dance Reflections, including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and family dance. She has a dance team and college level/adult combo classes in lyrical and jazz styles.

She caps each class at up to 14 kids. If interest exceeds 14, Hapeman will split up the class sizes to maintain a more personal experience for her students.

She marvels at the interest in dance in the community and a small county, with several studios teaching children. Hapeman sees the benefits of a dance program, with better physical fitness, balance, coordination, discipline and self-confidence.

“They can exercise and it’s a lot of fun,” Hapeman said.

She earned an associate’s degree in education and has a few classes left at Roberts Wesleyan College before she earns her bachelor’s degree for teaching. She said she uses that expertise at the studio, working with children of all ages.

Dance Reflections also gives back to the community with benefits that have supported PAWS Animal Shelter, the Arc of Orleans County, Hospice of Orleans, Community Action, and the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern.

Hapeman and the studio will be celebrating the 10th anniversary throughout this dance season, culminating with the annual recital in May.

She thanked her dancers and their parents, including some who have been with her since she started the business.

“I have wonderful, devoted and dedicated dance families,” she said.