Local studio celebrates 20th anniversary
Part of growing up is trying new things and experiencing for the first time what the world has to offer. Children will usually cycle through a variety of activities, hobbies and sports to find what they’re passionate about and find something to pursue. Helping little ones find and foster a passion and love for dance is Dance Dimensions—a Hicksville facility celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.
Originally located on Heitz Place—in March of 2016 it opened its doors as a more spacious studio at 535 S. Broadway—Dance Dimensions is the product of owner Eileen Wangner’s own passion and love for dance.
The lifelong Hicksville resident grew up dancing and taught at a studio for nearly a decade before realizing that owning her own studio was an endeavor she would like to take on.
“I started researching and seeing what was required, got up-to-date certifications. took a chance, found a space and opened the doors 20 years ago,” said Wangner, who is certified through Dance Educators of America and Acrobatic Arts. “I decided that was definitely something that I would like to do and share my love of dance with anybody who was willing to learn.”
Inspired by any and everything arts related, Wangner embraces the worlds of music, dance and theater to keep up with what’s relevant and offer her students the current styles of dance.
Students, however, are not just children engaging in an afterschool activity. The studio offers classes like tap, yoga and Zumba for adults across all age groups.
“It could be anyone that just wants to try something new. We try to offer programs for everybody,” Wangner said.
For children, classes encompass everything from tap, jazz and hip-hop to ballet, Irish step dance and acrobatics. Classes, which are typically an hour long and include a recital at the end of the September-to-June dance year, are open for all skill levels. While most students opt to take one class a week as a recreational activity, advanced, serious dancers can take multiple classes each week and participate in competitions throughout the year. The studio also offers students the chance to perform at community events.
“Over the years our students have danced at the Broadway Mall, we’ve been involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club, we’ve performed at the Festival of Trees at the Cradle of Aviation and we’ve danced on the field with the NY Cosmos,” Wangner enthused. “Any time we can do something fun that gets the kids out in the community, we try to offer that as well.”
An environment dedicated to helping children learn and grow, each class ranges in size from eight to 15 kids and has both teachers and assistants—middle school and high school students can even volunteer as assistants and earn community service. From learning basic steps and coordination to becoming familiar with terminology and technical skill, classes evolve over the course of the year so children can learn to perfect a routine.
For Wangner herself, it’s the emotion and ability to put aside anything going on in day-to-day life that she loves most about dancing. As an instructor, she simply enjoys watching her students progress.
“From the beginning when they come in to when we get to the show and they’ve mastered a new step or they have a little more confidence, I really enjoy just seeing the kids grow as dancers and as children growing up. That’s a really great thing just to be a special part of their lives,” Wangner said. “We try to teach a little bit more than dance, to be the best that you can be whether it’s in dance or out. I really think we offer a positive place to be.”