By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS — Heather’s Dance Company is an institution that sets itself apart from the rest when it comes to representing themselves.
This company at 221 N. Clinton Ave. is Christian-based with the motto “Praise God through dance,” always making sure to represent God in the most pleasing way.
“Dance can create community through shared experience, whether it be in the classroom or in a more public environment. Since dancing is an innate response to music and rhythm, it has the power to bring people together in a positive way. When the music stops, people naturally continue the connection to each other through conversation, eating together, relaxing. No matter the age, dance offers opportunities to interact.” said Professor of Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Diane Newman.
Owner Heather Reed said that she is just trying to put out good people who have good values and morals that can be a good part of the society.
Reed said that she is in her 22nd season with the dance company. She started out doing classes a couple nights at Waldron Elementary in Fowler and then made her way to St. Johns where she opened her studio.
Although they have won many awards, Reed wants her kids to focus more on the opportunities and the experience they have.
She tries to teach self-respect, modesty, forgiveness, caring, and how to deal with stress, Reed said.
Picking out music, costumes and choreography are big things when it comes to dance, said Reed. They use Christian or very positive music, but as of recently they have been getting into some pop music that has good intentions.
“I can’t even tell you how many times people have told me how much they like that I work very hard to get costumes that look good on all body types and that are modest still for everyone,” said Reed.
Reed says that she always makes sure her dancers are covered as well as keeping things appropriate at all times.
According to Reed there are a few dance teams, including the ones in St. Johns high school and middle school. But what sets Heather’s Dance Company apart from the others exactly?
Kristen Gibbons, Heather Reeds’ daughter, has been dancing for 12 years and loves being at the company.
“I feel like it’s a great atmosphere, its more centered around fun and recreation rather than more serious dance companies, so it’s a more overall feeling of being comfortable and being yourself.” Gibbons said.
The studio is said to be for the recreational dancer. Students also do softball, soccer, basketball and much more. Most dance studios don’t allow missing classes for recreational purposes whereas Reed works with the dancers to learn any missed routines, she said.
In a group interview with three younger dancers, Rianon Greenhoe (9 years old), Olivia Phillips (8 years old) and Lauren Phillips (7 years old), they were very thrilled and said that they really enjoy dancing. They rage in gymnastics, ballet, jazz and hip-hop.
Their greatest memory was said to be achieving gymnastic stunts and meeting their friends in class.
All three aspire to be professional dancers when they are older.
As for the other dance teams they are very competitive and costly to participate in.
Reed says that she strives to be open to all family types and to be non-judgmental.
“For my business I really try to have it be affordable to everyone, I think dance shouldn’t be for the super rich,” said Reed.
Reed also has programs in place to help those who cannot afford costumes called the “Costume Angel Program” where people donate to help those who need it. This year alone they were able to pay for four different costumes which can cost $65 and up, she said.
There is also a leadership program that allows students 12 and up to volunteer to be an assistant in class. With this Reed teaches them how to use their voices and be authoritative. This is also a good thing for high school students who want to earn volunteer hours toward graduation, she said.
“Liturgical dance was probably the first purpose for dance historically. People used dance to honor their gods, invoke their beneficence, appease them, worship them. That Christians use dance as a method of worship is one more way to show their love of all things holy. A regular dance troupe does not necessarily express the liturgy. Dance company members may rather address social issues, aesthetics and technical prowess,” said Newman.