Sit Less, Dance More At Variations
It could be the traffic-free, six-step commute to work that keeps Variations, A Dancer’s Studio owner Erin Lopez fresh faced and composed, but she offers a different explanation — dance.
The mother of three opened up the Huntington dance studio 16 years ago, when she moved into the Spring Road home that lies on the same property as the dance studio she and her husband John opened together.
“Dancing keeps you 10 years younger. It’s my life; I love it. I love watching it and being around it. The talent and my teachers impress me every single day,” Lopez said.
One of those teachers, Lopez said, is the very reason she is still dancing her way through life. As a 10-year-old growing up in Queens, Lopez enrolled in dance classes at a local school where she met Debbie Hahn, a dance teacher. Hahn worked closely with the 10-year-old to get her to the next level, allowing her to take dance classes at a nominal rate.
Lopez went on to attend the acclaimed High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan where she continued to practice her passion five days a week.
Fast forward several decades, when Hahn became a full-time instructor at her protégé’s dance studio. Hahn is even more of a permanent fixture as the Variations Dance Studio logo—her slim and graceful silhouette marks every T-shirt, sweatshirt and flier that comes out of that dance studio.
To pay further homage to her mentor’s legacy, Lopez started the Debbie Hahn Scholarship Fund, a program that allows students to enroll in dance classes when their families cannot afford it.
While Variations offers children’s classes for kids ages 2-1/2 and up, don’t think for a second that her instructors are the only adults to dance around the four studios at Variations. Lopez said her adult classes have quite a following, with students as young as 18 to others who are in their 70s; classes are offered at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
“There’s longevity to it. Dance is something you can do your whole life. Sit less, dance more,” Lopez said. “When you’re in class, everything in your mind gets uncluttered.”
The practice of dance, whether it be through jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary, flamenco or ballet barre workout, is a complete expression of self, Lopez said.
“There’s a discipline and release that comes with it. Contemporary music makes you feel so good, to express yourself like that. Sports are great, but you don’t express yourself in the same way. If more people danced there’d be less fighting in the world,” the owner said.
Variations, A Dancer’s Studio
180 Spring Road, Huntington