A husband-and-wife duo with a passion for the performing arts runs the new dance studio.
| 12:20 p.m. February 12, 2020
West Orange Times & Observer
Hannah and J.J. Tiemeyer have always wanted to open up their own dance studio — and they can proudly say they’re well on their way to living out that dream.
The Tiemeyers are a husband-and-wife team who run The Dance Collective — a studio that operates out of Windermere Preparatory School. But that’s only a temporary location, as the couple has their permanent studio space under construction in Winter Garden at 14041 W. Colonial Drive. They expect it to open in the spring.
“We’ll be operating out of what used to be a thrift store in the Aldi shopping center,” J.J. Tiemeyer said. “We have a targeted opening date of March or April coming up.”
The Tiemeyers met in college at Wright State University and bonded over their shared passion for the performing arts. Hannah Tiemeyer has been dancing since she was a toddler and has been teaching since she was a teen. She majored in dance in college and taught dance classes through Disney Performing Arts. For the first time in her dance career, she’ll be running a studio of her own. J.J. Tiemeyer was an acting major in college, and although he loves dance and took some classes, that art form is more Hannah’s forte.
“I think even from early on in our relationship, we had a shared appreciation and love of dance,” J.J. Tiemeyer said. “It just kind of became something that we thought we’d be interested in doing early on in our relationship … this dream of opening a dance studio.”
“I started teaching when I was 14 years old and … never stopped,” Hannah Tiemeyer said. “I taught through college, and once (we) moved down here to the Orlando area from Ohio, I taught at local studios around here. … I’ve always taught for other people and now it’s a time to teach for me.”
The Dance Collective serves students ages 18 months to 18 years. Classes are organized by experience, and individuals of all skill levels are welcome to join. Once the Tiemeyers move into their new studio in Winter Garden, they’ll begin offering adult classes, as well.
“We teach ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater, lyrical, contemporary (and) we have a parents and me class called ‘Me and My Shadow,’ for (children ages) 18 months to three-and-a-half years,” Hannah Tiemeyer said. “We offer combo classes for younger kids, like a ballet and tap combo class. … Hip hop is something else we offer (as well as) traditional dance styles for basically all ages.”
They even plan on expanding their offerings to encompass other kinds of the performing arts.
“We’re going to try to offer improv comedy classes, improv acting classes, acting coaching (and) vocal coaching,” J.J. Tiemeyer said. “We both really love musical theater as an art form, so we’re definitely going to be trying … to bring those offerings into the fold.”
Inclusivity is an important principle of The Dance Collective. The studio also offers dance classes that are tailored to individuals with physical or mental hurdles.
“I was recently certified in something called ‘rhythm works integrative dance,’ and it’s a program designed for kids and adults with autism, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder and other related learning differences and physical differences,” Hannah Tiemeyer said. “It’s very inclusive … and that’s important to us at the studio, is to be inclusive. It helps to modify the brain, essentially, through dance and rhythm.”
Their professional careers brought the Tiemeyers to the area in 2011 when they got jobs at Walt Disney World Resort, and they’ve fallen in love with the small-town feel and culture of creativity in Winter Garden and the West Orange area ever since. J.J. Tiemeyer said they knew Winter Garden was the right place to open The Dance Collective.
“The reputation of the area really (drew us),” he said. “We frequent the Winter Garden area and really fell in love with everything it had to offer. … The inclusive, creative nature of the way that the city is sort of recreating itself … drew us to Winter Garden.”