Little Leapers Dance Studio

by Aaron Wilson

Heather Leeper grew up dancing at prestigious ballet schools in New York and has loved dance all her life. After graduating from Virginia Tech, she worked in Washington, D.C., as a marketing manager and part-time dance instructor. As if that wasn’t enough to fill her plate, she seized an opportunity to perform as a professional cheerleader for the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals. She soon found her way back to Blacksburg, however, and began dancing her way through one of her life dreams: to own a successful business. Leeper offered a single dance class at the YMCA and, within five months, opened her first Little Leapers studio in Blacksburg. Little Leapers and LEAP Performing Arts Academy now boast three locations in Blacksburg and Roanoke, a staff of 12 and nearly 400 students.
Just owning a dance studio is not what makes Leeper an outstanding local entrepreneur. She uses her talents and energy to give back to the community. In 2016, she spearheaded “Be Kind, Blacksburg” – a kindness and anti-bullying initiative that includes public programs against bullying and incorporates Little Leapers’ spring production to tell a story of kindness for the community. She also is preparing her 5th anniversary production of “The Nutcracker” at the Moss Arts Center, featuring 300 dancers, a live orchestra, children’s choir and animated backdrops. “The Nutcracker” is a reflection of Leeper’s success. Her first production in 2012 was presented on a small stage at the Lyric Theatre using handmade sets and costumes and only a single backstage dressing room.
Leeper’s vision and success are grounded in her founding principles for Little Leapers. “Our curriculum fosters every child’s imagination and love for dance through movement, costumes and creativity,” she explains. “One challenge in dance is to keep it relevant, creative and thought provoking. We’re changing the way people think about children’s dance; appreciating all its advantages for not only skill, poise and technique, but building strong individuals, self-confidence and discipline. It’s important to me that we provide an outlet for the children to share their art.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment