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Meet Kristen Karasek of Reflections in Dance in Canoga Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Karasek.

Reflections in Dance was founded by Doreen Angarano in 1983. A native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Doreen began dancing when she was 9-years-old. She attended Dance Educators of America where she became certified to teach all areas of dance, anatomy, and musical theater arts. Doreen’s passion for her craft flourished and the studio was immediately successful.

In August of 1999, Doreen and her family relocated to California to support their oldest son’s acting career. In 2001, with the support and enthusiasm of her New York team, Doreen opened Reflections West in Woodland Hills, California. It was official, Reflections in Dance was the first (and only) local studio to spread from “coast-to­-coast!” Having now competed nationally for 30 years with multiple studios, Reflections holds hundreds of awards and titles. Our teachers continue to train and are leaders in the field of dance.

Kristen Karasek, Doreen’s oldest daughter manages Reflections NY and Reflections LA by traveling back and forth to each location throughout the year. As Reflections continues on into its third decade, still with two main locations in Staten Island, NY, and Canoga Park, CA, we are grateful and humbled for the wonderful families we’ve met and the lifelong friendships we’ve made. Reflections encourages their students to have a positive self-image, community values and a strong foundation. Many of our alumni students now work professionally and several of Doreen’s students have businesses (including some dance studios!) of their own. The Reflections family spans generations – some of the first students now have their own children dancing at Reflections.

Our mission is to continue learning, loving, growing and sharing our passion for dance with each and every student, inspiring them to be the best version of themselves. We encourage our dancers to believe in themselves, and support them as they learn life lessons. We prepare them to leap into the world with grace, self-confidence, sportsmanship, and friendships that will last a lifetime. – Kristen Karasek

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Since 2001 when Reflections West opened there have been a couple of bumps in the road. First, the economy saw the worst recession of our lifetime. In the once bustling shopping center that we were originally located in, many of the surrounding businesses went out of business. Eventually we relocated to our current location and have been happy there. Another bump in the road came when Doreen’s business partner and Kristen’s mentor Nicole Donlon was diagnosed and later passed away from breast cancer. Navigating a business on both coasts, during a partner’s illness and after was challenging.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Reflections in Dance story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a dance studio that specializes in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, modern, technique, combination classes and creative movement. Our dancers start at age 2 and can dance until they are adults. We have been competing at different prestigious competitions for over 3 decades and are known for excellence in choreography and storytelling.

We are most proud of our longevity and nationwide presence.

What sets us apart from others is that we are a family run studio that prides itself on being a “home away from home” for all of our students. While bigger studios might operate more like a machine- we have a relationship with each of our families. We have a place for everyone from our most amateur dancers to our students who are looking to make dance a career.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It is safe to say that we have been very blessed. However, we believe our luck is a direct result of hard work, good management, dedication, tenacity and the solid team of people behind us.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stephanie Todaro Photography, Jim Zafrani

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