Dream Dance Company

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Heather Appell, obituary picture 2017

Dream Dance Company was a dance studio operating in Thunder Bay, Ontario from 2006 to 2019.

It was run by Heather Appell (26 April 1968 - 2 September 2017) from 2006 2017, and then by Heather's daughter Harmony Appell for two further seasons from 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Harmony, aged only 21, closed the studio "with a heavy heart" at the end of her second full season running the studio.


Life Story for Ms. Heather Appell (Stillwell) Ms. Heather Appell (Stillwell) APPELL

Ms. Heather Lynn Appell (Stillwell), age 49 years, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 2, 2017, with her children, family and friends by her side.

Heather was born in Port Arthur on April 26, 1968 to Carl and Jean Stillwell. Heather’s only sister was Holly.

On Nov 14, Heather had her world turned upside down. What she thought was a bad headache turned out to be an aggressive brain tumor that has no known cure. True to Heather’s character, she put up a courageous fight until her very last breath.

Dancing was Heather’s life. She started dancing when she was 6 years old and never stopped. In 2006 she made her life long dream come true and opened her own dance studio called Dream Dance Company.

Heather loved the outdoors. Any chance she had to soak up the sun, she would be there. She loved animals and took in many strays in her life always willing to help an animal in need. She will be dearly missed by “the girls” Cookie and Ava.

Heather is survived by her greatest blessings in life, her children Harmony (Steven) and Cody, her sister Holly Picard (Perry and Sydney), her boyfriend Mark Klein (Tanner and Chelsea) and her mother Jean Stillwell. Also missing Heather will be her very special Winnipeg family, Arnie, Linda and Sheresa Appell.

She is predeceased by her father Carl Stillwell and grandmothers Marie Stillwell and Jean McNeil.

An enormous thank you goes out to Dr. Migay, Dr. Bezanson, Dr. Sicheri, Dr. Ramchander, Dr. McClusky and the amazing nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospice Unit and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Thanks also to Lynda Roussel and Aaron Medd at the North West LHIN (CCAC) for their amazing care and support, Georgette, Jenny, Stacey and Monica and all of the other workers from Wesway and Paramed, as well as Lori and Joyce Vidas and Suanne White. You all helped out a tremendous amount and we could not have kept Heather at home for as long as we did without all of you.

A Celebration of life (drop in open house) for Heather will be held on Friday, September 8, 2017 between 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM at the Castlegreen Community Centre, 213 Castlegreen Drive. Everest Funeral Chapel, 299 Waverley Street at Algoma in care of arrangements.

If friends so desire, donations made in memory of Heather to the Northern Cancer Fund or the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society would be greatly appreciated.

Please sign the online condolences at everestofthunderbay.com

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A FINAL FAREWELL It is with a heavy heart and tremendous sorrow that I must inform you that Dream Dance Company will be closing at the end of the 2018-2019 dance season.

This decision has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and it has been something that I have been struggling with for quite some time. After the passing of my mother, Heather Appell, the original owner of Dream Dance Company, I knew I was making the right call by continuing to let her legacy live on through the dance studio. My mother’s dream was to open a dance studio and her passion was teaching dance, however, after 2 years of running this business, I have learned that this is not the right path for me. I have a strong passion for inspiring/working with children and teens and sharing my love of dance with them but running a dance studio goes beyond my desires. At 21 years old, I feel as though I have so many opportunities ahead of me. I have a desire to live my life to the fullest and there are so many things I want to do and see; things that I am unable to pursue and enjoy while operating a business.

Coming to this conclusion has torn my heart into pieces, as I don’t want to let my mom down, so please don’t for a second think that I haven’t considered every student, every family and the impact it will have on them. I hope that she is looking down on us and has seen all of the growth and success that has developed in each dancer and the strong relationships that have been formed along the way.

I have poured my heart and soul into Dream Dance Company and have been blessed to own and run the studio for the past 2 years. The process has most definitely had it’s ups and downs but overall it has been an incredible and rewarding learning experience. After my mom passed away before the start of the season in 2017, I had to grow up quickly and went through the most difficult time of my life. The love and support that I had received and continue to receive from my dancers, parents and staff members has been so comforting and I am deeply grateful to have you all in my life.

Above all I want to stress that this should not be the end of your child’s development in dance. We have so many extremely talented students who show so much potential (both competitive and recreational) and I want to encourage each and everyone of them to continue to progress in their dance careers. At this time I am unsure of my plans for dance but if I become associated with another studio I will be sure to let everyone know. If you would like to discuss options that I think may be suitable for your child, please feel free to reach out to me by email at happellddc@hotmail.com.

This season will continue as planned and will finish with the year-end banquet and the possibility of travelling to Nationals in Florida with qualifying dancers after the MOVE regionals. Let’s continue to work hard and put our best foot forward in every step we take. I would love to make this the best season yet and to finish the year off with a bang!

Thank you for your love, support and understanding through the years – it has been an incredible journey together and I can’t wait to see what your sons and daughters will accomplish in the years to come. Everyone will remain in my heart as I hope your time here will to.


Harmony Appell

Director & Owner – Dream Dance Company

117 Cumberland St North Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4M3 (807) 474-3046 happellddc@hotmail.com Business Hours Monday&Tuesday 4:30pm-9:45pm Wednesday 4:45pm-10:15pm Thursday 4:30pm-9:45pm Friday 4:45pm-10:00pm Saturday 9:15am-3:45pm Sunday - Closed






Harmony Appell. A Dancer’s Life.


Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, the very talented dancer and choreographer, Harmony Appell, director of Dream Dance Company in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Harmony was practically born in the studio, starting dance at the age of 2 and a half. She attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet school’s summer intensive program in 2008, the National Ballet of Canada’s one-month summer program in 2009 and most recently the 3-year, post-secondary Teacher Training Program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 2015. In December of 2008 and 2010, Harmony auditioned for a part in the Moscow Ballet Company’s production of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake and was successfully chosen as one of the 12 local dancers. She has taken classes with many well-known and professional choreographers and dancers from around the world. Most recently, Harmony received a full paid scholarship and traveled to California for Mather Dance Company’s TRANS4M dance intensive to train with the best in the industry. At various workshops locally and internationally, Harmony has won outstanding scholarships to locations all around the world including Paris, LA, Montreal and New York. Some of her most prestigious awards include the top overall soloist, most potential, and most outstanding. Harmony lives her life with no regrets – like heaven is on earth!

What makes you a Girl Warrior?

What makes me a Girl Warrior is my ability to overcome obstacles and to look at life from a positive perspective even when things aren’t necessarily going my way. I am fierce and determined and always try to be optimistic. I have a big heart and I try my best to be a positive role model for the young dancers whom I teach. I always do my best to inspire those around me to be the best that they can be.

You’ve been a competitive dancer since you were very young. What is your earliest memory of dancing?

My earliest memory of dancing is probably running around the dance studio as a little girl while my mom taught dance classes to the “big kids”. I loved the studio so much and spent so much time at it. I enjoyed watching my mom follow her dreams as a dance teacher while she inspired her students through the art of dance.

Is there a particular competition that really stands out?

A competition that really stands out would be Thunderstruck that took place this past March 2018 in Thunder Bay, Ontario when I was awarded the judge’s choice award for my lyrical solo dedicated to my mother who passed away from brain cancer. It was a very emotional and memorable moment because of the love and support that I was shown by the judges and staff as well as the entire dance community.

Why is dancing so important to you?

Dancing is so important to me for so many reasons. It is my greatest passion. It’s an outlet that allows me to feel free and to express myself in so many ways. I am not one to vocalize my feelings, so it acts as an instrument of expression and communication for me to release my emotions. It is important to me because it has taught me so many life lessons that have and will continue to benefit me throughout my entire life. It has taught me dedication, perseverance, positive self-image, discipline, teamwork and passion. Most importantly it helped me discover who I am, and for all of this, I am so thankful.

How do feel when you dance?

When I dance I feel so many things. Depending on the reason I am dancing or the specific dance that I am performing, I can feel happy or I can feel sad. Dancing makes me feel emotional, it makes me feel free, it makes me feel loved, and it makes me feel as though I can do anything.

You had a very special relationship with your Mom. How did her cancer diagnosis change your life?

My mother was my best friend. Ask anyone who knew us and we were attached at the hip. We didn’t spend any time away from each other. We taught dance together every night at the studio; we did our grocery shopping together; we did everything together. In November 2016, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and on September 2nd, 2017, she peacefully passed away with myself and my brother and some other family members by her side. The symptoms of brain cancer are intense and unpredictable and you never know what each day is going to bring. I had to grow up quickly and be strong and brave as my family and I had to endure the ups and downs of cancer. Being my mom’s primary caregiver throughout her entire journey, it was by far the hardest time of my life. I spent endless nights sleeping at the hospital to keep her at ease and took care of her in ways that no 19 year old would ever have to take care of their parent. I must say, however, that the love and support from my incredible family and friends and Thunder Bay dance and soccer community made it a little bit easier. The diagnosis didn’t only affect me in a negative way. It brought my mom and me even closer together (if that was even possible), and it made me appreciate everything I have. Now I try my best to live my life with no regrets – like heaven is on earth.

What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve overcome running Dream Dance Company on your own?

There have been many obstacles I’ve had to overcome running Dream Dance Company on my own. The biggest/most challenging part is doing it by myself, without my mom by my side. It is extremely hard because everything about dance and the dance studio reminds me of my mom so every day when I walk in, I think of her. Mostly of the good memories but it always brings out my emotions and it makes me miss her so much.

What was the most important life lesson your Mom taught you?

Throughout my life, my mom taught me so many important lessons, that I honestly can’t think of the most important one. Everything I am and everything I know, I owe to my mom.

What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?

I would say that I am PROUD of her for accomplishing everything that she had done in her life and for being strong and positive, for persevering through the most difficult times, for encouraging those around me to always be the best that they can be and for inspiring people both younger and older then me.

What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?

At this point in my life, my suggestions to you would be to stay positive, be patient and enjoy every minute of every day. You never know what life will throw at you, and you need to be prepared for anything and everything. Life is too short to have regrets, be yourself, stay happy and smile.

What’s next? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I hope to have graduated from Lakehead University with my Honors Bachelor of Arts in French and a double major in Education. I hope to have a full-time job teaching French at an Elementary School in Thunder Bay. I hope to begin travelling around the world with my boyfriend, Steven. My dream would be to have a house in the country with an adorable puppy. In 5 years, I hope that I will have travelled to New York or Los Angeles to immerse myself in the dance industry to get a feel for what life has to offer for me. There are so many things that could happen in 5 years, but I couldn’t be more excited to see what my future has in store.

What makes you laugh uncontrollably? Cry out all the tears?

What makes me laugh uncontrollably is when I do not get enough sleep and am over tired or when I have too much caffeine. I get very energetic and cannot seem to control my laughter. What makes me cry is romantic movies like The Notebook.

If a Ballet were written about your life, what would it be called?

It would be called “Living in Harmony”

Follow Harmony on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harmony.appell?ref=bookmarks

And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harmonyappell/

Watch her dance videos here: https://www.facebook.com/harmony.appell/videos/10211862970158446/

You can learn more about Dream Dance Company here: http://dreamdanceco.com/