BIZNOTE: Kathy’s Studio of Dance closing; West Seattle Performing Arts taking over


A local icon is retiring, and closing her business – the namesake and proprietor of Kathy’s Studio of Dance in The Junction. For more than 30 years, young West Seattleites have taken dance lessons and performed at the studio (4217 SW Edmunds) led by Kathryn Lahey, aka “Miss Kathy.” Since getting a tip about her announcement, we’ve spoken with her a couple of times, and she thought the best way to report would be to share the letter she sent to families:

It is with a very heavy heart and much sadness that I announce that after 39 years I will be retiring and closing Kathy’s Studio of Dance. After our Recital in June, the studio will close. This was a very difficult decision for me to make but the dance world is changing and I am no longer up for the challenge. I started my studio with the idea that anyone should be able to dance – no matter their size, talent or ability to pay. I wanted a professional studio that taught children and adults of all ages- structure, discipline and team work. This was how all the dance studios were back when I started 39 years ago. This worked for many years but times have changed and I need to leave the education of dance to those who are young, fresh and are able to change with the new dance world.

I am happy to announce that a new dance school will be opening in our place. I did not want to leave my dancers, teachers or staff without a possible place to continue their love for dance. Mrs.Christine Juarez will be opening her school WEST SEATTLE PERFORMING ARTS here in our location after we finish our Recital. She will be contacting my students about her program in the near future. This new school will be different than ours as the way I ran my studio is obsolete and not viable in this new generation of dancers. The new dance school will have Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern/Contemporary, Tumbling, Acting, Theater and many other exciting classes in the PERFORMING ARTS. Mrs. Juarez has taught at my studio in the past; my daughter took classes from her for many years. When my daughter took classes from her, it was with Mrs. Juarez’s mentoring that helped her receive a scholarship to NY to dance and be on Starpower’s “POWER PAK.” Mrs. Juarez has been on the staff at Cornish College of the Arts for over 20 years. I highly respect and admire Christine Juarez and cannot think of a better person to pass my students to. Some of our current teachers may even teach at this new dance school.

I thank all of you for your years of loyalty, support and dedication. I have enjoyed the many years of working with the children of Seattle. All I ever wanted to do since I was in 5th grade is be a Dance Teacher. Thank you for allowing me to do that. I was blessed to be part of all your lives.

The show will go on as always. I hope to make it our best show ever. How can we go wrong when it’s DISNEY!

Very truly yours – IN DANCE,

Miss Kathy

This is a business sale, not a property sale; the building’s ownership is not changing. (Side note: It’s not one of the buildings that the recent West Seattle Junction Historical Survey deemed potentially eligible for landmark status, though – see page 13 here – it’s one of the oldest buildings in The Junction.)

13 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Kathy's Studio of Dance closing; West Seattle Performing Arts taking over"

  • Charmaine March 28, 2016 (9:35 pm)

    My first dance lessons were at 40 yrs old with you, Miss Kathy, and I have great memories of tap and jazz steps and fun performances.  I remember thinking the foot work was hard and then we had to use our arms too!!  The Christmas shows at the Seattle Center were my favorites even though I was initially scared to death with the audience so close.  You got us through all that and I appreciate those life lessons.  All the best to you and yours!

  • Meagan March 29, 2016 (6:58 am)

    Awww sad to see this. I took tap, jazz and ballet from Kathy around age 11 and 12. I’m 42 years old now and still remember dancing recitals at Chief Sealth and the Seattle Center. Back when Billy Joel’s Tell her about it was a hit. :) thanks Kathy for the good times and memories!

  • Jami March 29, 2016 (8:15 am)

    I painted that mural —oh! so long ago.  I see it’s faded over the years. (I live in Oregon now) I am pleased, and , I admit it, proud, that it’s still there after all these years. Good-bye Kathy’s Studio!

    • Kate March 29, 2016 (10:01 am)

      It’s an iconic mural – I look at it every time I drive by! Could use some fresh paint :)

  • Lori March 29, 2016 (9:20 am)

    It’s a sad day for so many of us parents at KSD. My daughter has been a student there for the past 5 years and she is heartbroken. 

  • Tanya March 29, 2016 (9:56 am)

    Miss Kathy, this studio was such a big part of my childhood and like a second home to me growing up. Thank you for everything! I’m glad that I was able to come back as an adult and reconnect with the KSD Family. You will be missed!

  • Lori March 29, 2016 (3:22 pm)

    Sad to hear of the end. but happy that dance will live on in West Seattle through Dance! West Seattle and the new entity of West Seattle Performing Arts. Never stop dancing!

  • Stephanie March 29, 2016 (3:42 pm)

    As a mom to a current dance Company member, I am sad to hear the studio will be closing.  Miss Kathy, you ran a first class studio. You taught all dancers to be confident and professional. I applaud the structure and discipline you provided and all the attention to detail. Because of the experience my daughter has had dancing for your studio you will find her tap dancing around the house all day, twirling through the living room and always always always, cartwheeling and walk-over-ing every chance she gets.  Thank you for the wonderful 4 years we’ve had and we wish you a happy retirement. 

  • Joy March 29, 2016 (3:47 pm)

    My daughters have danced at Dance! West Seattle for 20 years and have had friends dance at Kathy’s during that same time period.  They can’t image how upset the current dancers must be and hope they will continue on with their love of dance.

    Good luck and may you find another place you loved as much as Kathy’s.  

  • Ivan March 30, 2016 (7:32 am)

    For those who might not know her, Christine Juarez is a longtime West Seattleite and a terrific person, so operation of the dance studio is staying in both the local dance community and the West Seattle community.

  • Kelly McNally Siegel March 31, 2016 (5:38 am)

    Kathy – I took my first dance lessons with you long ago in Ingleside, IL.  You helped to inspire my love of dance.  Congratulations on a fabulous career doing what you love.  If only we could all be so fortunate!  Enjoy retirement!

  • Chris O'Connor Valenziano March 31, 2016 (6:15 am)

    Best wishes from a dancer from your past!  My days in your studio in Fox Lake/Ingleside WERE the best days of my life.  As an adult, I look back on those memories I have of you and our dance time together….I miss them so fondly.  I wish you nothing but the best and hope that the future is kind to you and grants you your every wish.  Keep dancing, even when no one is looking!

  • Aunt Marge March 31, 2016 (9:48 am)

    I can remember when you were 2 yrs old, dancing to any music.  Mom & Dad and I think Grandpa too put you in dance class.  What a wonderful time came of that.  I remember Miss Izzy and her little helper.  You wanted your own studio when you were 5.  Loved it.  What a great career came of your love of dance.  Wishing you the best in your retirement (can’t believe you’re old enough to retire. LOL)  I keep track of the family on FB, now you get on so I can keep track of you.  Love you!

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