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 This new school will be different than ours as the way I ran my studio is obsolete and not viable in this new generation of dancers.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,
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.)