WICHITA — After more than a quarter century at Douglas and Hillside, MGM Studio of the Dance is moving.
New owner Christy Lee has signed a deal for 4,000 square feet at Plaza Del Sol at 435 N. Woodlawn near Central and Woodlawn.
“We really, really wanted to stay centrally located,” Lee says.
She says a lot of her students come from the College Hill area but some come from surrounding communities as well.
Lee has worked the desk at MGM for the last five years. She purchased the business this month. Former owner Mary Mayta died in February.
“Miss Mary has quite the history,” Lee says. “She was quite the icon. Quite the staple here in Wichita.”
Lee’s daughter, 13-year-old Tori Holt, has danced at MGM since she was 5. She is Lee’s inspiration for buying the business.
“I live vicariously through my daughter,” Lee says. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a ‘Solid Gold‘ dancer. That was my dream. Always wanted to be on Broadway.”
Lee is a hairdresser and massage therapist. The two spaces she’s moving into were formerly home to a salon and massage therapy group.
“It was like a sign went off,” she says. “It was like, ‘Ding, ding, ding, ding. Here it is.’”
Jeff Greenberg of CMG Properties handled the deal.
Lee says her goal had been to be in the new space by the middle of August when fall classes start, but the transition with the business has taken longer than she planned. Now she hopes to move by September.
MGM is in two studios now.
Studio 1, which is where MGM started, is on same side of Douglas as the Crown Uptown Theatre.
Then, 15 years ago, Mayta opened a second studio across from Crown Uptown.
“Studio 1 is old and kind of run down,” Lee says. “It’s a great location, but it needs a lot of work.”
That studio will close by the end of June.
Lee has already made some other changes.
MGM offers all kinds of dance classes, such as tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and tumbling for all ages. Lee has added themed dance camps. For instance, she had a princess dance camp “that was a huge success.”
Lee also has a parents night out on some Saturdays so parents can drop off their kids and have a few hours to themselves.
She’s also created a website along with Facebook and Instagram accounts, which Mayta never had.
“When she passed, she was 81,” Lee says. “She kept everything kind of old school.”
Though Lee is carrying on a tradition and adding her own touches to it, she says it’s a position she did not expect to be in.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own business. Never dreamed it would be a dance studio.”