Most of that time, it has been housed at the same location, on the backside of the Woodgate shopping center.
Come next fall, however, the school will have new digs, along with a new director/owner and a new name.
Sue Warter, who has been at the helm of the studio since its inception, is passing the torch to her daughter, Beth Ith.
“I’ve basically grown up with the studio,” comments Ith. “My mom opened it when I was in fourth grade and I took classes for years and eventually became a teacher. I’ve always been passionate about dance.”
She adds, “My mom is ready at this point in life to hand the business over to me. She will still teach a few classes and help out at the front desk and I will, of course, look to her for advice. But, she feels that it’s time to take more of a back seat.”
As to the studio’s new location, Ith notes it will still be in Woodinville.
She says, “We’re moving into a place off of the Woodinville-Redmond Road in a more industrial area of town.”
Ith explains that the motivation for the change of venue stems from a need for more space, as well as a desire to be in a different area of the city with other businesses that are more appropriately suited to a dance school’s younger clientele. She points out that at the current location, there is a bar in close proximity to the studio. At 6,700 square-feet, the new facility will be almost double the size of the current studio. There will be three dance rooms, upgraded flooring and a better sound system, as well as a study area for students to do their homework and a more spacious waiting/observation lobby for parents.
“We feel that all these things will help to attract more students to Studio I and allow it to continue growing,” comments Ith.
With three young boys of her own, the local woman knows that her plate will be very full when she assumes responsibility for the dance school.
“It’s a big step for my family,” she says. “It’s a big journey and I’m nervous and excited at the same time. But, I have a wonderful husband and family who are very supportive of me, not to mention all of my great students and their families.”
She adds, “It’s still a bit scary when I think about it though.”
In regards to a name change, Ith decided she wanted a fresh start.
She notes that Studio I will always be associated with her mom who founded the school years ago.
“But, now it’s mine,” she says, “and I wanted it to have a new identity. It’s going to be called Rhythm & Soul Dance Studio.”
She emphasizes that though the name is changing, the heart of the studio will still be the same and Studio I will always remain a piece of the new school.
Ith attributes the success and longevity of Studio I to its environment, quality of instructors and the variety of classes offered.
“We are all about the personal connection here,” she explains. “We take the time to get to know our students. My students are like my kids. We’re a family here. I think this is a different type of experience than you might get at other studios.” Ith adds, “Our teachers are very skilled and they are constantly taking workshops and getting more training from well-known dance professionals. Because we have a dance competition team here, they know they need to keep up with the trends, techniques and choreography.”
A grand opening is planned for the new facility at the end of August/early September. Meanwhile, business is as usual at the current Studio I location.
“We’ll have our six-week summer session here while we do the build-out over at the new place,” says Ith. “And then we’ll open the doors in September.”