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Janine Marnien “I love you, thank you,”...

Janine Marnien

“I love you, thank you,” local dance instructor Julie Kay said to

the waiter at the Star Cafe after being given her food.

It’s an expression she uses often, accentuated with her Southern


accent. The statement reflects the energy a self-professed workaholic


“I never sleep,” said Kay, 23. “I’m either typing something or

thinking up new things for the kids.”


The kids she speaks of are the more than 200 dancers at the

studio where she teaches, the Performing Arts Studio. In the two

years she’s been there, the program has grown from about 25 students

to about 250.

Kay has been dancing since she was 3. It’s the one thing she can’t

screw up, she said.

“My dad used to tell my mom I came out of her dancing,” she said.

She has been a Las Vegas showgirl and a magician’s assistant, and


said she used to dance with Chelsea Clinton.

She eventually needed a change of pace from Southern living, and

moved to La Crescenta. One day at a local gas station, Kay saw a

business card for the Performing Arts Studio. She called the studio,

and it just so happened one of the other instructors had called and

canceled. She started teaching that day.

Melissa Gerard has two daughters who take lessons from Kay.

“As a parent, you want your kids to have a good role model,” she


said. “She’s incredible. She’s cool, she’s fun, she cares about other

people. And she emphasizes caring about other people.”

But the time has come for Kay to move on. With the financial help

of one of her student’s parents, Kay will open a new studio in

Montrose called The Vibe on July 15. Kay is wants to eventually

expand to include dance instruction for handicapped children.