Carrie Rengers

Midwest Dance Mechanix to more than double in size

Midwest Dance Mechanix, which offers recreational and competition dance, is more than doubling in size.
Midwest Dance Mechanix, which offers recreational and competition dance, is more than doubling in size. Courtesy photo

Jana Owen is once again expanding her Midwest Dance Mechanix — something she never expected when she moved from a two-room studio in Valley Center to three studios at 37th and Hydraulic three years ago.

“Definitely not,” Owen says. “Three years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d need to expand this quickly.”

She started the business in 2010 and had 30 students in her first recital. Now she has more than 300 students and is adding 6,000 square feet to her 4,400 square feet at 3805 N. Hydraulic.

That will give her six studios along with costume and prop shops.

Owen says she wants to offer students high-quality instruction but also wants to make it easy for parents

“We are teaching classes six days a week,” she says. “We’ve just run out of convenient times for parents.”

Dance Mechanix offers what Owen calls a variety of age- and level-appropriate classes for any child who wants to dance. She teaches ages 3 and up and has more than 80 classes a week, many of which have a waiting list.

For kids, there are class in ballet; tap; jazz; hip hop; musical theater; modern; lyrical, which is a cross between ballet and jazz; contemporary, which is a cross between modern dance and ballet; strength and stretch; and leaps and turns.

There’s a competition company for students looking to dance in college and beyond.

“I’ve always really wanted to provide dancers the opportunity to take the next step,” Owen says.

“Any high level of anything you do requires a lot of hours of training.”

There also is recreational dance for anyone wanting to learn more about dance and to see if they may want to pursue it.

There are adult programs with a mixture of technique and fitness classes, hip hop and ballet, and Owen wants to expand into tap and jazz.

The new Wheat State Dance Collective also has classes at Dance Mechanix.

Owen plans to open one new studio initially to ease the class schedule and then add two more.

“I’m just trying to take it one need at a time,” she says.  “It solves a lot of the growing pains problems we were having.”

Because of her location near several interstates, Owen says she doesn’t want to move.

“It’s a workable drive on a weeknight for parents.”

Not that she’s looking to expand again.

“I am hoping that this will be . . . a good jump for us for quite a while.”

Owen has hired a familiar face in the Wichita dance world.

Stan Rogers, the former director of the Friends University ballet department, is now teaching at Dance Mechanix.

“Stan was actually my teacher growing up,” Owen says. 

“He has been a wonderful addition. The kids love him. He’s just so knowledgeable and talented, and we’re super excited and grateful to have him.”

Rogers says the students are talented and well trained.

“It’s great to work with really young dancers again,” he says.

“It’s a nurturing place.”

Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.