That’s the Melody Lane experience.

Dynamic + upbeat dance, music, and theatre classes led by experts. 

Showcase and sequins, life skills and friendly competition.

A performing arts center grounded in love of community

Welcome To Our Community

If life is about finding yourself, Melody Lane is about creating memories, lasting friendships, and connections through a shared experience of performing arts. For more than 40 years, Melody Lane has been known in the Yakima Valley for its exciting dance, acting, and drama classes. 

We’re all about bringing the fun and excitement of the performing arts into your life through structure with the expectation that our students learn and grow. Children and teens will love taking classes in the expansive 10,000 square foot facility where dancers, actors, musicians, and singers are only limited by their imaginations. 

With opportunities to perform in the Capitol theatre and at venues throughout the Yakima community, students have every opportunity to shine. 

We welcome everyone of all ages to join with our family in experiencing the performing arts. 

Once you join with us, you’re part of the studio community.

Meet the Owner

In 2018, the Akin family welcomed Sarah Marquis-Smith as studio owner. A longtime member of the Melody Lane family, Sarah began dancing at the age of two. She grew up at Melody Lane, taking classes five days a week in genres like ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. By the time she was in high school, Sarah taught the Dance Explorers class and came to love educating students to become contributing members to the community, later attending the University of Idaho to earn her Bachelor of Science in Dance. 

She returned in 2015 to teach full time and later acquired the studio to uphold the community-minded dance, acting, and music instruction Melody Lane is known for. What she loves most about teaching students is welcoming everyone into a performing arts community and investing in a child’s future through family-oriented, quality instruction that invests in a child as a whole person. Since Sarah had a longtime goal of owning a studio, working as artistic director and studio owner of Melody Lane is a dream job.

Sarah Marquis-Smith

Meet our instructors

In 2018, The Rising Stars Association (RSA) was founded as a way to assist students in need of financial support to continue their growth in the performing arts. RSA continues to grow as an incredible non-profit that supports giving back to our community and continuing the growth of arts in Yakima youth. 

The Rising Stars Association also supports our Melody Lane Dancers and Performance Companies. These traveling youth ensembles bring performing arts to the Yakima Valley 

Through the generosity of our community, RSA held its first fundraiser event in 2021 with our Melody Lane Performance Companies performing for their first live event since the 2020 pandemic shutdown. 

As of today, RSA has helped performers continue their arts education. Each year, RSA gives around $40,000 to young performing artists towards their classes and education. 

Learn more about Performance Company


Melody Lane got its start in 1981...

…when Alan and Peggy Akin moved their family from North Hollywood, CA to Yakima to experience the slower pace of family life. To make extra money and pass the time, Peggy founded a musical preschool and performing arts group in the basement of her family home. Even in the early days, Melody Lane prioritized student growth by instilling a lifelong love of the performing arts in every student who passed through its doors.

Alan and Peggy Akin with their Children

COntinue to 1984


By 1984,

the Akin family moved the studio to the third floor of First Christian Church in downtown Yakima. And before Melody Lane made its move to Nob Hill Plaza, Amy Akin started teaching at the school his parents created, later settling into the role of studio owner. 

COntinue to 2013


By 2013,

the studio acquired Akin Center Theatre (now the Warehouse Theatre) and renovated the current facility to best fit the needs of the Melody Lane family.

COntinue to 2019



we’re a thriving performing arts community with more than 75 weekly classes for dancers, actors, and musicians ready to experience the excitement of learning community and artistic skills that will be with them for years to come.

Back to 1981

Our heritage





In March 2023, we lost our incredible instrument instructor, Mr. Justin.  Mr. Justin was a cherished member of the Melody Lane community. His passion for music and dedication to his students will be greatly missed. 

In honor of Mr. Justin, Melody Lane has established the Justin Poole Memorial Music Scholarship which will help to financially assist students who are passionate and dedicated to their music educations. 

Justin Poole Memorial Music Scholarship

“I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know, but with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of the world, and teach some things to some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise.”
— Robert Fulghum