Fairway couple opens AKT Leawood, fitness franchise lauded by Hollywood celebs

AKT Leawood

AKT, a dance fitness brand with 22 studios around the U.S., plans to celebrate a grand opening of its new Leawood franchise this weekend in Town Center. Owned by wife-and-husband team Lauren Cimpl (above) and Anthony LaVita, the dance fitness concept combines cardio, circuit training, bands and dance into a series of workouts that switch up every few weeks. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Kansas City native Lauren Cimpl and her husband, Anthony LaVita, are helping bring a dance fitness studio concept to Town Center in Leawood.

Located at 5033 W. 117th St., AKT Leawood is set to celebrate a grand opening this weekend, with a fuller opening Monday, June 21.

The studio had a soft opening in late April to introduce classes to select new members.

AKT stands for the Anna Kaiser Technique and is named after the company’s founder Anna Kaiser, a trainer and choreographer.

AKT has become a well-known fitness brand in Hollywood and on social media, lauded by celebrities like Shakira and Kelly Ripa. The method centers around dance-based cardio fitness routines.

The company operates 22 studios in at least 13 states, including California, Colorado and New York, and has plans for several more new locations to open soon, according to its website.

‘Doesn’t feel like you’re working out’

Cimpl and LaVita say they were drawn to AKT because of its focus on frequently switching up routines’ content and keeping workouts interesting.

Payton Lyon, one of AKT Leawood’s fitness trainers, led a class Wednesday evening.

“I want them to have a sense of community here; that’s something I missed especially during COVID — going into a studio,” Cimpl said. “I just want people to come and have fun when they work out. Then it doesn’t feel like you’re working out, it doesn’t feel as hard. That was something I was drawn to about AKT.”

Cimpl said she’s excited to finally open the studio after a drawn-out process and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are super behind where we ever thought it would be, but I’m an optimist,” she said. “Now I think people realize how much they miss going to a gym and how important cleanliness and your health is.”

Cimpl and LaVita, who now live in Fairway after spending several years on the East Coast, said they hope to bring a unique fitness opportunity to the Kansas City metro.

“I want them to have a sense of community here; that’s something I missed especially during COVID — going into a studio,” said Lauren Cimpl. Above, a dance fitness class. Photo courtesy AKT Leawood.

“Anthony… saw an opportunity to bring AKT to Kansas City, and I was like, ‘Well, I mean, I’ve heard of it, I’ve tried it, I had a lot of fun,’” Cimpl said. “I feel like there’s opportunity to bring something new. I’m personally excited to be a small business owner in Kansas City.”

Town Center seemed like the ideal, centralized location for their clientele, Cimpl said.

“Growing up in Kansas City, 119th was, like, really far south from where I lived in Brookside,” Cimpl added. “It was so far south, and everything was new, and then when I moved back, I’m like that’s 161st now. We looked at the demographics of Kansas City, which is so different than when I lived here. It’s actually a central location.”

Cimpl hopes they can open more AKT locations in the Kansas City metro in the future.