Story in pictures — Dancers swung until midnight to say goodbye to Melange in downtown Mission

Melange

Tuesday night marked the final dance party at Mélange Dance and Events on Johnson Drive in downtown Mission. The studio had been open for seven years, and now dancers who came here each week to swing will have to find other local studios. Here are some pictures from Mélange's final celebration, which went until midnight. Photo credits Leah Wankum.

The windows are now dark at Melange Dance and Events on Johnson Drive in downtown Mission.

The dance hall permanently closed Tuesday at midnight. Owner Julie Murray said the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — which created particular challenges for the “inherently social” activity of dancing — finally became too much to overcome.

But dancers from across the Kansas City metro flocked to the studio for a farewell dance, celebrating the past seven years at Melange.

On this last night, a final set of classes were given, and then the curtains parted for a social dance at 8:30 p.m. Spirits in the hall ran high as dancers bounced, bobbed and swung until midnight.

The dancers who have come to Melange will now have to find space at other local studios — Walters Dance Center, Viva Social Dance Studio and The Culture House, to name a few. But saying goodbye to Melange is bittersweet.

As dance instructor Elizabeth Watkins of The Ballroom KC put it: “It’s not only about the space; it’s about the people. So we will keep dancing.”

Here’s what the last night at Melange looked like:

Melange

Melange

Melange

Melange