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Patti Law gets new studio in Oakhurst

Patti Law’s School of Dance will resume classes at Mountain Muscle April 4.
Patti Law’s School of Dance will resume classes at Mountain Muscle April 4. Sierra Star File Photo

The Patti Law School of Dance has found a new home in Oakhurst after its monthly rental agreement with the Golden Chain Theatre was not renewed.

The board of directors of the GCT, needing additional space for its growing School of Performing Arts, recently informed Law the GCT no longer had space to accommodate her.

After Law announced she’d have to close the business because she couldn’t afford to relocate to a new location and pay a much higher rental fee, George and Meloni Mullins, owners of Oakhurst gym Mountain Muscle, offered Law for double the space at the same price. The space at the business is used for racquetball and aerobic classes, but the Mullins are making the space available to Law for four hours a week starting April 4.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to continue my dance classes for the children and adults of this wonderful community,” Law said. “Everywhere I have gone around town this past week, I have received nothing but well-wishes and many hugs from members of this community. I am truly overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and kindness from the community, and I will remember you always.”

Meloni Mullins said being able to help Patti Law is a blessing to her and her husband.

George grew up here and I know this community is steeped in tradition,” Meloni said. “Hundreds of people have been fortunate enough to have been taught life lessons and dance from Miss Patti, and we just want to keep that tradition alive.”

When the Sierra Star story about the situation first appeared on www.sierrastar.com and in its March 23 edition, there was a large outpouring of support for Law on social media. Anita Johnson, board member with the Coarsegold Rodeo Association, saw all the conversations and came up with the idea of “honoring Miss Patti by having her students perform one last time for the community during the planned Gold Rush Days in Coarsegold (May 5-7).”

George Mullins saw a Facebook post by Johnson supporting Law, and contacted Johnson to offer space at Mountain Muscle for the Patti Law School of Dance.

“I called Patti Law and told her I wanted to have breakfast with her and I thought I might have a solution for her,” Johnson said. “I met her and we went over to see the space at Mountain Muscle and Patti was both thrilled and overwhelmed when she saw the room. After hearing that Law and Mountain Muscle connected and finalized a rental agreement, I was overjoyed knowing that Patti will be able to continue giving dance lessons to children of this community like she has for so many years.”

Even before hearing from Johnson, Law received a couple offers for rental space, but the room at Mountain Muscle is more conducive for a dance studio because the walls are covered with mirrors.

In a prepared statement, the GCT board acknowledged that Law was one of the original organizers of the GCT, being one of a handful of community members who put their homes up as collateral for a bank loan to purchase the Oakhurst Bowling Alley in the mid 60s to transform it into the Golden Chain Melodrama Theatre.

The statement noted that the GCT board is “eternally grateful for Law’s vision and support throughout the history of the GCT ... and it is with much sadness that the GCT has come to realize they no longer have the space to accommodate the dance studio ... We wish her the absolute best in her endeavors in teaching dance to the young people of our community.”

Miss Patti, as many called the dance instructor, was one of the founders of the GCT and best known for teaching dance to Mountain Area children for 50 years. In addition to children’s dance classes, recitals and performances, Law has also served as the dance instructor and choreographer for the Grub Gulch Garter Girls & Guys, and the Grub Gulch Grannies, for many years.

Coarsegold performance May 6

Johnson said Law’s children and adults have agreed to perform at 10 a.m. on May 6 at Gold Rush Days at the Coarsegold Historic Village. Johnson is encouraging parents of children who have been in her classes over the decades to bring dated show-biz photos of their children or themselves to be put in scrapbooks that will be presented to Law “as a big thank you for all her years of service to the community.”

During the event, Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will present Law with a proclamation from the county honoring her for her many years of service to the community.

“We are inviting the entire community to attend this wonderful event and come show some love to Miss Patti and her adorable little dancers,” Johnson said.

Details: Patti Law School of Dance, chicago@sti.net. www.coarsegoldgoldrushdays.com.

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