New fitness studio, salon opens doors in Yelm

The Riot offers yoga, dance classes, skin care


When Kayla Walker moved from San Diego, California, to Yelm in 2022, she knew that it could be a home for her business. She owned a couple of salons in San Diego but had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After liquidating her business, Walker and her family bought a trailer and traveled around the world for a year and a half, visiting all of the national parks. They stopped in Yelm to visit a friend who lived in the area, and Walker fell in love with the small town.

“When we were done traveling, we had such a good time here and we already had roots here, so we decided to buy a house,” she said. “I like the small-town feeling of Yelm, and I didn’t want to go back to San Diego.”

Now, she owns The Riot, a fitness studio and salon located at 201 E. Yelm Ave. Suite A, on the third floor of the building that houses Pho Yelm and Kaos Dance Elite. Walker wanted to continue her salon services, as she has been a licensed esthetician for 15 years, but she also wanted to try something new and bring a different service to Yelm.

The Riot offers Zumba, throwdown dancing and hip-hop dancing classes. Walker danced competitively in high school and is certified in fitness training, but she has never trained people in dance or fitness before. She will teach the throwdown classes and has hired yoga and Zumba instructors.

“I knew I was going to go back to the salon services, but in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to try something different as well. I came across a lot of dance and fitness videos, and it got me excited,” Walker said. “That’s why this is a perfect setup because I’ve worked for a long time for something that had both.”

Her new business has a studio that can hold up to 40 people, she said, and has an office space that will house her salon, which includes brow waxing services and facials. She taught her first classes on Wednesday, March 13, and expected there to be a big turnout.

“At first, I know I’m gonna be working non-stop. I’m hoping to find more people in the area that also love to teach because there isn’t anything like this in Yelm,” Walker said. “I’m hoping I can be more focused on the back end of the business and then doing esthetics.”

Dance class students will learn three to four dances in a one-hour session. Walker believes that her business will be popular because of its rarity in the area.

“I think it’s gonna be the coolest thing ever. Something like this needed to come to Yelm,” she said. “This just gets us more confident in ourselves. We’re learning a new skill, and we’re exercising at the same time. It’s more music-based, and it’s fun to be around. I’m trying to build a community.”

Walker was surprised when “hundreds of people” commented and engaged with her Facebook posts regarding the new business. She said she wants the dance and yoga classes to be accessible for all ages, especially teenagers.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been asking for something like this for teens, so I do have a teen hour cut out just for them after school from 2:45 to 3:45,” she said. “They can all come here and not get in trouble. I know they offer the dance team at Yelm High School, but maybe we can get some of the middle schoolers or the high schoolers that maybe don’t feel ready for the dance team. Maybe this is something where they can just come and learn.”

The month of March is a soft opening for The Riot with first-month discounts. Walker also offers memberships and packages for those interested in investing more time in classes. 

For more information about The Riot and its services, visit