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Stepping into the Village

July 08, 2000

Paul Clinton

BURBANK VILLAGE -- Natasha Middleton has high hopes for the new dance

school she opened in Burbank.

By relocating her ballet, jazz and tap dance school from North

Hollywood to Gangi Development Co.'s Media Village, Middleton said she's

bringing Burbank a taste of the arts.

"This area is getting some class," Middleton said Thursday, as she

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stood in her new 3,000-square-foot studio. "Some culture."

Opened Wednesday, Middleton's school joins a $20-million project that

includes a Brazilian steak house, crepeorie, sports

bar/nightclub/restaurant and other retail stores. Atop the businesses is

a 146-unit senior housing complex.

At the Media Dance Arts Center, Middleton will offer classes to the

public in a range of dance styles.

With 75 students, Middleton has taught ballet and other forms of dance

for more than 20 years. She was once jazz pianist Chuck Corea's

choreographer.

Before she moved in to her space, Middleton installed wood floors, a

bathroom, central air conditioning and full-body length mirrors into the

formerly unoccupied space.

While her "silent opening" didn't raise many eyebrows, Middleton said

she plans to christen her dance studio in style next month at a formal

ribbon cutting. Her school will perform the ballet "Les Sylphides" for

city officials and the public.

Located at 237 E. Palm Ave., Middleton's studio sits just off the

street on a walkway that cuts through Media Village to Magnolia

Boulevard.

Media Village developer Frank Gangi said he was glad to sign Middleton

to a lease to fill up space that has been vacant since the project opened

a year ago. Gangi said the business will complement the new 276-seat

Burbank Center Stage, the former Natural History Museum now home to

Colony Studio Theatre.

"We were looking more for tenants that were offering entertainment

venues," Gangi said. "That's what is happening downtown."

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