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Ballet company raising funds for first show

December 22, 2001

Joyce Rudolph, Weekend

MEDIA DISTRICT NORTH -- A monthly dance series is planned and

community appearances have started as the Media City Ballet Company

builds toward its first performance in winter 2002.

Natasha Middleton, company founder and artistic director, updated 65

guests on the company's progress at a fund-raising luncheon Sunday at

Burbank Airport Hilton. The company kicked off its founding with a

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recital Sept. 30.

A new director has joined the company. Ruben Tonoyan, who received

ballet training in Russia, will be helping Middleton coach the principal

dancers.

"He will concentrate on perfecting a clean quality to the dancers'

techniques," she said.

In addition, a series of afternoon performances to raise money for the

first major production is being planned for the last Sunday of the month

from February to October at the Media Dance Arts Centre. Tickets will be

$10 and are limited to 100 guests. There will be a different theme each

month centering on a featured artist or composer.

Several company members are also performing outreach recitals at

schools and community organizations, most recently at St. Francis Xavier

School and the Burbank Rotary Club.

The $40-per-person fund-raiser Sunday featured company members dancing

excerpts from "The Nutcracker."

"It's a lot of fun. It's hard work, but it pays off, once you get on

stage," said Lauren Glass, who danced the starring role as Clara.

Ellen Rosa, dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy, said she enjoyed the

intimate setting of the Hilton's Festival Jubilee Room.

"It shows people who support the company what we're working for -- a

show on the bigger stage," she said.

Grant Wilson, who danced the part of the Cavalier, said performing is

what the art of ballet is all about.

"Any opportunity we get to expose the public to the arts, it's a

wonderful thing. We'll do it every time," he said.

Several local vendors were showing their wares, with a percentage of

sales going to the ballet company. Ann Larkin of Ann of Magnolia

displayed beautiful shawls and jewelry. Glendale artist Pomm donated a

serigraph titled "Sleeping Beauty" for the silent auction. Celia Hamada

of Kimberly's Room was featuring delicate sachet and gift bags, and

Lolita DeGuzman showed silk orchids from Flowers by Lolita.

For more information on the Media City Ballet Company, call 972-9692.

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