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Celebrating a decade of dance

August 16, 2011|By David Laurell
  • Special guests in attendance for Friday's performance were actress Julie Michaels and her daughter, Victoria Piemonte, flanked by MCB dancers Danyol Jaye and Julie Westbrooke. (Photo by David Laurell)
Special guests in attendance for Friday's performance…

As both a celestial and geographic pole, the axis mundi is a point of connection between the heavens and earth where compass points meet. It is a place where lines of communication freely pass between higher and lower realms, giving those on the lower realm the opportunity to ascend, and from where those on the higher realm disseminate blessings.

This past Friday evening, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the Media City Ballet (MCB) opened those lines of communications and bestowed the blessings of their talent upon longtime supporters and new-found friends by performing “Axis Mundi: A Global Multi-Cultural Celebration of Ballet Dance” at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.

The company, formed in Burbank a decade ago by Natasha Middleton who serves as the company’s artistic director and choreographer, has become Southern California’s leading dance company specializing in the tradition and style of the Ballets Russes. While Media City Ballet is dedicated to providing Burbank and surrounding communities with quality productions, utilizing the talents of the local community as well as professionals, Media City Youth Ballet trains young dancers to prepare for the organization’s professional company.

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Welcomed by Middleton, the company’s executive director, Cindy Pease and members of the organization’s board of directors, Adrianos Facchetti, Roland Armstorff, Carlos Castro, Patricia McCauley, Tom Pease, Brent Young, Vicki Applegate, Andrè B. Van Niekerk, Doug Fitz-Simmons, Bridget Barstow, Natalie Middleton and Ed Salsbury, benefactors and VIPs enjoyed a pre-performance reception.

Among the notables in attendance were Mayor Jess Talamantes who presented the company with a commendation honoring their anniversary, his wife, Sandy Talamantes, Dorothy Matsie and Andrei Tremaine of Ballet Russe, the company’s associate artistic director, Ruben Tonoyan, and Burbank-based actress and stuntwoman Julie Michaels, best known for her portrayal of Denise opposite Patrick Swayze’s character in the 1989 film “Road House.” Accompanied by her 7-year old daughter, Victoria Piemonte, Michaels was introduced to the Media City Ballet while searching for a company her daughter could train with. “I attended one of their performances and was speechless,” said Michaels. “Their level of professionalism was beyond anything I had ever seen in Southern California dance.”

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