A local dance diva has set her eyes on a now-defunct nightclub space
to expand her ballet studio and possibly create a new hub for a
fledgling Burbank performing-arts community.
Natasha Middleton, owner of Media Dance Art Center at 237 E. Palm
Ave., wants to expand her 3,000-square-foot location by adding 5,000
square feet of space formerly occupied by the controversial Gitana
nightclub at 260 E. Magnolia Blvd. The added space, Middleton said,
would result in a home for Burbank’s only ballet company -- the Media
City Ballet of Burbank -- which she founded. The space also could be
a hub for Burbank’s performing-arts community, something the area
lacks, she added.
“I would like to move there,” Middleton said. “What we’re trying
to do is bring something really positive to the city and reach out to
help make this a real performing-arts community.”
Middleton said the space could house her 25-member company, which
now has no performing home. The company performs yearly at places
such as The Alex Theatre in Glendale.
But Middleton said she would need city backing to make the project
work. She added that the space could become a community venue, where
theater companies also could perform.
Burbank developer Robert Gangi said this week that he is
negotiating a lease with Middleton for the former nightclub space.
Gangi said the leasing terms have been agreed upon, but other
financial issues need to be smoothed out before a move is made.
The expanded space would have capacity for 299, and that could
mean it could be a center for local ballet performances and bolster
the arts community in the area, Gangi said.
“They are very excited about expanding into the space,” Gangi
said. “It would work well for them for performances and additional
classes. And certainly their use is less problematic than a
nightclub. I think it would be a great mix.”
Gitana nightclub lost its permit to operate on Sept. 30, when the
City Council voted to revoke its conditional-use permit. The
business, according to city and law-enforcement officials, had become
a nuisance and public safety threat because of numerous fights and
With the departure of the nightclub, Gitana Restaurant owners
Danny and Joe Georges saw an opportunity to expand their restaurant
lease with Gangi. Beginning today, they will operate a restaurant and
VIP lounge in the expanded 20,000 square feet of space.
The restaurant will continue to serve alcohol. It will be open
from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.
Danny Georges said he is confident about the future of the
business and its place in Burbank. He said the retooled area will
cater to a more upscale clientele and to families, while a new
entrance will be created for the proposed ballet studio so dancers
would not have to walk through the restaurant to enter the studio.