FROM THE BURBANK LEADER:
Burbank Leader FULL ARTICLE
BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: If you build it, they will dance
Owner of Garri Dance Studio expands operations, and she does a lot of the legwork herself.
By Rachel Kane, August 21, 2007
Working on floors is what dancers do, but Megan Baade, the 25-year-old owner of Garri Dance Studio, has taken her interactions with the dance floor to a whole new level.
Instead of doing pirouettes and plies in her new studio on West Magnolia Boulevard, Baade has been laying floor boards and painting walls this summer in the 2,500-square-foot space.
“I’m very hands-on about this,” Baade said. “This dance floor is an investment, but it’s an investment in my students’ health.”
The wood floors at the studio are all padded underneath to provide a little added spring in the dancers’ steps, and to make moving on them easier on the joints.
When the studio opens on Sept. 4, it will be the second Garri Dance Studio location. Baade has owned the original studio on West Verdugo Avenue for five years.
Before that, she trained with Peg Garri, the studio’s original owner, from the age of 2 to 18, and then became a dance instructor at the studio around the time Garri died in 2000.
She took the reins as the business’ owner when Garri’s daughter, Mary Beth Costanzo, decided to move out of town in 2002.
“It was relatively seamless,” said Eric Rosoff, of Burbank, whose 16-year-old daughter has been dancing at the studio for at least eight years.
“There was a long-standing tradition with Garri Dance of being an icon in the community, and [Baade] certainly has carried on that tradition,” he said.
Once Baade’s business got too big for her space, she decided to move up.
The original studio is 950 square feet with one dance room. The new location has three dance rooms and a new music room. It used to be a Pilates studio called Center Studio, where Baade took classes.
When she found out they were going out of business and the building would be open, she jumped on it.
“I felt so connected with the space already,” she said as she walked around the tap room that used to be the Pilates’ studio front lobby.
“It’s just a much more wide-open space,” she said.
All the rooms have open-beamed, high ceilings, and the largest of the three rooms has big windows that face the street and bring a lot of light, which was a main selling point for Baade.
“It’s the most New York dance studio that you’re going to get in Burbank,” she said, referring to the exposed brick walls and air vents that make the place look kind of like a loft.
While expanding the size of her business physically, Baade has also expanded and shifted around her services.
The new studio will have most of the children’s tap, jazz, hip-hop and ballet classes while the old studio will house more adult classes, she said.
But the space is keeping some of its roots. Baade will also offer Pilates classes, she said.
Her staff has tripled, going from five to 15 instructors.
“I know when we first started things, she was doing it like it always was, and then over the years she’s improved on the classes and the teachers and remodeled [the original studio] a little bit,” said Marla Hughes, 45, of Burbank, whose 10-year-old daughter has been taking classes at the studio for four years.
“The [new] studio is going to be awesome because it’s going to be much bigger, more classes available, different times available. I’m looking forward to it, and it’s actually closer to me.”
The studio will have its grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 2. Clothes and free dance classes will be raffled off.