Do the hustle


Sonoma Academy of Dance and Arts is packing its bags and heading for the big time – the bright lights of the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, that is. It seems that the historic building on First Street East that they’ve inhabited for the past number of years will soon be turned into a winery tasting room, forcing a decision for SADA owner and director Sarah Duran Levine and her team.

After having been turned down in early 2010 by the Sonoma City Council in a bid to hold special events and weddings at the First Street East studio, Duran has been faced with what seemed to be the imminent closure of her business due to a lack of sustainable revenue. She has prevailed, however, over the course of the past 18 months, having struck a deal with her landlord, Moona O’Toole, with regards to a workable rent. Unfortunately for Duran, O’Toole at this point is looking to rent the space to an unnamed winery that plans to open a new just-off-the-Plaza tasting room.

But Duran, never one to miss a dance step, is taking the news in stride, having struck a deal to lease the veterans building for the summer in order to house her numerous camps. “We’re very excited,” said Duran. “The building is much larger and the front and back gardens provide plenty of outdoor space for campers to explore. The Overlook Trail is nearby, which is an ideal spot for our Archeology Camp. We’re looking forward to an amazing summer experience.”

Duran is also hopeful that she can parlay the summer rental into a yearlong agreement with the city. The proposal will be heard at the upcoming June planning commission meeting.


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