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Gotta Dance owner has big plans to expand cabaret in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy, is pictured on the second floor at 28 West Bank St., which she wants to renovate and turn into an expanded space for the Cabaret at Studio B. Gary Simboli, in back, would like to be a regular performer at the site after he retires as a teacher at Albion in about four years. Kelly Kovaleski, also in back, in pursuing grants to help with the project.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 2:01 pm

ALBION – Five years ago Amy Sidari turned part of her dance studio into a cabaret, where she welcomes musicians, comedians, dancers and theatrical groups for performances.

She upgraded the space with professional sound and lighting. Each show she brings out tables and chairs with seats for up to 80 people.

The Cabaret at Studio B has been a success, Sidari said, with the performances regularly selling out.

That success, and a growing list of talent, has her working to take the next step, a major renovation of the second floor for the cabaret. If the cabaret went to the top floor of her building at 28 West Bank St., Sidari said the seating could increase to at least 125. She could also keep the room permanently set up for shows.

Right now she has to bring out tables and chairs for every cabaret performance because the space is also used for her dance studio, Gotta Dance by Miss Amy.

Sidari opened her studio 21 years ago at 28 West Bank St., and has steadily been upgrading the first floor and the building, including a new roof in 2012. She would like to next tackle a major renovation of the second floor.

This Saturday one of the cabaret performers, Dave Mancini of Rochester, is doing a show to benefit the project – the future new cabaret. That show starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more information. This is the first fundraiser in what Sidari said will likely be a multi-year effort.

Mancini is a well-known jazz musician from Rochester who appeared at the Cabaret last August. The Cabaret also welcomed nationally acclaimed jazz singer Erin Boheme, who sang at President Trump’s inauguration.

Sidari gave a tour of the top floor last week. The space is currently used as storage. But Sidari said she envisions it as an elegant performance venue.

“It will have an open, airy environment,” she said.

She is working with an engineer to draw up designs and estimate costs. It will be a big effort with new windows, air-conditioning, heating, lights, sprinklers  and flooring all needed, as well as an elevator.

The Cabaret at Studio B opened in July 28, 2013 with Marcy Downey as the first performer. Sidari routinely sells out shows with a capacity of 80 seats.

Sidari is undaunted in the effort to create the new cabaret. She opened Gotta Dance in the building 21 years ago and worked with family and friends to create the first space for dancers. A second room for dancers was added, as well as a store with dancing supplies, a café area, and a small studio for piano lessons.

“It has the potential,” Sidari said. “To me it’s just the next step. I can smell it – the excitement.”

Gary Simboli, an Albion music teacher, has been a regular performer at the Cabaret the past five years. He wants to stay active as a musician when he retires from teaching in four years.

Sidari said teaming with Simboli would make the space a big draw in Albion and beyond.

“Gary is a superstar, a hometown man who gives more than anyone in the community,” Sidari said.

In addition to performing at the Cabaret, Simboli said he would like to cook for people as part of the expanded space. The new cabaret would lend itself to bus tours, and would be a draw to downtown Albion, Simboli said.

“We are an arts community,” Simboli said. “We support many things. This would be a place to call our own.”

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