Annie Thistle wants to open the type of dance studio she would have like to have as a kid.
The owner of the , currently at 773 E. Blithedale Ave. in the Alto shopping center, is set to move a much larger space downtown after she received approval to do so Monday night from the Mill Valley Planning Commission.
Thistle plans to move the studio into the 2,500-square-foot space on the second floor of 38 Miller Ave. above the Balboa Cafe. The vacant location was formerly occupied by the spa.
The plan calls for two dance studios, an entry/reception area, locker room, private office and storage room, with shared restrooms for all businesses on the floor.
“I want more space to really create a full theater atmosphere for the kids,” Thistle told the commission.
With comprehensive theater and dance programs, enrollment at the studio has been booming, Thistle said. She opened in 2009 with about 25 students, and now hosts more than 200. Kids range from 2 to 18 years old, and classes, usually an hour long, accommodate between 10 and 12 students at a time. The studio is open Monday through Friday from 9 - 11 a.m. and 2 - 8 p.m.
Thistle said she’s not only seeing more students, but more dedicated students. They’re taking multiple classes, and the entryway in particular will help not only accommodate them as the come and go from classes, but provide a place for them to wait in between classes.
“It gives them a space,” she said, “to relax and put their stuff down."
Thistle said she is still working on the details about moving the Performing Arts Academy of Marin into the new downtown space.