Tag Archives: martial arts

Mayor Gabel-Luddy Honors Andre’s Martial Arts

On Saturday, December 15, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy honored Grandmaster Vincent J. Rodricks with a certificate of appreciation during a Christmas celebration at Andre’s Martial Arts, located inside the Burbank Town Center.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

During the Taekwondo studio’s annual Christmas party and belt ceremony, Mayor Gabel-Luddy presented the certificate, praising the masters’ for the positive impact they’ve had on the community. Following demonstrations, students and their parents watched as Grandmaster Rodricks was honored.

“You are all a real-life example of what happens when you maintain discipline, focus, humility, and practice. I want to congratulate all of you in your next steps,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

“The people who have the greatest humility are the most powerful. It doesn’t make sense but when you think about it it makes all the sense in the world. Thank you for your dedication to our community.”

Burbank Police Department Captain Denis J. Cremins was also in attendance and has returned for several years in a row.

Taylor Martinez (10) earned an orange belt with a green stripe. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

“I’ve known Grandmaster Rodrick for 7 years. I’ve seen the way he’s interacted with the kids and the families. He has a great deal of respect, and it builds a lot of character in the kids. The character building is the most important thing. He’s changed their lives in so many different ways,” said Captain Cremins.

After receiving the certificate, Grandmaster Rodricks presented a plaque, a representation of his appreciation to the Mayor, thanking her for the City’s support.

Earlier in the day’s session, students as young as 3-years-old broke wooden boards in half with a single kick, earning higher ranked belts for their hard work. Masters also demonstrated their skills by breaking cinderblocks in half.

Andre’s Martial Arts have a reputation of inclusivity, encouraging families with autistic children to become involved. One of the parents who helped organize the Christmas party’s potluck, Lori Nishida, has a teenage son with autism who has thrived under Grandmaster Rodricks’ instruction.

“Whenever kids come in, whether a child is little or has special needs, Vince would assign a kid to mentor that child, to show them the proper techniques for kicks,” said Nishida. “It’s been great, because then kids learn from a young age how to help each other, no matter what their abilities are.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)


As the masters volunteer their time and do not get paid, parents thought it would be a good opportunity to come together and buy a seasonal gift to show their appreciation. Each master was given a gift card to Starbucks.

Andre’s Martial Arts is located on the first floor of the Burbank Town Center at 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Ste. 140.

Media City Dance to Presents “Atlantis” in the Burroughs Auditorium

A fusion of classical ballet, martial arts and jazz will be showcased when Media City Dance takes center stage with “Atlantis” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, at John Burroughs Auditorium, 1920 W. Clark Ave.

Stephanie Pease, 25, who has been studying ballet for 19 years, is director/choreographer for this production based on the mysterious city on the lost island in the Atlantic Ocean. She will be collaborating with martial artist Grant Tovmasian and jazz choreographer Allen McCormick, who has choreographed for Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas.

Classical ballet sequences will be danced to music by Igor Stravinsky while the contemporary segments will be to music by Philip Glass.

Performing will be 70 dance students of the Media City Dance classical ballet studio ranging in age from 3 to 70.

This is the first time the school’s owner, Natasha Middleton, has delegated the director/choreographer role to someone else, said Pease, who came up with the idea for the show.

“I knew I wanted to do something really entertaining and it had to involve the students,” Pease said. “We have a fair amount of children in the school so I wanted [the production] to be something fantastical and fantasy-oriented. I actually visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach last year, which gave me the idea for ‘Atlantis.’ ”

The story is about a little boy and his older sister who works in the coal mines during the Industrial Revolution, Pease said. The sister reads them stories about Atlantis, an island that, according to lore, sunk in the Atlantic Ocean. The little brother goes off to find Atlantis, and the sister follows him.

Peter Yedgarian is dancing the role of Caleb. The 9-year-old, is a fourth-grader at Dunsmore Elementary School. He has been studying ballet for two years. He also likes to play soccer and video games.

Lauren Santia, who dances the role of Ali, is 12 years old and is an honor roll student at Laurel Hall. She is in the seventh grade. She has been studying with Kristine Gregorian, Natalya Shoaf and Tina Yedgarian.

Studio owner, Middleton, who is also artistic director of the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, asked Pease to direct and choreograph “Atlantis” because Middleton wanted to focus on the professional company’s August performance at the Ford Theatre.

Pease has been choreographing shows for the drama department at Taft High School and productions at a theater in North Hollywood.

“She has been with me as a student and teacher for many years,” Middleton said. “This is a chance for her to show her colors. She came up with the fun idea of going down into the city of Atlantis. We like to keep our shows original. That’s what sets us apart from everybody. Her show has all kinds of characters ~ a dragon, octopus and fish ~ so it should be lots of fun!”

Pease calls the chance to direct/choreograph the production a blessing.

“It has allowed me to further my career in choreography, and I have made it my goal to uphold the reputation of high quality productions the school is known for,” Pease said.