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Dancing queen: Studio makes a comeback after Sandy washout

Brooklyn Daily

A Mill Basin dance center that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy is ready for its second act.

Take a Bow dance center cut the ribbon on its brand-new E. 64th Street studio on Sept. 27, which opened just shy of a year after her previous venue was obliterated by Hurricane Sandy.

Take a Bow owner Carrie Daniels is quite pleased with the new digs.

“The space is very nice,” said Daniels. “We did a good job with it.”

Hurricane Sandy didn’t leave Daniels with much to work with after it struck last October — both flooding her studio and setting it ablaze.

“There was evidence of a fire,” she said. “At least the flood put it out.”

Her landlord wasn’t much help, leaving the space to languish behind an electronic gate — which wouldn’t open without power — until Daniels found a contractor who could get the gate open so she could pump out her studio and take account of the damage.

She wasn’t left with much.

“Everything was ruined,” said Daniels. “My studio was destroyed, a music room, my beautiful piano was gone, and the landlord just let the whole place go. Mold started growing, it was toxic down there.”

To make matters worse, Daniels’s insurance company denied her claims, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it wouldn’t provide assistance for her water-logged business. So she had to file for a Small Business Administration loan, which she described as a grueling and demoralizing process.

“Every time I thought I was finished, I was missing a tax form, or some certificate, so we started the loan process in November, and I had to shut down for over a month,” said Daniels. “I went into a funk not knowing what to do.”

More than a month passed without any classes, when Daniels found help from an unlikely source — Linda Abbate-Machato, who ran the nearby Horizons Dance Center.

“We moved into a competing dance school and shared half the studio,” said Daniels. “Linda’s an amazing person, and now we’re really good friends.”

Eventually, Daniels came upon the space on E. 64th Street and, even though her government loans were still pending, she was able to borrow money from friends and secure the lease.

Now it seems that everything is back in step for the dance instructor — enrollments are up, classes are on schedule, and her kids are on track for competitions in March next year.

“I’m exhausted,” said Daniels. “But I didn’t give up. It’s a beautiful studio, and everybody’s having a great time.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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