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Cinderella Ball held at Omni William Penn

"My dad took private lessons," laughed Mary Hoover as she was sequestered backstage with 19 other debutantes for the 86th presentation of the Cinderella Ball. "He had struggles, but he was definitely taking the lead today. He said, 'The things dads do for their daughters!'"

Another thing these dads did was escort their daughters into the ballroom of the Omni William Penn on Saturday for their official presentation to society during Pittsburgh's oldest fund-raiser and second longest-running deb ball in the United States.

As part of their commitment to the Ball, debutantes were required to do a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer hours within a six-month period at Animal Friends, this year's beneficiary. Leading the pack was Rachel Hellberg, who alone clocked in 114 hours.

A longstanding tradition in society, the Cinderella Ball affords young ladies the opportunity to carry the torch that has been passed to them by family members, including third-generation deb Emilie Lawson, second-generation debs Ann Bailey, cousins Caroline Hobbs and Mary Hobbs, and Anne Magovern.

Hours of rehearsing come down to a single evening, and most importantly, the dreaded curtsey, which has long been a bone of nervous contention for these young ladies to conquer. Pre-presentation, more than one groan could be heard echoing throughout the suite when asked what they were most nervous about.

Meanwhile, co-chairs Diane Waldman and Betsy Teti floated in to round up the likes of Danika Baum, Liesl Breuner, Audrey Buckman, Trinity Kronk, Molly McGregor, Julie Arnold, Madeleine Jayme and Meredith Jayme, Katerina Luttner, Clara M?ler, Tess Rosenbloom, Jamison Vernallis and Grace Wilson for the moment of truth. And, while the ladies were center stage for the evening, no Cinderella Ball would be complete without a Prince Charming; the big reveal introduced the room to Jeffrey Broad, whose first set of royal duties included crowning the 2012 Cinderella: Danika Baum.

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Cinderella Ball 2012

Cinderella Ball 2012

The 2012 Cinderella Ball at the Omni William Penn on Saturday, January 28, 2012.

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