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Pittsburgh's Heart Ball pulses to a flamenco beat

| Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Honorees Ronald Pellegrini and Lori Masssaro at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Susan Koeppen in a hot pink lace gown at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Kathy O'Brien at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Monica Dua in a custom-made dress from New Delhi, India at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Linda Valenzi in a white gown with metallic detailing at the 2013 Pittsburgh Heart Ball at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

Given the Corazon de Fuego theme of the American Heart Association's Heart Ball on Saturday, it felt only right that, at some point, the gauntlet would be thrown down as a challenge for guests to flamenco their way onto the dance floor.

“Get out there,” Bob Pompeani instructed his captive audience of 875 as he emceed the evening with Susan Koeppen.

Not many takers in the crowd at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, although they were willing to show off some bold moves in the fashion department.

“My husband said, ‘Are you really going to wear that feather thing?' and I said, ‘Yes, yes I am!'” commented Mariah Klinefelter of her whimsical fascinator of red and gold.

Elsewhere, red trumped all, led by an elegant lace stunner from Kathleen O'Brien (her husband, Morgan, was the honorary chair), while Linda Valenzi (with Larry Michalski) opted for an elegant white off-the-shoulder gown with gold accents.

Inside the ballroom, scarlet curtains parted to reveal a seductive atmosphere apropos of the evening, thanks to Shelly Tolo with a floral assist from Hens and Chicks. “Very much the flamenco feel,” she offered, while Jon Banuelos serenaded with his Spanish guitar.

Amongst the 900 guests in the crowd were Mary Ann Scully Excellence in Nursing awardee Lori Massaro, and Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh awardee Dr.Ronald Pellegrini, Drs. Srinivas Murali and Marie Baldisseri, Dr. George Magovern Jr., with Jamie, Dr.Donald Fischer and the Hon. Nora Barry Fischer, Jill and Bob Sandilla, Rick andLinda Shaw, Sherri Stitt, Charlie andLatasha Batch, Bob and Leslie Nutting, Kim and Curt Fleming, Nicole Sapio, Debbie Frick-Watts and Amy Heinl.

The ball raised a whopping $1.3 million.

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