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Penn Hills Library working to give an education in ballet

Penn Hills Progress
Above, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers Christine Schwaner and Nurlan Abougaliev. LOIS GREENFIELD PHOTO

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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Girls growing up today have more employment options open to them compared to even three decades ago. But that doesn't mean “princess” and “ballerina” have disappeared as career options, especially for younger girls.

For those aspiring to both careers, the Penn Hills library is offering a chance to learn more, by joining in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Allegheny County Library Association's “Library Matinee at the Ballet” on April 20.

What is it?

Participating libraries are offering tickets to families with children age 5 and older to enjoy a day at the ballet which will include interaction with members of the dance company, a backstage makeup tour and a performance of “Cinderella.”

How did it get started?

The Allegheny County Library Association, or ACLA, has had success in the past organizing a similar “Library Night” at PNC Park for a Pirates baseball game.

“I met informally with (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Education Director) Alyssa Herzog Melby to discuss what we were doing at each of our organizations … and thought it might work to do a ‘Library Night' at the ballet,” said ACLA Youth Services Coordinator Kristin Rama.

Melby said the ballet and ACLA have been working together for about a year “on ways in which we can collaborate to bring the ballet to the community and also bring the community to the ballet.”

The details

The “Family Pointe” program begins an hour before the ballet performance, and participants will learn about the makeup used in “Cinderella,” which mimics the style seen in 18th-century France, the setting in which the ballet takes place.

After the performance, Melby said she hopes to have several dancers available to meet with participants and talk about the show.

When is it?

The special program will take place April 20 at the Benedum Center, located at 803 Liberty Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh.

The “Family Pointe” program will take place at 1 p.m., with the ballet at 2 p.m. and the meet-and-greet immediately after.

Tickets are available through the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills, located at 1037 Stotler Road, and must be purchased by March 11.

For more information, call Mary Ann Zeak at 412-795-3507.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@

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