The University bookstore organized a storytelling event that featured dance as a center point Thursday afternoon. From toddlers to teenagers, everyone waited eagerly for the dancers to make an appearance.

Ballerinas from the Rochester City Ballet (RCB) Francesca Genovese and Lauren Petit, dressed in brightly colored tutus complete with pretty little ballet slippers, captivated  the youngsters.

RCB participates in a variety of outreach programs.

“We actually do stuff like this all the time,” said Genovese while describing her experience at the event.

Every year, before their annual holiday show, the dancers come to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Pittsford to read “The Nutcracker.” Over the years they have also done short performances in the bookstore.

In bigger ballet companies, the trainees and the apprentices have most of the responsibilities for community outreach, but it’s quite the contrary at RCB.

“Rochester City Ballet Company is a small one,” Genovese said. “So, the dancers are involved a great deal with the outreach.”

The mission of RCB is “to create inspiring, entertaining and educational experiences through the art of dance.”

One of those ways is achieved through an introduction to dance at an early age. The RCB members hold various after-school programs at the Rochester City School District.

They open their dress rehearsals of “The Nutcracker,” “Peter and the Wolf,” and “Cinderella” to students at the city public schools. Their outreach programs go on throughout the year.

In the upcoming month, RCB is organizing a fundraiser called “Princesses and Pirates,” a children’s event at their studio where kids can come and interact with the dancers.

The University’s bookstore hosts a variety of events throughout the school year and summer, too. According to event manager Francine McAndrew, the bookstore organizes about 100 events a year, including 40 to 50 solely for kids.

The ballet book-reading event was first of its kind, and the turnout was more than expected.

The UR Kinder Lab also organizes book-reading events at the bookstore. McAndrew has reached out to dance groups like Ballet Performance Group to have more student involvement in the bookstore.

“We love doing events. The more the better,” McAndrew said.

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