PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many events are being held across Pittsburgh to celebrate survivors and remember those who lost the battle.
On Tuesday, three local companies worked together to bring attention to the disease in a unique way.
“We were approached by Christine Tumpson with Whirl Magazine and the ballet asking if they might be able to utilize this venue to do this,” said Bob Page, of the Omni William Penn Hotel. “We were, obviously, thrilled to be able to provide it for such a great cause.”
The cause – to raise awareness of cancer through social media using dancers with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s school.
They held a pop-up performance in the cleared out lobby of the hotel during lunchtime in Downtown Pittsburgh.
“It was inspired by Christine Tumpson who came to us and wanted to dedicate something to cancer survivors and people who were struggling with living with cancer,” says Marjorie Grundvig, the director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre school.
Tumpson, the editorial director of Whirl Magazine, is the force behind the “Cancer Warrior” event. Her mission is to make Pittsburghers more aware of the disease.
Her inspiration comes from something very personal.
“In the past eight years, I’ve had 10 girlfriends affected by cancer and three who are fighting now, seven who have lost their battle. So, I’m driven by sadness and jumping for joy,” she says.
The event also hits close to home for one of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre school dancers.
“Cancer is a very personal thing for many people. I know it has touched my family and I know it has touched hundreds of other families,” said dancer Annie Martin. “It’s really important for me to be able to do a performance that raises awareness about this cause and gives back to the community.”
There were 29 dancers who performed four different pieces, ranging from the “West Side Story” dance hall scene to classical ballet.
“I think art in general allows people to be expressive and people who are watching it to find something that they relate to that allows emotions to be free,” says Grundvig.