Big turnout for Dance Theater shoe fund-raiser

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It was a dark and rainy night, but that didn’t deter women from around the Pittsburgh area from showing up for a shoe sale.

The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy Theater converted its ground floor studio into a makeshift shoe store for one night of shopping to raise money for DAT’s education director, Greer Reed Jones’ own dance company, the August Wilson Dance Ensemble (formerly Greer Reed Dance).

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SHOES— Greer Reed-Jones, artistic director of AW Dance and Amy Lewis owner of My Shoe Girl at the fund-raiser.

“I think it’s a good way to get together for a good cause,” said DAT managing director, Susan Sparks, who donated earrings she designed, which sold for $15 a pair.

Reed-Jones, one of many local artists invited to apply about a year ago, was awarded a fellowship by the August Wilson Center. Her challenge was to create her own dance company, so Greer Reed Dance became the August Wilson Dance Ensemble. Although the company currently rehearses in DAT’s studios, Reed-Jones would like the August Wilson center to be viewed as the company’s “home,” she said in a recent interview.

“The theme for Dance Alloy this year is ‘Alloy Open,’” said Abigail Fudor, DAT’s marketing director, of the company’s decision to host the fund-raiser and offer their studios for the ensemble’s rehearsals. “We want to open our doors and provide a venue for small companies in the spirit of collaboration and giving back and helping out.”

The shoes for the evening’s event were provided by Amy Lewis, founder of The Shoe Girl, a home-based business in Wexford. Lewis was invited by her friend and DAT bookkeeper, Kathy Mahoney.

“She asked if I wanted to do an event and donate the proceeds and I said, sure,” Lewis said. Ten percent of the night’s proceeds went to benefit Reed-Jones’ dance ensemble. “I was a dancer as a child,” said Lewis, “but anything I can do to give back to the community I’ll do.”

Personal friends and DAT patrons like former DAT director and dancer, Susan Gillis Kruman and her daughter, Meagan, received invitations via e-mail blast. They were treated to wine and cheese and crackers as they tried on flip-flops and summer sandals, which were selling for half price, as well as selections from Lewis’ fall collection. Stylish boots, pumps and some colorful children’s selections were on display in a shoe warehouse fashion around the perimeter of the studio. Reed-Jones’ mother, Gilberta Reed, bought three pairs of shoes and a pair of sparkling house slippers in support of her daughter’s cause.

“What better than for ladies to get together with shoes, some wine and cheese and some jewelry…and all for a good cause,” said Sparks.

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