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http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/animal-care-and-con

Verbatim: ‘Muttcracker' dogs all get homes

Statement issued Thursday:

Fort Wayne, Indiana – The partnership between Fort Wayne Ballet and Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control was unique to say the least, with 13 special "muttcrackers" sharing the stage with the talented dancers of Fort Wayne Ballet and the community. But the ploy was more than just a cute twist to an annual tradition – it also provided a means to educate the community about the plight of homeless animals and provide awareness of how the problem can be solved. With all of the dogs featured in The Nutcracker adopted by December 20 (only one week after the final curtain fell on the 2010 performances) and already in new homes, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control considers this year's event a huge success. In addition to the adoptions themselves, many of which came as a direct result of the exposure on stage at The Nutcracker, Adoption Supervisor Allison Miller has seen other benefits, as well.

"I do believe that The Nutcracker has brought more foot traffic through our Adoption Center. I have heard several of our adoption visitors state that they were either at a Nutcracker performance or heard about our animals from someone who was at The Nutcracker — and that is why they decided to come here to look for a pet versus going to a pet store. This makes me very happy!"

Karen Gibbons-Brown, Artistic/Executive Director of Fort Wayne Ballet, had hoped to see these results and is now looking ahead to sharing this success with other organizations.

"Part of our obligation is to give back to the community, and we teach that to our young people at Fort Wayne Ballet. We teach them to be servant leaders beyond just what they learn through classes and performances, and we encourage them to engage in the community. We do it every year with our coat and mitten drive, and we did it this year with Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control. We want to be one of the leaders in our community, and part of that hope is to not only affect change today but to affect it tomorrow, as well."

With only three months until the spring collaboration with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Coppelia, and the Youth Company performances of Madeline, Fort Wayne Ballet continues to provide the Fort Wayne area with professional productions and the renowned class instruction provided by Academy of Fort Wayne Ballet. But only nine short months remain until auditions for the 2011 production of The Nutcracker, and Karen Gibbons-Brown is already thinking about what might be possible in the years ahead.

"We belong to a trendsetting community, and we want to do our part to be a catalyst for change. We did that in the spring with our trading cards with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and Indiana & Michigan Power linemen, and we were happy to do it again with Animal Care & Control. It worked well for us, it worked well for them, but most of all it worked for the homeless animals we were able to help – and we're looking at ways to expand that beyond Fort Wayne."

About Fort Wayne Ballet:

Fort Wayne Ballet is a nationally-recognized and critically-acclaimed dance academy and performing arts organization that originated in 1956 through the vision and empowerment of community vision. As its mission, the Ballet works "to inspire and nurture an appreciation for the art of dance through educational excellence, artistic achievement, performance experience and outreach activities." The organization operates the Academy that offers multiple levels of dance instruction, annually performs three main stage public events, and performs a variety of dance offerings in venues throughout the northeast Indiana community.

Fort Wayne Ballet is a funded member of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne and is funded in part by the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. More information is available at www.fortwayneballet.org.

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