Southwest Virginia Ballet Set to Pirouette in Prague

SVB Dancers catered to visiting young ballerinas at the Bubblecake Bake Shop.

by Cheryl Hodges

As if the idea of the Southwest Virginia Ballet linking arms with Bubblecake Bake Shop for a fundraiser on Crystal Spring Avenue isn’t charming enough, when the day came for the event featuring Cinderella—in person—dawned, it was all blue sky and sunshine after days of tempestuous weather.

Sparkly crowns, little tutus, and golden star wands made for a real-life fairy tale experience for the little girls that came to meet Cinderella, her Fairy Godmother and a group of SVB dancers who were on hand to make the young visitors feel extra special, as mothers and grandmothers looked on.

The event, organized by Bubblecake’s owner Lisa Lusk, and Pedro Szalay, Artistic Director at SVB, helped raise funds for twelve of the group’s senior dancers who will be travelling to Prague this summer to perform in the Prague Dance Festival.

“We will be sharing our knowledge of dance with people from other countries like India and Japan,” said Szalay. “We will be performing both classical and modern dance.”  They are scheduled to put on three performances while there – each different pieces.

According to Szalay, “this is the first time these dancers will be going on a trip like this, and the first time for our organization. We will be representing Southwest Virginia and America.”

The young visitors to Bubblecake could buy a handmade crown, tutu, a small cupcake, or even have their hair done. Photographer Dan McDilda was on hand for those that wanted their picture taken with Cinderella (Bria Gepitulan) and the Fairy Godmother (Molly Cook). Tiny ballerinas as young as one or two toddled around, drawn to the sparkle and extra attention.  Young sisters Taylor and Fallon Davis both opted for the gold sparkly wand along with a tutu for their mementos.

For Maureen Noftsinger and her daughter Mary Alex, their presence was serendipity. Noftsinger said, “We were up at the zoo and wanted to stop by Bubblecake” and came upon the event. She said they recognized many of the dancers from attending previous performances. Mary Alex was a little shy as she posed for a photo with her new “princess crown.”

Szalay was clearly pleased with the day’s turnout, and passionate about the SVB, saying, “Our organization differs from other dance schools – we work to reinforce dance opportunities professionally.  Many of our dancers can go to a professional dance company” when they graduate. One is heading to the National Ballet of Canada, and many SVB dancers either major or minor in dance at college. The Prague Festival will be an experience of a lifetime for the young dancers and the organization.

The SVB will be performing “Cinderella” at the Roanoke Performing Arts Center on Saturday April 2 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday April 3 at 3:00 p.m.

For tickets, or more information visit