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Rosa Parks, 'Mary Poppins' in ballet

March is Women's History Month, and the Amherst Youth Ballet is putting on a performance to celebrate the achievements of famous women.

This Sunday's show will feature the history behind Isadora Duncan, Susan B. Anthony, Sacajawea, Rosa Parks and Annie Oakley. Along with the "Great American Women" section of the performance, the second half of the show will present clips from "Mary Poppins." Maris Battaglia, the director of the ballet, said that she likes to incorporate classical pieces and a youthful section in order to appeal to all.

The Amherst Youth Ballet was founded in 2001. Sunday's performance will include 67 dancers, ages 12 to 18.

In the "Mary Poppins" section, the two leads are played by Michaela Gould, 18, and Kyle Torres-Hiyoshi, 15. They are both very excited to be in this year's performance. "It's really fun to be a part of the show," Michaela said, "The first half is serious and dramatic, while the 'Mary Poppins' section is very happy."

Along with dancing in the performance, Michaela and Kyle will fly on the stage with effects by Flying By Foy. "I am really afraid of heights," Kyle said.

Battaglia said that the "Mary Poppins" piece is one of her favorite numbers she has ever choreographed. "I feel like a kid again; I'm having so much fun. I guarantee that everyone will leave with a smile on their face," she said.

Natalie Foster is a sophomore at Williamsville East High School

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The Amherst Youth Ballet will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday on the main stage of the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. Tickets are available at the UB box office for $17 and at the American Academy of Ballet for $15. (688-4774)

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