The Academy of International Ballet Classique in Media, Pennsylvania, collected dance supplies to send to the Iraqi Music and Ballet School in Baghdad with the help of U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak (D-PA) and the Media Post Office.
More than $60,000 of new and used ballet donations — including toe shoes, ballet slippers, tights, body wraps, leotards and classical ballet DVDs — filled 31 boxes that have been shipped to the last remaining school of classical ballet in Iraq.
Congressman Joseph Sestak (D-PA) talks with two Academy of International Ballet Classique students at the Media, PA, Post Office where ballet supplies were mailed to Iraq.
"This is a wonderful project and one that we hope will go a long way towards helping promote the arts in an area of the world that has been devastated by war," said Media Postmaster Ray Carlucci. "I’m happy that we could help."
Sestak supported the project by enlisting the US Embassy in Iraq to receive and coordinate delivery of the supplies. The congressman also was on hand when the first 10 packages were mailed.
"It’s nice to see that we can do something culturally for the people of Iraq," said Sestak.
Josie Singer, the executive director of the academy, said the idea to send supplies came from academy board members who wanted to help the struggling school. They contacted Sestak so he could help ensure delivery of the items to their rightful location.
Singer said the donations came from large organizations, small businesses and many individuals. "The arts can really bridge cultures," she said. "It is through the arts that we can become one."