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Osage Ballet’s Performance at the Festival of Families

The Osage Ballet performed at the 2015 Festival of Families on Saturday evening around 7 p.m. at Logan Square in Philadelphia, PA. Pope Francis arrived at Logan Square at approximately the same time as the Osage Ballet’s performance.

According to Randy Tinker Smith, the Osage Ballet Director, the Pope appeared at Logan Square approximately five minutes before the Osage Ballet began.

“Osages were setting their chairs around the drum as he rounded the corner. They were all on stage as the popemobile passed by the stage,” Smith said.

Smith said: “Osage staff recorded the Pope as he passed. As he traveled on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, around Logan Square, the audience members ran across the grassy hill to wave and catch a second glimpse. About one minute later, the Osage Ballet began their performance. As the audience members heard the drum start, they migrated quickly back to the stage with excitement. Some members even exclaimed ‘I hear a drum beating!’”

Smith said, “I felt that the timing of the Pope’s arrival just prior to the performance of the Osage Ballet, graced the Osages, blessing them as they went into performance of their opening scene praying to Wakonda (Creator).”

She described the scene: “We were on a lit stage above the crowd and we waved to the Pope,” Smith said.

“Pope Francis gave us a return wave and it was a very exciting moment. We then began the ‘Prayer’ scene from our ballet. With the first beat of our drum, a huge crowd of people left the road where they had lined up to see His Holiness, and began running to our stage. It was an amazing moment to experience on a global stage. Our performers were magnificent!”

Soon, the Pope took his place on the main stage.

“We were close enough to record his arrival. We were honored to be allowed this close access to the Pope and to be among the Festival of Families performers during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia,” Smith added.

The dancers performed the prayer scene from Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, accompanied by the drum and nine Osage singers. The group, traveling by charter bus, began their return trip Sun., Sept. 27, and arrived in Pawhuska, Okla., on the evening of Sept. 28.

Visit the Osage Ballet Facebook page for photos from the performance, and news of 2016 performances in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

OsageBallet@FestivalofFamilies