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Fort Wayne Ballet goes casual with beer and barbecue

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Step up to the BarreBQ

What: Fort Wayne Ballet Beer and BarreBQ fundraiser
When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main St.
Cost: $50 per person or $35 for the designated driver. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling 484-9646.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 12:01 am

Barbecue stains on tutus. Bubbles from beer taps by the barre.

Typically, you don't find Fort Wayne Ballet dancers surrounded by beer and barbecue, but that's exactly what you'll see at the ballet's next fundraising event.

The ballet will host the first Beer and BarreBQ from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main St. Tickets are $50 per person or $35 for the designated driver.

“We really wanted to create a unique fundraiser in Fort Wayne that would set us apart as an arts organization,” said Christy Sandmaier, ballet director of administration. “It's not your traditional gala or ball. It's a lot more casual. It's all-you-can-eat barbecue and beer tastings all night long.”

Playing off the barre aspect of dance, organizers decided to incorporate that into the name of the event because the barre represents an important part of the dance process and is a way that dancers learn technique and positioning. Fort Wayne Ballet dance programs serve more than 400 students.

While folks guzzle down the local ale and lick barbecue sauce off their fingertips, dancers will weave in and out of the crowd showing off both contemporary and classical routines.

“We will have some pop-up dances with the ballet dancers throughout the evening,” Sandmaier said. “It's just a fun, casual event to raise money for scholarships and programs.”

Guests will be able to taste as many beers as they would like paired with food from local restaurants.

Event partners include Mad Anthony Brewing Company, Shigs in Pit, Red Rok BBQ and Bourbon Saloon, Catablu Grille, Blue Stack Smokehouse, Courtney's Bakery, Club Soda, and more.

There will be offerings for folks not interested in barbecue, including some vegetarian options.

All proceeds from the event benefit the ballet's programs and students. People are encouraged to purchase tickets beforehand, but guests are also welcome at the door the day of the event.