Documenting Dance and Diversity

by Gina Catanzrite, Teen Writer!, Director

As Luminari embarks on its second decade of operation, we continue, with great enthusiasm, our mission to present mind-broadening summer programs to help young people build better teamwork, self-sufficiency, and problem-solving skills; stronger communication skills; everyday diplomacy; and civility. Our goal has always been to create a “ripple effect” of positive change to affect our community and beyond and one of the ways we accomplish that mission is to engage experts from the community –  luminaries, if you will — to shine a light on important topics and inspire others with their work.

Our camp instructors and guest presenters value knowledge, education, and open-mindedness, and advocate that actions be guided by compassion and kindness towards each other and a willingness to create inclusive and diverse spaces where everyone can thrive. These are not just tenets they talk about in our camps each summer; our instructors live those values every day of the year!

Two of our Luminari team members proved that with a short film they produced for WQED Multimedia, Pittsburgh’s public television station, as part of its recognition of Black History Month. Gina Catanzarite, camp director of our popular Teen Writer! camp wrote and produced the 11-minute film, titled En Pointe: Black Dancers, Black History.  Our 2019 multimedia fellow Ash Warren served as photographer and assistant editor on the film.

En Point explores ballet and stereotypes that still exist today. Author & dance historian Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild recently visited Point Park University, home of the well-respected Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA), to discuss her book, “Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina.” The film also meets diverse students as they train at COPA, and spotlights how these young dancers of color are shattering stereotypes and shaping the future of dance.

The short film is available to watch on Facebook:


Gina Catanzarite, owner/operator of Arania Productions, and an award-winning television producer, author, media consultant and teacher who has worked both nationally and locally in her fields since 1987.