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Pope Francis to Get a Taste of Osage History Through Ballet While Visiting PA

The Osage Ballet has been invited to perform in Philadelphia, PA during Pope Francis' visit in September—they are raising money to get there.
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Pope Francis is scheduled to attend a performance by the Osage Ballet during his visit to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next month.

On September 26, the ballet group will perform the prayer scene from “Wahzhazhe an Osage Ballet,” which tells the history of the Osage people through dance, at the Festival of Families at Logan Square. A crowd of 700,000 is expected to attend the event.

Courtesy Jennifer Bettinger

The Osage Ballet has been invited to perform in Philadelphia during Pope Francis' visit.

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To get to the event, ballet director Randy Tinker Smith is raising funds through a GoFundMe page so the group of 11 cast members plus parents, staff, crew, and singers can charter a bus, and rent rooms. The expected cost for all 27 participants is over $39,000.

“I sought to continue the legacy of two Osage women: the late Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief, and her sister, Marjorie Tallchief. Following the path paved by them, by telling the story of the Osage people through ballet seemed natural,” Smith said in a press release announcing the event.

RELATED: A Look at the Life of Osage Ballerina Maria Tallchief

According to the release, the Osage have a long history with the Catholic Church first documented in 1673 when they met Father Jacques Marquette. It was soon after this that the Jesuit Priests, called “black robes” by the Osage, arrived. The Osage Nation is headquartered in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, which has the only Catholic Church in the world with stained glass windows depicting Jesuit Priests meeting the Osage people and evangelizing to them.