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Dania Bianchi

Stories by Dania

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Clothes call

Bringing Cirque du Soleil’s vibrant ‘Dralion’ costumes to the stage requires a wardrobe team that can think on its feet

It’s East meets West with a circus twist in downtown Albany for the final run of “Dralion.”

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Head for the Hills

Rensselaerville Cycling Festival lets riders experience the area’s beautiful scenery with events for all ages

Take a scenic course, add cyclists of all ages, mix in food and drinks of all kinds, cheerful spectators and top it off with live music, and you have a gran fondo.

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Unearthing a hidden talent

Delmar woman lets her creative side out and publishes her first book

Patricia Cleary of Delmar flirts a little with her own reality in a fictional life she created in her recent book, “Beneath the Roses.”

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Listen to Cassandra

Musical at Proctors inspired by Schenectady man’s own experience with the fickle dot-com bubble

In Greek mythology, when Cassandra, the princess of Troy who was had the gift of foresight, tried to warn the people that the city of Troy would be destroyed in the Trojan War, her dire predictions were ignored. A large wooden horse opened up one night and Spartan soldiers spilled out to attack the city.

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Game on

Celebration of Scottish heritage draws a growing crowd

A little corner of Altamont will be filled with all things Scottish when the sound of bagpipes and the site of cabers flying through the air take over the Altamont Fairgrounds on Labor Day weekend.

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Mabee, it’s time for a visit

Annual craft fair gives visitors a look into local history in Schenectady County

For more than a decade, the Schenectady County Historical Society has brought crafters, artisans and visitors to its historic site along the banks of the Mohawk River in Rotterdam Junction for the annual Mabee Farm Arts and Crafts Festival.

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Give a hoot

Festive fundraiser for owls will have a folksy flavor

What do you get when you combine owls and music? Well, a HOOTenanny of course.

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Family outing

African American cultural celebration at Empire State Plaza will feature entertainment and activities for all ages

The Empire State Plaza will come alive with a celebration of African American heritage on Saturday, Aug. 2, with African American Family Day scheduled from noon to 7 p.m.

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The search begins

Young scientists compete to see who can tell the best science tale

A large stage, four curious judges and 10 contestants with only three minutes to perform.

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Dragons and damsels

Landis Arboretum program will take people on a dragonfly hunt

Get an up close look at some unique insects during “Dragonflies and Damselflies,” on Saturday, July 19, at the Landis Arboretum. Anne Donnelly, dragonfly surveyor for the New York State Natural Heritage Program, will lead the afternoon "field trip."

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Off to the races

NYRA holds family-friendly open house as a kickoff to track season

Around this time every summer, the old Victorian houses that line Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs come alive, the restaurants on Broadway feel a little more full and people in large hats can be spotted all over the city. It’s summer in Saratoga, and it all begins with Saratoga Race Course’s annual open house on Sunday, July 13.

A Fourth among friends

Empire State Plaza hosts annual celebration with food, entertainment and, of course, fireworks

In 1870, Congress declared July Fourth an official federal holiday, but Americans were celebrating with bells, music and military displays dating back to the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

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Local movement

Exhibit highlights the ways canals and railroads made history in New York

Advances in technology change the way we live, and life in the 18th century was no exception when tracks were laid, creating a new path for change across New York state.

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The nerve

Annual battle of the bands at Tawasentha Park in Guilderland raises money to aid humanitarian efforts in Africa

In 1985, 44 artists came together to help fight disease and famine in Africa with the single, “We Are the World.” On Friday, music will once again be used as a way to raise money for efforts in Africa, except this time the performers are area teenagers.

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All keyed up

Albany BID launches interactive ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ Sculpture in the Streets exhibit

Pianos are not typically found along Albany’s streets, but 13 fully functional pianos have popped up recently throughout the Central Business District of Albany, and they’re not just for decoration but for anyone to sit down and play.

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Seeking answers

Albany women host talk at Bethlehem Public Library discussing the existence of extraterrestrials

Seventeen years ago, when thousands of people reported seeing strange lights in the sky spanning the size of a football field over Phoenix, Ariz., the U.S. Air Force concluded the lights were from A-10 aircraft dropping flares over a military bombing range. Some however, didn’t buy it.

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Go for the gross

New miSci exhibit shows people the ins and outs of the human body

For those who have ever wondered why there are hairs inside the nose or how a belch and other gas is produced in the human body, here’s the chance to find out.

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Contemporary sounds

American Music Festival exposes listeners to modern-day composers

Can you imagine enjoying a sandwich with Ludwig Van Beethoven or listening on with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as they rehearse “The Magic Flute”? Unfortunately it’s about 200 years too late for that, but now is your chance to interact with some of tomorrow’s greatest composers.

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Next stop: Neverland

Voorheesville fifth-graders to perform ‘Peter Pan Jr.’

Peter Pan may not want to go to school, but the fifth-graders at Voorheesville Elementary School are eager to get there each day to practice their lines for their upcoming show, “Peter Pan Jr.”

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Not just a family affair

The live version of ‘Family Feud’ promises the same antics and energy as the TV show

Game show fanatics who have always wanted the chance to answer “the number one question on the board” are in luck. The popular TV game show “Family Feud” in its live version, will take over the Palace Theatre on Friday, May 2.

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Ladies night

Saratoga Mom Prom lets women relive those magic moments of proms past while raising money for charity

While teens all over the Capital District are preparing for their high school proms, women of all ages have found a reason to relive their own prom memories and squeeze into their old satin and sequin-covered dresses for charity.

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Shell shocked

Young and old are often surprised at what they learn at Troy’s Discovery Hall’s ‘Jewels of the Sea’ exhibit

Tucked between two walls on Second Street in Troy exists a little taste of nature. It is here where collector and curator, Ron Glasser keeps his collection of more than 1,000 seashells from all over the world.

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Fighting words

Skidmore students stage play based on collected war letters

In a time of instant communication, distant human interaction is often accomplished by way of tweets or texts. The act of using a pen and paper is rare these days, still nothing captures a moment like a personal letter, especially a war letter.

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From STEM to stage

Tech Valley High students are the driving force behind the staging of ‘Mulan’

When most people think about Tech Valley High School, they think about students studying science, technology, engineering and math. While this is true, it’s not just STEM learning that is going on at the TVHS campus in Rensselaer.

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Local flavor

Taste of Ballston Spa is a palate-pleaser and a major fundraiser for school foundation

When school budgets aren’t enough, the key to filling the gap is apparently through the stomach.

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A musical journey

Danú tells the stories of Ireland through traditional and contemporary song

Though many folks may choose to celebrate their Irish roots with beer and corned beef at a local pub on St. Patrick’s Day, authentic Irishness can be found in a different place this year.

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Expo is out of this world

Free event at Empire State Plaza features cool costumed characters, live shows, vendors and more

The Blums are the typical American family ... two kids, jobs and a house in Upstate New York. That is, until the weekend comes and the family transforms into the bad guys from “Star Wars.”

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A midwinter’s garden

New York in Bloom gives museum displays a floral touch

Gazing into one of David Michael Schmidt’s floral displays is like stepping into another world, one of fantasy and surrealism, and Schmidt doesn’t hold back when he adds his lavish storytelling display to the New York State Museum’s annual flower show.

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Time for tea

The Victorian era sets the scene for living history presentation

Sue McLane was born in a time of poodle skirts, bobby socks and beehive hairdos, but one look at her and you would think she just stepped off the Titanic.

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Raising the bar

The Roaring ’20s sets the scene at the 17th annual Bartenders’ Ball, which this year will benefit the domestic violence shelter

Similar to today, the 1920s were a time of dramatic social change. Technological progress brought about a rapid shift in lifestyle, with perhaps the most iconic of its time being the flappers. The Roaring ’20s era of jazz, hats and canes was no stranger to the Capital District, and one group is bringing that era back for one night — flappers and all.

The write stuff

Visiting Writers Series lets authors and their audiences mingle

A local blogger has just reported a serial killer is on the loose in the city of Albany. The first two victims were local young women without any apparent connection, and the third is a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen.”

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The wings of winter

Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center event highlights birds that don’t fly south when the weather gets cold

While many people think most, if not all birds fly south for the winter, all you have to do is take a look out the window and see that quite a few feathered friends have hung around the Capital District through the snow and bitter cold.

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A spirited soiree

In its fifth year, Wine & Dine for the Arts supports the arts one culinary masterpiece at a time

It is a no secret that New York City, Montreal and Boston all have their share of famous restaurants, theaters and entertainment hotspots, but what some people don’t realize is that those same very things can be found right here in our own backyard.

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Ice dreams

Disney celebrates 100 years with skating extravaganza at Times Union Center

According to Walt Disney, anything is possible if you just believe, and that may not be far from the truth as one of the stars from Disney on Ice’s latest show to hit the Times Union Center explains.

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Home for the holidays

Holiday traditions may have been a little different in the late 1700s when the iconic Ten Broeck Mansion was built atop an Albany hill, but more than 200 years later, the historic home continues to welcome visitors for the holidays.

A model holiday

Train exhibit at miSci an intergenerational favorite

Trains and the holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is just something about the sound of a train chugging around the base of an evergreen that brings people back to a simpler time.

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It’s a small world

Nano Family Fun Day exposes young minds to tiny technology that has a big impact

Explaining the concept of nanotechnology can be a complex and potentially boring lesson for a group of elementary-aged kids.

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A mermaid's tale

V’ville middle schoolers’ latest production is a team effort

Auditions for this year’s middle school production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” began in early September when 60 students showed up to sing and read lines. By the end of the audition, 60 students remained.

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Home of the brave

Maple Ski Ridge’s Fall Festival supports oncology camp for women

The purpose of any support group is for people who are in the same situation to get together and share their coping strategies in an effort to not feel alone. One cancer support group is taking it a step further and changing lives in the process.

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Festival’s secret ingredient is community

Agudat Achim’s carrot festival has grown to an annual rite of fall

In Niskayuna, an orange vegetable marks the beginning of the fall season, and it’s not the pumpkin.

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Learning a lifelong adventure at Bethlehem HILL

Institute dedicated to providing college-level courses celebrates 20th anniversary

The Humanities Institute for Lifelong Learning, or HILL, in Delmar, was founded in 1993 to enhance lifelong learning opportunities for the adult community in the Capital District.

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Up, up and away

40th Adirondack Balloon Festival has something for everyone

The Adirondack Balloon Festival began in 1972 in an effort to bring tourists to the area after Labor Day.

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All hands on deck

Tugboat Roundup draws tens of thousands for a celebration of Erie Canal

This coming weekend, one by one, dozens of tugboats will parade 12 miles from the Port of Albany down the Hudson River before coming to a stop in Waterford to find their docking spots in the 14th annual Tugboat Roundup.

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Let the games begin

Caber tossing, pipes and culture on tap at Scottish Games

The hills of Altamont will come alive with the sounds of bagpipes on Saturday when The Scottish Games, a two-day festival and celebration of all things Scottish, begins.

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A rodeo way of life

On summer weekends, the Double M in Ballston Spa feels a lot like the Wild West

Step through the gates at the Double M Rodeo in Ballston Spa on any Friday or Saturday evening in July and August and you will feel like you stepped into the Wild West.

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Let Freedom (Park) ring

Long running free concert series remains hot spot for family summer entertainment

What began as a dumping ground for cement and construction materials along the Mohawk River, Freedom Park was transformed into an amphitheater for a festival when Schenectady County was selected as one of 32 statewide locations to host the Bicentennial Barge for four days in July of 1976.

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Trail days become nights

Second Fairy Tales and Fireflies event highlights Rail Trail

Summer has begun in the Capital District, and The Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy is ready to make it official with its second Fairy Tales and Fireflies event on Thursday, June 20.

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This city wants you!

Uncle Sam heritage to be celebrated in Troy on Saturday

Though he wasn’t widely recognized until long after his death, a well-known meat packer from the City of Troy is the pride and joy of Trojans today.

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Fun Run with a serious goal

Race geared towards kids raises money for local pediatric care

As a Saratoga Springs business owner, Ames felt she had a tool to help give back to the community, and in 2008 put together the first Cantina Kids Fun Run, a run designed from start to finish with kids in mind.

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Chalk it up to Albany

Central Avenue BID, Equinox hold sidewalk art contest to coincide with Tulip Fest

Each spring, thousands of tulips take over downtown Albany. The appearance of the flowers mark the beginning of spring in the city and have a way of bringing a feeling of renewal to Albany each year.

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