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Former Ballerina is Still on Pointe at Kittay House
From the age of four and for the next 16 years of her young life, Kittay tenant Lina DeMauro intensely studied and practiced ballet. Her dedication and hard work was recognized by the Metropolitan Opera’s Corps de Ballet, and she became its featured dancer in the mid-1940s. Known by her stage name, Lina Duse, she went on to perform as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, and with dance troupes around the globe. Now at the age of 91, she is still sharing her talents with her peers.
“I nearly knocked everyone’s eyes out when I got up to dance at our Wednesday night Happy Hour social,” says Lina. “My Kittay community didn’t know about my former career. Clearly I still have the moves.”
Lina and her husband where childhood sweethearts. They met in dance class when she was five and he was six years old. He used to pull her hair and make her cry. Apparently he grew out of his school-boy crush antics and into the love of her life. They were together for seventy years before he passed away.
“Without my Bill, I was just too lonely living alone. All my friends moved away, and I had nothing in common with the new people moving in.”
Lina has been at Kittay for nearly three months and couldn’t be happier. “Everyone is so friendly. The people who serve my meals, the elevator operators, and all the staff are just made from a special cloth of loving smiles and caring ways.”
Lina attends many of the entertainment programs and participates in Kittay’s Book Club, but an important part of her weekly routine is donning her ballet slippers. Transforming the hallway into a makeshift dance studio, Lina uses the safety rails as her dance bar, and does a stretching routine.
“My ballet shoes and dance will always be a special part of my life.”