From 'Barney and Friends' to dance studio owner

September 11, 2008 4:40:24 PM PDT
Not everyone can claim that one of their best friends is a six-foot, purple dinosaur, but Pia Hamilton can. Seventeen years ago, she joined the cast of "Barney and Friends" to make history on national television.

She is 26 years old now and a teacher who, two weeks ago, opened the Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center at 1234 South Michigan.

"Part of my work ethic comes from being on the show. I learned a lot of patience, a lot of determination and hard work through that, and I think that's one of the reasons I was able to open this studio," said Hamilton.

She spent four years with the show. After that, it was high school and Pepperdine University where she earned a bachelors degree in sports medicine.

"It was very exciting to me as a child, seeing her on TV, and working with her and studying with her at the same time its amazing," said Kathleen Turner, a student of Hamilton's.

"One thing I think she got from being in Barney, being in the business at such a young age, she knows what its like and she knows what the rest of us are going through trying to perform," said Buddy Reeder, dance student.

At one time, "Barney and Friends" was the most watched preschool series on PBS, with an audience of viewers in 20 countries on six continents.

"Sometimes I don't even think about all the success that I've had, but I'm very grateful for it and I just want to keep growing and keep working harder and make everything a success in my life," said Hamilton.

Pia can be reached at (312) 765-4755.


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