David Carson is a banker who is really on his toes.

The 62-year-old chairman of People's Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., and former chairman of America's Community Bankers has spent years waltzing through sensitive political debates and leading his bank through New England's economic tap dance.

But his best step is ballet.

Since 1988 Mr. Carson has performed five times with the Connecticut Ballet Theatre, and he's set to hit the stage this weekend as the Duke of Edinburgh in "La Belle Otero," a ballet written by the troupe's artistic director, Brett Raphael.

Mr. Carson took up ballet at the behest of a People's Bank vice president, who was also a member of the theater's board of directors and thought the appearance of Mr. Carson would provide needed publicity.

Instead of trading in his tights after playing the Duke of Courland in "Giselle," Mr. Carson stuck with it, performing in ensuing years as King Floresan in "Sleeping Beauty," the Bergermeister in "Coppelia," and the Duke of Edinburgh in "Bonjour Madame," an earlier version of "La Belle Otero."

"I think seeing creative people in a wholly different environment has been helpful to broadening my experience in life," Mr. Carson said. "It's helped me understand reinforcing the good that people do and not accentuating the negatives."

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Wondering what banking is like in the former Soviet Union? Ask Peter Homenick.

The senior vice president of Republic National Bank of Arizona left his home in Phoenix to spend part of the winter in Kharkov, Ukraine, conducting seminars for Ukrainian bankers about marketing and credit evaluation.

Mr. Homenick and three other bankers went to the former Soviet republic at the behest of the National Bank of Ukraine.

As many as 80 people attended the seminars, representing seven or eight banks, the national bank, a banking college, and two universities.

Mr. Homenick said all of the bankers were highly educated in economics and mathematics, but had "no real-world interaction as to what the information in the books really meant."

"The circumstances of our bank being a small, locally owned bank with limited resources was probably not a whole lot different than some of the financial institutions that we dealt with there," he said.

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