BY TOM LAVIS
A winter of hard work is about to pay off for members of Johnstown Concert Ballet.
The company’s spring production will be presented at 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 27 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Richland Township.
“We always do something different from ‘The Nutcracker,’ ” said Carla Prucnal, the dance company’s artistic director. “We try to give our dancers something they normally wouldn’t tackle.”
The company is presenting two shows because Prucnal believes the students should have an opportunity to demonstrate their talents more than once.
“They work extremely hard on these difficult dances,” she said. “The program is two hours, if not a little more, and it’s geared toward all ages.”
The show opens with “Les Patineurs” (The Skaters), which is choreographed by Frederick Ashton to music composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer.
The ballet, in one act, depicts a Victorian skating party that takes place on a frozen pond on a winter evening.
“This is a nice way to say farewell to the winter season as 27 dancers take part in this portion of the program,” Prucnal said. “It is very challenging to our dancers, but the pace is like a Strauss waltz, music which translates into not only a wonderful vision of the dancers, but also a most-pleasing experience to the ears as well.”
A semicircle of white, arched trellises separates the pond from the snowy woods.
The first skaters to enter are four couples dressed in matching brown jackets. They are soon joined by two girls wearing blue jackets and bonnets, two girls wearing red jackets and bonnets, a girl and boy dressed in white, and a lone boy wearing blue.
This happy group of young people dance together in various combinations, gliding and leaping and spinning across the ice until snow begins to fall and the single boy is finally left alone, whirling like a top in the middle of the pond.
The company obtains the services of several dancers from Point Park University in Pittsburgh to perform principal roles.
They are Amanda Summers, Zach Kapulack and William Geohegan.
“We have one of the guest soloists from Pittsburgh dancing the role of Blue Boy, an exceptionally difficult dance to perform,” Prucnal said. “He is the major character in the dance and somewhat of a showoff and full of himself until he falls.”
Prucnal concentrated on creating the illusion of skating, of getting the most of each dancer.
“This dance is new to this group of dancers,” Prucnal said.
The audience is then invited to enjoy a royal union as nearly
100 dancers take part in “The Wedding of Sleeping Beauty.”
In a magical fairy kingdom, Princess Aurora is born to a wonderful king and queen.
The kingdom’s fairy of protection, Lilac Fairy, and all her maidens are invited to celebrate Princess Aurora’s birth.
“In all the excitement, the royal family forgot to invite the Evil Fairy, Carabosse,” Prucnal said. “Carabosse casts a spell over Princess Aurora that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger and die.”
But the Lilac Fairy casts another spell that Princess Aurora will only fall asleep after pricking her finger.
Sixteen years later, the royal family begins to celebrate Princess Aurora’s birthday. Carabosse disguises herself as a beautiful seamstress and presents Princess Aurora with a beautiful tapestry.
Enchanted by its beauty, Princess Aurora grabs the tapestry and pricks her finger on a needle that Carabosse secretly embedded.
Carabosse laughs in victory and runs out of the castle. Remembering the spell she had cast before, Lilac Fairy appears to make sure Princess Aurora fell asleep.
“We have a lot of variations as the program continues,” Prucnal said. “Many of the fairy-tale characters are in attendance, including Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Cinderella and Snow White.”
All the characters come to life in a dazzling choreography.
“The dancers are very serious about their dancing, and this is an exciting way to educate the students and the audience at the same time,” Prucnal said.
The ballet’s senior company features the talents of Victoria Baca, Sydney Baumgardner, Lily Bradley, Michaela Coons, Alexandra D’Arrigo, Lindsay Geiser, Taylor George, Paige Hockycko, Nicole Khouzami, Tristin Kresak, Fisk Lee, Rachael Morgart, Alexis Nibert, Angelina Ozeck, Inez Panebianco, Isabella Panebianco, Samantha Petak, BriAnne Rager, Ashley Shriver, Laurel Steinly, Christy Stewart, Emily Stewart, Jenna Tokarsky, Cassy Weakland, Madelynn Weir, Ruby Whorl and Susan Williams.
Comprising the junior company are Lauren Anderson, Lindsey Anderson, Madalyn Barnes, Alexandra Barnhart, Lauren Connor, Abigail D’Arrigo, Meghana Gella, Kathy Goas, Ashley Hamula, Sarah Hofecker, Ashley Jeschonek, Arianna Kline, Penelope Lee, Morgan Lybarger, Eryn McKendree, India Menkaure, Leah Mikeasky, Rorrie Miller, Taylor Mock, Christiana Parrish, Theresa Parrish, Bailey Popovich, Abigail Rose, Shannon Tokarsky, Kamy Villacis and Cassidy Weir.
Other members are Piper Bruce, Haidee Errett, Nathalie Frem, Audrey Gokey, Haely Goller, Skylah Harrington, Shyanne Hillegas, Lindsey Hodge, Reilly Hollern, Kyra Kimmel, Sophia Kline, Grace Messina, Preslee Metil, Gretchen Miller, Alexandra Mock, Evelyn Moore, Leah Perry, Ivy Peterman, Vivian Popp, Ashley Rhodes, Lily Runkle, Josie Sefcik, Fiona Stuart and Eva Weir.
Tickets are $12 and available at the door.
What: Spring production by Johnstown Concert Ballet.
Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.
When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 27.
Tickets: At the door.
Information: 262-7200 or www.upjarts.org.
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