• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

‘A story with dance’ Johnstown Concert Ballet will present ‘Alice in Wonderland’

ByRandall B. Phelps

Apr 16, 2022

April 16 – JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Johnstown Concert Ballet will perform “Alice in Wonderland” at 2 p.m. on April 23 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the Pitt-Johnstown campus in Richland Township.

“It’s one of my favorite ballets, and I think it’s a beautiful story and so much fun and lends itself very well to the storytelling medium that is ballet,” said Bethany Thomas, director artistry of the company.

“While I was helping to go through Carla’s stuff,” she said, referring to the company’s late founder and creative director, Carla Prucnal, “and working to clean up the studio, I found out that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was one of her favorite stories, and I thought it would be a really nice transitional piece – doing one of my favorite stories and hers.”

The artwork is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s 1865 children’s book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

The production follows Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole, and events become very interesting.

As Alice travels through Wonderland, she encounters countless strange creatures, including the nervous Queen of Hearts, the nervous White Rabbit, the charming Jack of Hearts, a winding caterpillar, the mysterious Cheshire Cat and a Hatter. madman who tap dances. ends with a messy tea party.

The production is mainly danced to “Alice in Wonderland” by Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky.

“I choreograph it, so it’s brand new choreography,” Thomas said.

“The good thing about it is that for dancers who have solos or moments that are featured, I can choreograph it specifically for the dancer. Choreography is where I started in teaching and acting. , and I love the creativity it gives me that I can tell a story with dance and movement, and it was a great time to choreograph.”

The role of Alice will be danced by Lauren Anderson.

“She’s been incredibly dedicated to this role,” Thomas said.

“The character of Alice is a little bit different because Alice is in almost every dance. Lauren spent a tremendous amount of time in the studio, working with me and the younger classes, and she really played the part wonderfully. “

Penelope Lee will play the role of the Queen of Hearts.

“She does a fabulous job and it’s phenomenal to work with,” Thomas said.

“Every challenge I throw at her, she’s ready to dive in and go.”

The main members of the company are Ashley Hamula, Josie Hill, Lyza Johnson, Kailyn Jones, Helena Kycko, Taylor Ling, Haley Mosorjak, Lucia Niida, Ivy Peterman, Julia Raberg, Alaina Respet, Avary Shander, Maggie Steen, Olivia Tallaria and Marianna Weaver.

Junior Company Members include Lenna Bennethum, Bella Dixon, Meara Gleason, Regan Reynolds, Chase Bennethum, Zane Kendig, Meradi Knapp, Hazel Peterman, Emily Thompson, Kaelyn Deater, Mackenzie Kendig, Senay Malcolm, Alaina Tallari, Isla Bopp, Abby Graham, Addison Greenwall, Jordyn O’Herrick, Sophia Sabanal, Zoe Eckenrode, Jocelyn Furdella, Havanna Kycko, Sophia Krum, Raeleigh McKool, Emerson Manges, Ella Pisano, Elizabella Stevanus, Margaret Zajdel, Aurora Krupa, Lillian Kendig, Emma Mack, Cordelia Newquist, Sophia Newquist, Iliana Repak, Elowen Curcija, Layton Smalley and Aubriella Stevanus.

Yousef Sbeitan will play the role of the Jack of Hearts.

Male guests include Isaac Berkey, Damien Byer and Anthony Hasset.

“The dancers go above and beyond and they are thrilled to do this ballet,” Thomas said.

“They have a love for ballet, which they take very seriously, but I want them to see that it can be used to tell funny stories. That’s going to be very present in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ “

She said the costumes for the ballet were a collaborative effort.

“I went through our costumes that we already have, so our White Rabbit costume is the one that already existed in reserve, and for our Queen of Hearts costume, I collaborated with a friend and we were able to redesign a tutu that we already owned to better fit the character,” Thomas said. “It was about finding parts that we already had and tweaking parts, and then we also have a few parts that came completely from scratch.”

Before the show, the senior members of the company will perform “Serenade”.

“‘Serenade’ is a piece of classic choreography and is very famous in the ballet repertoire, and they will be dancing a shortened and adapted version,” Thomas said.

“While I love choreography, I think it’s also important for older dancers to be exposed to more traditional choreography that already exists.

“If they were going somewhere else to dance or to summer camp, they would need to know how to do things that are in the traditional choreography.”

Although the Johnstown Concert Ballet is known for its annual Christmas production of “The Nutcracker,” Thomas said spring performances include more than one production.

“Classical ballet is something so unique at Johnstown Concert Ballet,” Thomas said.

“Being able to do these spring shows, which are full ballets, exposes the region to more of that kind of storytelling, and it’s not just a dance recital. For the dancers, it’s important to do a spring show .

“Because we open registrations in January and some of our dancers couldn’t do ‘The Nutcracker,’ the girls would be left out.”

She said audiences will see a familiar story told in a different way.

“I hope they can laugh and have fun and realize that you can have fun in ballet and it’s not just a serious thing,” Thomas said.

Tickets are $20.

To order tickets, go to www. johnstownconcertballet.org.