By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
Members of the Johnstown Concert Ballet will perform alongside youth hockey players representing Cambria County Student Hockey League in a short performance titled “Pucks and Pirouettes” during the second intermission of the Johnstown Tomahawks hockey game at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena on March 18.
“Pucks and Pirouettes” is a love story that begins at a hockey game, and it is serving as a “teaser” to the full-scale performance that the Johnstown Concert Ballet will present at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on April 16.
Carla Prucnal, artistic director of the Johnstown Concert Ballet, said she was inspired to create a hockey-themed ballet after noticing the excitement that the Hockeyville competition garnered late last year. She was also smitten by the love story of a local couple.
It helped, too, that Prucnal has always been a hockey fan.
“When I was a child, my father would take me to the Johnstown Jets hockey games, and even when there was no room, I’d end up sitting on his lap,” Prucnal said. “My father was very devoted — he and his friends went and sat in the same section every time. It was a time when hockey games weren’t on TV, and the only way you got to see them was to attend in person at the War Memorial.”
Prucnal’s ballet career has allowed her the opportunity to not only work with ballerinas, but also wrestlers and football, basketball and hockey players.
“I’ve worked with many athletes in the area because their coaches recognized that ballet would make them supple and help them maneuver better,” Prucnal said. “The strength that is needed in sports is very obvious in dancers.”
Prucnal said that she’s excited for the opportunity to work in conjunction with the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
“To my knowledge — and I’ve lived in Johnstown all my life — I’ve never heard of a ballet based on hockey, or a ballet being performed during a hockey game in Johnstown,” she said. “It’s going to be really exciting. (The audience is) going to see some interesting moves.”
Performers in “Pucks and Pirouettes” include: Emily Stewart, Taylor George, Tristin Kresak, Abigail Rose, Taelur Vargo, Ashley Jechonek, Lauren Anderson, Alexandra Barnhart, Meghana Gella, Penelope Lee, Morgan Lybarger, Racheal Morgart, Isabella Panebianco, Boston Bradley, Cole Bradley, Chris Miller and Will Miller.
Though their performance won’t last more than 10 minutes, Prucnal said that that’s what teasers are all about.
“We’re taking excerpts from the dances that we’ll be performing in the spring ballet,” she said. “It gives you a little bit of the story and makes you want to see the whole production.”
The “whole production” to which Prucnal was referring is scheduled for April 16 beginning at 2 p.m. at the arts center, which is located on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus. Tickets for the ballet are now on sale at the box office by calling 814-269-7200, and they will also be available at the door. Tickets are not for sale online.
For more information about the Johnstown Concert Ballet, visit www.johnstownballet.homestead.com.
“Pucks and Pirouettes” is being made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance.