Mountaintop Area Dancers To Perform In Joan Harris Production Of Swan Lake

The classic ballet, Swan Lake will be staged by the Joan Harris Dancers, April 25th and April 26th, at the Dallas Performing Arts Center on the campus of the Dallas High School in Dallas. Over 400 dancers from all across Northeastern Pennsylvania will be appearing in the three weekend performances directed by Elisabeth Harris and Jennifer Harris.

Some of the Joan Harris Dancers from the Greater Mountaintop Area Communities who will be appearing in the ballet are: Maddalyn Boop, Lainey and Emily Conway, Mountaintop, Durga Follmer, Wapwallopen, Molly Franks, Mountaintop, Maria Hillard, Victoria and Jessica Kline, Theresa Kloeker, Melanie Kobela, Mountaintop, Faith Moyer, Wapwallopen, Taylor Pelus, Hazelton, Kimberly Prince and Amanda Stopper, Mountaintop.

First presented to the world stage in 1877, Swan Lake was met with mixed reviews. It was not until the masterwork was “retooled” in 1895 by famed choreographers, Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa, did the mature Swan Lake take its present form. Ever since, the ballet has been a favorite of audiences across the globe. George Ballanchine, founder of the American Ballet Company said of the work “Musically and as a dance drama, Swan Lake is undoubtedly the most popular of all classical ballets. Petipa and Ivanov are to the dancer what Shakespeare is to the actor, if you can succeed in their choreography, there is a suggestion that you can succeed at anything.”

Towards this reason, director/ choreographer Elisabeth Harris chose this work for the Joan Harris Centre’s annual spring ballet as part of the school’s yearlong celebration of its twentieth anniversary. She has faithfully maintained the classic staging of all the major roles, however, with the aid of the studio’s ten other ballet instructors, choreographed scenes to allow for all the ballet students of the school to participate in the performance. All of the dancers who will be appearing in this production of Swan Lake received their training at the Joan Harris Centre.

Assaying the demanding double role of Odette-Odile, will be Anna Giacometti and Mat Ocasio who will be playing the part of the doomed Prince Seigfried, will join her. Other cast members include, Akeem Nugent as the prince’s best friend Benno, Rob Robertson as the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart, and Laura Berrini as the commanding queen. The Court Jester will be played by Keturah McLeod with James Sinclair as the Prince Seigfried’s tutor, Wolfgang. The role of the four cygnets will be performing, Caitlyn Berrini, Juliana Buonsante, Caroline Conrad and Kelsey Hall.

Musically and as a dance drama, Swan Lake is considered the most popular of all classical ballets. Tchaikovsky’s haunting score and challenging dances designed by Ivanov and Petipa make it the one work that all ballet dancers hope to one day appear in. Swan Lake is part of almost every professional ballet’s repertoire. It tells the tragic tale of Odette, a young maiden who has been cursed by the evil Von Rothbart and turned into a swan. She can only take human form between the hours of midnight and dawn, and it is during that time she encounters Prince Seigfried, who is in the forest on a hunting expedition. The couple soon falls in love and the Prince vows to return the next day to find a way to remove the magician’s curse.

Curtain times for the ballet are 1 and 5 p. m. Saturday, April 25th with a 2 p. m. matinee on Sunday, April 26th.

Tickets for Swan Lake are $14 in advance, and $16 the day of the performance. Tickets are available at the Harris Conservatory for the Arts, 545 Charles Street. For more information, call 570-287-7977, 570-674-3699 or visit the school’s web site at