By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore’s Joanne Arduino, artistic director of Ballet Theatre of Scranton/The Dance Studio, is busy these days preparing for the company’s full-length ballet of Cinderella scheduled Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., in the Theatre at North, Scranton.
“I chose Cinderella because I try to select ballets that are versatile,” Joanne says.
“One year I will do a comedic ballet, another year a dramatic one, maybe another year a fairy tale, and then a contemporary one.”
Joanne, born and raised in Dunmore, has taught dance in Scranton for 40 years.
The 1975 Dunmore High School graduate began training under the late Constance Reynolds and was awarded a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts.
She earned elementary and intermediate certificates at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. She completed advanced studies with the Royal Academy in Toronto, Canada.
She has studied and collaborated with many well known choreographers and teachers and was selected by Gus Giordano to represent Pennsylvania as a jazz ambassador at the Jazz Dance World Congress.
During a recent visit to London, she visited world famous choreographer Henry Danton, now 100.
“He was a mentor and so valuable to me,” Joanne explains. “ It was such a privilege to study with him. He is such a gentleman, very humble.
“At age 100, he is in remarkable health. At 100, he still teaches. He comes to town every year and teaches with us. He will be here in August.”
Arduino has been Artistic Director of the Ballet Theatre since 1991. She took the position following the retirement of Constance Reynolds, her former mentor, who and founded Ballet Theatre in 1958.
“This is the third time we are presenting Cinderella,” she said. “Henry Danton staged it the first time in 1994. I re-staged it the second time in 2011. So this is now the third time the ballet is being presented.”
Arduino recently attended Danton’s 100th birthday celebration in London.
“It was quite the event! There were a lot of famous people there from the Royal Ballet. Some of the biggest stars of tge ballet were there. He was even interviewed by the BBC in London.”
Sir Peter Wright, Dame Monica Mason and Dame Beryl Grey were among the British dignitaries of ballet in attendance.
Arduino is the Performing Arts Director for Arts Alive which provides scholarships to local youth. She is on the faculty of Hospice of the Sacred Heart for Camp Healing Hearts.
Married to Paul Arduino, the couple has one son Eric, 16, who is a sophomore soccer player at Dunmore High School. Eric is on a rehab stint recovering from a meniscus ACL tear. He will play soccer at Dunmore next year as a junior.
In the meantime, Joanne is busy getting ready for four upcoming summer performances.
The Joanne Arduino Dance Studio is located at 310 Penn Ave., Scranton. It has been in operation since 1978.