LUZERNE — “I never danced,” said Amy Dempsey, of Swoyersville.
“I’m so uncoordinated,” Tiffany Matosky, of Forty Fort, admitted with a laugh.
Despite their lack of experience, Matosky and Dempsey were excited last weekend to join dozens of dance students , including their 5- to 8-year-old daughters, in the gymnasium at the Harris Centre in Luzerne and practice for a flash mob dance routine.
If all went as planned, they had their chance to shine Saturday evening at the Mohegan Sun Arena, where more than 100 dancers (and moms) from several regional dance studios, expected to brighten the “Pink in the Rink” hockey game between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
A cooperative effort between the Penguins and the American Cancer Society, Pink in the Rink was the third annual hockey game that doubled as a chance to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.
Fans would see pink ice, pink hockey sticks and temporary pink streaks in the hair of any individuals who chose to support the cause that way.
At a predetermined point in the game, music was to start and the big group of dancers would stand and pull off their jackets to reveal bright pink t-shirts. Their hands would shoot into the air and begin clapping as they performed their routine, choreographed by Harris Centre instructor Melissa Appel to the song “Hand Clap.”
The world of Northeastern Pennsylvania dance schools is predominantly female, Appel said, and breast cancer is naturally a cause close to their hearts.
“The neatest thing about this is that so many schools are coming together,” Harris Centre manager Jim Harris said, naming TNT Studio of Dance from Lehighton, Elite Dance Co. of Hazleton, the Performing Arts Center in the Conyngham area and the Conservatory of Dance in Mountain Top as schools that sent representatives to join the Harris Centre dancers in the mob.
“I have 42 dancers signed up,” Tammy Heller from the Performing Arts Center said last week, explaining that she would help those unable to attend last weekend’s rehearsal to master the steps.
“People here are so into it,” said Danielle Dorzinsky, owner of the Conservatory of Dance.
During last year’s 2017 Pink in the Rink flash mob, Dorzinsky said she positioned herself in the arena so she would have a good view of the dance and the appreciation of the other hockey fans.
“You can see the reactions,” she said. “It’s absolutely wonderful to see.”
Some spectators seemed to “not know what was going on” at first, 12-year-old dancer Abby Davitt said. And, indeed, the element of surprise is part of the fun of a flash mob.
The dancers definitely enjoyed dancing as a unit with people from other schools, Heller said. “You kind of cheer other dancers on, because you all love to dance.”
And the cause was an important one to many participants who said they know survivors who have battled or are battling breast cancer.
Ballet mom Amy Dempsey was already showing her support, even before picking up her “Pink in the Rink” T-shirt. She was sporting a tee from another event, one connected to the Wyoming Valley West School District.
With a certain defiance, its slogan asked: “Who says girls can’t fight?”