They are focused on their preparation, pushing themselves toward a perfection that is ballet.
There are hours of training, long days of rehearsal and time spent learning to balance the physical with the emotional.
The strength, elegance and grace of movement won’t happen overnight.
But this is more than discipline and hard work. It’s a love affair — one that began for many of the students when they were preschoolers, anxious to stand on their toes.
They walked into a bright room with large mirrors, were taught the most delicate of moves from first position to fourth.
And a passion was born.
Today, those students have elevated their level of commitment as dancers with Western Maryland City Ballet Company, a division of The City Ballet School in Hagerstown.
While they still take daily classes in ballet, pointe, jazz and modern dance, they take exclusive classes that teach them the responsibilities of being part of a dance company, said Artistic Director Danielle Horochowski.
They also perform full-length classical ballets and explore ideas and movement by creating new work.
“Dancers begin their careers very young and the field is very competitive,” Horochowski said. “So, we want to provide our students with every experience possible to help them be successful in their careers as dancers.”
The 11 auditioned dancers who make up the company currently are in rehearsal for a two-part program they will be present at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at The Maryland Theatre.
A classical ballet, “Le Corsaire,” will be the first performance, followed by the premiere of the company’s newest contemporary work, “Somnium.”
“We are passionately excited for our upcoming spring performance,” Horochowski said. “We have two very different works that give the audience great contrast in their experience.”
Horochowski said “Le Corsaire” is the romantic adventure of a shipwrecked pirate and his scheme to rescue his captured love.
“This is a beautiful ballet with stunning costumes, gorgeous score and brilliant dancing,” she said.
The second half of the program is the premiere of “Somnium” — a work of fantasy that explores the psychology of dreaming.
“This piece is nonstop excitement and is constantly morphing from one scene to the next,” Horochowski explained. “I’m especially excited to premiere this work and am so grateful to my dancers for their willingness to take this artistic journey with me, as it has been a very involved process that required the dancers to put so much of their full beings into the work.”
Horochowski said the dancers are looking forward to presenting “Somnium.”
“It’s so different from anything we have done before,” she said. “It’s pretty intense and we can’t wait to see what the audience thinks about it.”
In addition to the 11 company members, Horochowski said auditions were held for extra dancers for children’s roles. The performance features 22 children, three guest artists and several actors from the area.
Horochowski said Western Maryland City Ballet Company was formed in July of 2010 and consists of students who are accepted into the company through open auditions held each year in September.
While the company offers artistic opportunities for upper-level students who are training to dance professionally, Horochowski said another driving force is the opportunity to provide ballet performances to children, as well as the community at large.
“Because ballet is a visual art, I believe it is very important for young dancers to see as many ballet performances as possible,” she said. “It’s part of how they learn and it gives them inspiration to work hard in class. Even for children who do not take dance lessons, there is no greater gift a parent can give a child than to immerse them in the arts.”
Horochowski said attending performances is a great family activity.
“It gives you a way to have a special date with your child and provides arts education at the same time,” she said. “Building a love for the arts comes from having great memories that are established as a child.”
Horochowski said it’s her hope to continue to build a love for the arts and for dance performance in the Hagerstown area.
“Dance is an art where you are watching it as it happens,” she said. “It is so special because there are so many things that there are not always words for, but can be communicated through movement. People get excited about what we are doing, even if they never thought of dance as something they might connect with.
“Movement and dance has captivated me for as long as I can remember,” Horochowski added. “There is never a moment more exciting for me than when you can pass that along to someone else.”
And while not all of the students who have gone through The City Ballet program grow up to pursue dance as a career, “they all have a strong love for culture, dance, music and art,” she added. “And I think that is a success story.”
If you go ...
WHAT: Western Maryland City Ballet Company will present “Le Corsaire”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12
WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown
COST: $20 to $45.
CONTACT: Call 301-790-3500 or go to www.mdtheatre.org.