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Western Maryland City Ballet Company to stage "Cinderella" Sunday, April 7

April 03, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • In rehearsal for the Western Maryland City Ballet Company's production of Cinderella are left to right Haley Gray as a step sister Emily Rohrer as Cinderella and Katie Ricker as a step sister.
Joe Crocetta / Joe Crocetta

The story is a fairy tale classic.

Girl sweeps floor, then magically appears at royal ball and sweeps prince off his feet.

There are fairy godmothers, magic pumpkins and a race against the clock — a surreal series of events all told with romance, humor and drama, as well as a happy ending.

Throughout the years, the story of the peasant-turned-princess who loses a glass slipper has never lost its luster or appeal.

And, today, the shoe still fits.

For some, the enchantment of "Cinderella" has come from the pages of a book. For others, it's the movie.

But in 1945, composer Sergey Prokofiev added another dimension when his stunning score made it a hit in the world of ballet.

On Sunday, April 7, the Western Maryland City Ballet Company will add its own twist to Prokofiev's work, when the company presents "Cinderella" on the stage of The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

"We chose to perform 'Cinderella' because it's a beautiful story that everyone knows and loves," said Danielle Horochowski, the company's artistic director.

But this particular ballet was chosen for yet another reason, she noted — the brilliance of Prokofiev's score.

"Its depth and poignancy are spellbinding," Horochowski said.

"The score is hopelessly romantic, visceral and witty and creates a ballet with that kind of energy has been a delightful challenge," she said.

The dancers who make up the Western Maryland City Ballet Company currently are in rehearsal for the full-length ballet, which will be performed in three acts.

The company, a division of The City Ballet School in Hagerstown, features students who have been selected by audition based on their technical proficiency and artistry, Horochowski said.

While they continue to take daily classes in ballet, pointe, jazz and modern dance, they also take exclusive classes that teach them the responsibilities of being part of a dance company.

"The company is geared toward performance and professional development and gives career-minded students a chance to train and prepare for future work with a dance company," Horochowski said.

More than 75 dancers will be taking part in the production, some dancing multiple roles. In addition to company dancers, children from the school were selected by audition to fill children's roles in the ballet.

The lead cast includes Emily Rohrer, who will dance the role of "Cinderella," Josh Fisher as the Prince and Haley Gray and Katie Ricker, who will portray the stepsisters.

Horochowski said the performance also will feature about 200 costumes, many created especially for this performance, as well as "stunning prop design and lots of theatrical magic."

"The Western Maryland City Ballet Company is bringing a childhood fantasy to life on stage," she said.

Horochowski said she drew from deeply personal experiences, and daily observations for the production.

"As I am choreographing and setting this ballet for the first time, it has been a humble exploration of my own experiences in love, hope, endurance, forgiveness and childhood dreams," she said. "What has impressed me most is how the dancers are so willing to take this journey with me. We have had an amazing time creating the ballet and it is truly a team effort, as each dancer brings something that makes the movement their own."

There comes a point in the artistic process where the choreographer must give the ballet to the dancers, Horochowski added.

"I am so excited about this world they have created on stage and how closely they worked with me to bring my vision for the story to life," she said.

While many consider it a romantic story, Horochowski said there's also a bit of comedy involved.

"The stepsisters play ridiculous characters that we had a great deal of fun creating," she said.

Horochowski calls ‘"Cinderella" "a ballet with many layers. While full of virtue, it's also romantic and witty."

It's also a great family outing, she noted.

"Seeing a story ballet is the perfect way to experience art with your family.  Adults will enjoy the performance as much as the children," she said. "The ballet allows you to see a story you grew up with in a whole new way."



If you go ...       

WHAT: Western Maryland City Ballet Company will present "Cinderella"

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Tickets range from $15 to $45 and are available by contacting The Maryland Theatre box office at 301-790-3500 today or Friday or online at www.mdtheatre.org.

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