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City Ballet School brings fairytale magic of 'Cinderella' to the stage

City Ballet School brings fairytale magic of 'Cinderella' to the stage

The graceful fairies, comedic stepsisters and an overarching theme of love are all brought together in the tale of Cinderella presented this spring by The Western City Ballet Company and The City Ballet School.

“Cinderella is a beautiful ballet,” said Danielle Horochowski, artistic director of The City Ballet School. “It’s a score by Prokofiev so it’s one of the contemporary ballet scores and it’s just gorgeous music along with a very fun story.”

Those looking for an afternoon at the ballet are running out of time to see the classical fairytale performed in one show only on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.

Erica Bergquist, 17, of Greencastle, Pa., who plays the role of Cinderella, has been dancing at The City Ballet since she was four years old and says that she really enjoyed the choreography and emotional maturity of the character.

“I’ve never been the lead role before so that’s been kind of scary but I’ve had a lot of fun with the challenge,” said Erica, who will be attending University of the Arts in Pennsylvania in the fall.

The ballet is choreographed by Horochowski with hundreds of costumes and numerous props of various sizes created by the company’s costume and design team.

Madeline Semler, 15, who plays the Fairy Godmother, is seen during rehearsal at The City Ballet School in Hagerstown for their upcoming performance of Cinderella. (Photo by Valerie Bonk)

Highlights of the set include a massive clock and several pumpkins of increasing size, including one that Cinderella rides during a scene with the Fairy Godmother, who is danced by 15-year-old Madeline Semler.

When it comes to working together, Horochowski says that the close-knit community at The City Ballet makes it easy to navigate and bring to life the three very different and elaborate acts of the ballet.

“I think one of the most beautiful things in working here is that there is so much love in our team,” Horochowski said. “There’s a real sense of family here and every time that we work together, you know it’s with people who know each other very well so that makes it a lot easier and the process really joyful.”

Benjamin Pierce, 14, of Greencastle, who plays the role of Cinderella’s prince and has been dancing at The City Ballet School for about six years, says that he’s excited to show his growth in classical ballet.

“Being a prince is a real challenge especially in classical ballet because it is very difficult,” Benjamin said. “I feel like I’m getting stronger from it for sure, especially with partnering. It’s been incredible getting that experience and getting to show the audience the magic of ballet.”

For those who haven’t seen a ballet before, Horochowski says that this ballet has something for everyone.

“Usually people who attend these shows are ballet lovers, but Cinderella is a show that is so connected to us as a community that if you don’t know anything about ballet, you can follow this story perfectly because you know all of these characters and you’re familiar with them,” Horochowski said.

Top photo: Erica Bergquist, 17, who plays Cinderella, and Benjamin Pierce, 14, who plays her prince, are seen during rehearsal at The City Ballet School in Hagerstown. (Photo by Valerie Bonk)

If you go ...

WHAT: The Western City Ballet Company and The City Ballet School present Cinderella
WHEN: Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m.
WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown
COST: Tickets range from $15 to $66.
CONTACT: 301-790-2000 or visit

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