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Hagerstown ballet school to perform 'Swan Lake' May 17

HAGERSTOWN, MD. >> "Swan Lake" tells the story of Odette, a young girl cursed to living life as a swan during the day, returning at night to her form as a young maiden.

The curse was given by the evil Rothbart, who controls a flock of black swans who are also cursed young maidens. Odette meets Prince Siegfried and the two fall in love. The prince, however, doesn't know Odette's secret.

City Ballet School in Hagerstown will retell the "Swan Lake" story at 2 p.m. May 17 at The Maryland Theatre, 27 S. Potomac St.

Artistic Director Danielle Horochowski said the school has recently performed "The Nutcracker" and "Sleeping Beauty," considered two of the three great classical ballets in history.

It seemed only fitting to perform the third.

"'Swan Lake' is a very iconic ballet and just a gorgeous fairy tale with so much substance," she said. "The story is so compelling and so gripping and for every act that you watch you become more involved in the story, which is something I just love about 'Swan Lake.'"

The work was composed by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who also composed "The Nutcracker" and "Sleeping Beauty."

A Chambersburg native, Horochowski opened City Ballet School nine years ago after getting her degree in dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.

She said tryouts for the performance took place in January for some of the minor roles. The school's performance company will dance the major parts of the ballet.

Jenny Milani, 18, will be tasked with performing two characters — the lead, Odette the white swan, and Odile the black swan.

She said, "It's a challenge because the personalities of the characters are completely opposite so you have to switch up the way you are moving within the same ballet."

Milani said she is nervous for the upcoming performance but takes comfort in the support of her partner, Thomas Anthony, who will play Prince Siegfried.

"It's a little nerve-racking. It helps having a partner like Thomas," she said. "We kind of feed our energy off each other. It's good to be nervous about a performance because it kinds of gives you that extra adrenaline."

Tickets start at $15 and are available by contacting the Maryland Theatre box office at (301) 790-2000 or by going online to