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The City Ballet School and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra to Collaborate on a World Premiere in Spring of 2020

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – October 2, 2019The City Ballet School and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will collaborate on the world premiere of a full-length story ballet to debut at the Maryland Theatre on May 30th and 31st 2020.

The Spell features an original 100-minute score by composer Arshak Sirunyan, and choreography and stage design by City Ballet’s Artistic Director, Danielle Horochowski. Horochowski has choreographed Cinderella, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Little Mermaid for City Ballet in recent years in addition to their annual performances of The Nutcracker. She is known for her vibrant storytelling and communicative choreography.

“The creation of The Spell has been an amazing adventure. It has been absolutely magical to hear the music for the ballet being created,” said Horochowski. “I am completely indebted to my incredible composer Arshak Sirunyan for creating this magnificent score. I am so grateful to Elizabeth Schulze for her partnership and her willingness to include the MSO in this journey. The ballet is an inspiration from one of my favorite childhood stories, and I am so excited to see it come to life!”

The Spell is a new fantasy story ballet based on the Grimm’s fairytale tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” The story depicts princess sisters bound by a secret spell to dance all night in the underworld ball. Desperate to discover why his daughter’s dancing shoes are worn out each morning, their father offers a prize to the man who can solve the mystery. A peasant boy falls in love with the youngest princess and sets off to solve the mystery.

Composer Arshak Sirunyan resides in South Carolina and has worked with dancers for many years.  Primarily known as a jazz composer, The Spell is Sirunyan’s first full length ballet composition. “From the first conversations and a glance of the script, it was obvious that this was going to be an exciting and delightful journey,” said Sirunyan. “Now my job is almost complete with over a year and a half of work. I can’t wait to see The City Ballet School and the Maryland Symphony, directed by the most extraordinary Elizabeth Schulze, to bring it to life!”

The Spell will feature a cast of over a hundred local and guest dancers alongside The City Ballet School’s Western Maryland City Ballet Company. Twenty- eight musicians from the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will perform the score for the first time, conducted by MSO Music Director, Elizabeth Schulze.

“Our collaboration with Danielle, Arshak and the City Ballet School is a dream come true for me and an opportunity for the orchestra to work outside the box and explore new ways of expression,” said Schulze. “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting project that will put a much-deserved focus on the exceptional talent right here in our community.  Danielle’s brilliant choreography, accompanied by Arshak’s compelling score, promises an incredible weekend of dance and music.”

The performance will serve as many firsts for the community, as a collaboration of this magnitude has never been performed in Hagerstown. With female choreographers, in general, making up less than 20% of all choreographers, Horochowski’s world premiere will make her one of the first women to stage a full-length classical ballet featuring an original score performed with a symphony orchestra.  The performance will also feature theatrical animation design by Mitch Stark and new costumes, set design and construction.

The City Ballet School will hold open casting auditions for children’s roles for The Spell on January 18th and all local dance students in the community are invited to audition.  Tickets go on sale Friday, November 15th at 11:00 am and can be purchased through the Maryland Theatre Box Office and Ticketmaster.

The City Ballet School is offering sponsorship packages to the event that includes prime seating, advertising opportunities, VIP events and interaction with the artists. Visit WWW.THESPELL.NET for more information about the event.


The City Ballet School is Hagerstown’s pre professional training program for aspiring dancers. City Ballet specializes in helping each dancer reach their individual goals. Offering classes in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, hip-hop, tap, acro and an all-boys program, City Ballet provides professional instruction and performance opportunities. The Western Maryland City Ballet Company is the performance company for the City Ballet School and has presented “Cinderella”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Peter Pan”, “Alice in Wonderland” “Swan Lake”, “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Le Corsaire” in addition to annual performances of “The Nutcracker.”


Founded in 1982, Maryland Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 38th season as the area’s premier professional orchestra.  Under the musical direction of Maestra Elizabeth Schulze, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to providing musical performances that educate and entertain, while enhancing the cultural environment of Western Maryland and the surrounding region. Learn more: