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Ballet comes from California to the Chesapeake

On Friday and Saturday evening, 190 dancers will perform “Ballet Under the Bay,” the whimsical story of a young girl who must venture underwater to rescue the moon. The massive undertaking is the end-of-year performance for Ballet Caliente in Lexington Park and was written by the ballet school’s artistic director, Sheryl-Marie Dunaway.

Dunaway originally wrote the ballet to portray the Monterey Bay in California, but easily adapted it to local surroundings last year, she said, by adding in fish like cobia and snakeheads.

“Pretty much you name a fish that’s in our bay, you’ve got it. Even anchovies and cow-nosed rays. What I do with young girls is I try to help them understand that every single part is integral to the story. There are no small parts,” Dunaway said.

The drama begins when a girl goes to the beach and sees pirates trying to steal the moon, mistaking it for a giant pearl. The villains fumble and drop the orb into the water. The heroine, with the help of mermaids, fairies and other creatures, goes on an aquatic adventure to return it to its rightful place, said school manager Christine Wojcik.

The dancers include everyone from little girls to recent high school graduates, Wojcik said.

Ballet Caliente will perform “Ballet Under the Bay” at 6:30 p.m. June 7 and 8 at Great Mills High School at 21130 Great Mills Road. The show runs about 100 minutes, excluding intermission, and is appropriate for all ages. Tickets cost $15. For more information, go to, email or call 301-862-0038.