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Sleep King - Where the Prices Are a Sweet Dream!

There are a lot of mattress companies in South Carolina that claim to have the perfect mattress for everyone. At Sleep King, we believe that every person is different and has different needs when it comes to their mattress. That's why our mattress store in Hattiesburg, MS, has a wide variety of beds and brands to choose from. That way, you can find the right mattress for your body and get the very best sleep quality possible.

As a family-owned and operated mattress store with more than 40 years of experience in the sleep industry, we know a thing or two about comfortable mattresses. Hattiesburg residents choose Sleep King because we provide our customers with a personalized shopping experience. When you walk through our showroom doors, we want you to feel comfortable - both on our mattresses and with our store associates. At Sleep King, you won't ever have to worry about pushy salespeople and limited selection. Instead, you will discover that we encourage you to take your time as you search for your next bed. Sleep is incredibly important, and by proxy, finding the right mattress for your body type is too.

When you visit our showroom in Hattiesburg, know that we are a full-service store with mattress experts ready to help. From questions about mattresses and their warranties to financing and mattress delivery, there's no question we haven't heard before.

We carry some of the most popular brands in America, and unlike other mattress stores in Hattiesburg, offer them at the lowest prices around, guaranteed. There's a reason why we were voted your #1 mattress store in the Lowcountry - because we truly care about our customers and their quality of sleep!

Looking for discounts? Need to buy your mattress on a strict budget? We've got you covered at our new mattress clearance center in Hattiesburg, where we have more than 50 models on display at 50-80% off retail value. Don't forget to ask us about our flexible financing options, where no credit is needed to make a purchase. Paying cash? We'll knock 5% off your bill!

As if that weren't enough reason to visit, remember that we provide free delivery, setup, and removal of your old mattress for FREE when you make a purchase at Sleep king.

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Some services and products are only available for local residents. Please contact SleepKing for details
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Why Choose Our Mattress
Store in Hattiesburg, MS?

Our business model is simple - give customers quality beds from national brands at amazing prices, coupled with unmatched customer service. We know that your sleep is essential but also understand that normal folks aren't made of money. You need a solution that isn't going to break the bank, which is why we offer up to 75% off our products.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

When we say we have a bed for every budget, we're serious.
A few of our mix and match deals include:

Sets Prize
Twin Mattress Sets Beginning at $169.00
Full Mattress Sets Beginning at $199.00
Queen Mattress Sets Beginning at $229.00
King Mattress Sets Beginning at $449.00

Of course, a mattress would be incomplete without a headboard, footboard, and rails. For queen mattresses, those items combined are only $199. At our mattress store, we pledge to beat any competitor's price on similar product specs - guaranteed! Here are just a few of the benefits of shopping at Mattress King

  • *FREE* Bed Frame for Your New Bed*
  • *FREE* Same-Day Local Mattress Delivery to Your Home*
  • *FREE* Set-Up & Removal of Old Mattress from Your Home*
  • *FREE* Mattress Pad Included with New Mattress*
  • Rest Easy with Our 60-Day Comfort Guarantee
  • We Have the Best Selection of Mattresses in Hattiesburg with Five National Vendors
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Best Warranties in the Industry
  • Sleep King Will Beat Anyone's Advertise Price by $50*(on purchases $299 and above)
  • 0% Financing for 48 Months (APR, With Approved Credit)
  • *See Store for Additional Details
Our Selection of National Mattress Brands

Our Selection of
National Mattress

At Sleep King, we carry the largest selection of high-quality national brand mattresses in Hattiesburg.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS
Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Sleep King MLILY Mattresses

Often considered the best mattress brand in the world, innovation sets MLILY mattresses apart from others. Our customers love MLILY mattresses because they are expertly built through decades of research and rigorous testing. The folks at MLILY are committed to precision, meaning every detail of product detail they push is geared towards the ultimate satisfaction and comfort.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Sleep Restonic Mattresses

Restonic Mattresses: Restonic line of mattresses are multi-layered beds with cooling foam technology that adds resilience, support, and temperature control. The result is a cool, comfy sleep that leaves you refreshed and ready to attack the day.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Sleep King Comfort Sleep Mattresses

Every mattress in the Comfort Sleep lineup has a great combo of support and comfort, making for a restful night's sleep. With heavy-gauge coils and high-performance materials, these mattresses are durable and built to last. Be sure to try one of these mattresses out in our showroom - our customers love the pocketed coils and minimal motion transfer.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Sleep King Golden Mattresses

The Golden brand is lesser known than some, like Tempurpedic. Still, it is a quality product with many foam and non-foam options that we think you'll love. Choose from standard memory foam, hybrid, and innerspring options while visiting our showroom in Hattiesburg.

Tips on Choosing the Best Bed

There's much more to choosing a good bed than how you think it will look in your bedroom. There's plenty to think about, from innerspring options to memory foam and even hybrid mattresses. At Sleep King, our priority is our customers. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We want to do right by you, which why we want to be sure you find the perfect bed when you visit our mattress store in Hattiesburg, MS. To help you get started, here are a few tips on choosing the best bed for your sleep needs.

Visit a Showroom

Visit a Showroom

This tip might seem like a no-brainer to some, but it's important that you visit a showroom so that you can lay on different beds to get a feel for what you like. At Mattress King, you will have the chance to explore different styles, designs, and shapes, and mattress materials. Finding a bed online at a price you can afford is great, but you should lie on the bed first, not just look at it on a screen.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS
Determine Budget

Determine Budget

Here's a surprising fact: just because a mattress costs more money, it doesn't mean it's going to be a better bed. Sure, more expensive beds might have newer technologies and materials, but not everyone has the budget to walk into a mattress store in Hattiesburg and spend $3,000. Figure out what price range you're comfortable paying and look at the best options for your bottom line.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS
Consider Bedroom Size

Consider Bedroom Size

Before you swing by our showroom and start trying out beds, it might be a good idea to measure the space where your new mattress will go. If your bedroom is on the small side, a king-sized bed might be too big. Similarly, a small bed in a huge room might make for strange aesthetics. Aim for a reasonable amount of room around your bed - enough where you can walk around comfortably. As mentioned above, get specific measurements of the area you plan to use. That way, you have peace of mind knowing your new mattress will fit in your bedroom.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS
Consider Bedroom Size

Choose a Mattress Material

This tip often comes down to personal preference. It will take a little bit of trial and error to figure out which material works best for your back - innerspring, memory foam, or latex. While your friend's and family's opinions matter, keep in mind that their mattress choice was subjective. What works for them won't necessarily work for you.

Need a quick refresher on different mattress materials? Here's a quick overview
Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS


Also called coil mattresses, innerspring beds are probably the most well-known on this short list. Innerspring mattresses are often more affordable than their latex and memory foam counterparts. These beds are ideal for people who want a lot of support and a cooler night's sleep.


This material is known for its great cooling properties and overall comfort. With latex, there are no strange off-gassing odors like you sometimes get with memory foam. Latex mattresses are ideal for people who want a responsive, bouncy feel and may have problems sleeping hot.

Memory Foam

First developed by NASA in the 70s, memory foam is probably the most popular material in the modern mattress market. Memory foam conforms to every inch of your body, giving you maximum comfort and support. Memory foam is also know for its anti-motion properties. Memory foam can be a great choice if you tend to toss and turn at night and sleep with a partner who wakes up when you do. Memory foam mattresses are ideal for people who need pressure relief, good support, and refreshing comfort.

Think About Your Back

Think About Your Back

If you have a bad back, it's crucial that you find a mattress with proper support. Slat and spring beds often offer plenty of support, but latex and memory foam options have come a long way. If you want memory foam or latex but find the support to be subpar, consider an adjustable base instead of a normal platform. That way, you can always sleep in a comfortable position that benefits your back.

Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Your Premier Furniture Store
Hattiesburg, MS

You read that right! Sleep King is the first choice for quality beds in Hattiesburg, but we also have a huge selection of furniture for your home. If you're looking for a one-stop-shop for mattresses and furniture alike, you have come to the right place. If you're shopping for a new mattress at the best price possible, why not throw in a bedroom suite at an amazing price too?

A few common furniture items that our customers love to add
to their mattress purchase include:
Mattress Store Hattiesburg, MS

Living Room Sets - from traditional-style suites with classic textures to modern sets with attractive upholstery, we will help you find the best living room set for your home.

Bedroom Suites - our bedroom suites range from contemporary to classic and come in a variety of colors and styles to compliment your new mattress purchase.

Daybeds - from English-style daybeds available in espresso and cherry colors to multi-purpose beds with pull-out trundles, our selection of daybeds is unbeatable.

Futons - if you have younger children, they will love our futons. Who are we kidding? Adults do too! Futons are incredibly useful in small spaces and convert into comfy-cozy beds perfect for kids of all ages.

Bunkbeds - bunkbeds are another great option to consider if you have kids. Whether you have a classic-style home or an apartment, we have a style that fits you.

At Sleep King, we are proud to have the lowest prices in the Lowcountry

If you like what you see but don't have time to visit our mattress store in Hattiesburg, don't worry. Our online store is bursting with new items and deals every day. From mattresses and bedding to furniture sets and special sale items, Mattress King has got it all. With the highest quality mattresses, the best prices in Hattiesburg, a giant showroom with all the options, and a full team of helpful sales associates, you won't ever need to find another mattress and furniture store again!


Latest News in Hattiesburg, MS

The Best Things To Do In Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Mississippi is a state of small towns, which means there are dozens of enchanting enclaves waiting to be discovered from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee border. Ben and Erin Napier made Laurel famous, and everyone knows about the historic charm of ...

Mississippi is a state of small towns, which means there are dozens of enchanting enclaves waiting to be discovered from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee border. Ben and Erin Napier made Laurel famous, and everyone knows about the historic charm of Natchez, but there’s another Mississippi community that it’s long past time we paid attention to. As Mississippi’s fifth largest town, Hattiesburg is home to around 48,000 people and almost 100,000 more in the surrounding area. It’s known as The Hub City, thanks to its location at the intersection of Interstate 59 and U.S. Highway 49, but the city connects much more than just major roadways. Hattiesburg is known for its impressive combination of attractions, from a vibrant local dining scene to great public art and an impactful civil rights history. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The Best Things To Do In Hattiesburg, Mississippi

A Mississippi Main Street Community and Main Street America downtown, downtown Hattiesburg should be your first stop when visiting. As you stroll the wide streets, you’ll notice pockets of color around every corner. Download a map of the HBURG Public Art Trail, and see if you can find all 100 works, which include more than 40 murals, a dozen large-scale sculptures, and 40 hand-painted utility boxes.

Other downtown destinations to visit include the Saenger Theater, a 1929 movie palace that’s been transformed into a performing arts venue, and the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, an ever-changing window display of miniatures located in a nondescript alley. The attraction also includes rotating art installations, as well as the Pocket Theater, which shows super-short films through an eye piece lodged into the alley wall. If these wonderful displays of art have you feeling inspired, head to Mohawk Steel & Glass Co. to try your hand (or should we say breath) at creating your own. The glassblowing studio offers regular classes where novices can blow their own glass flowers, paperweights, vases, and more.

One of downtown’s biggest icons is The Lucky Rabbit, a 15,000-square-foot vintage and antiques shop that’s stuffed to the gills with classic nostalgia. Inside, you’ll find classic arcade games, old drink machines, working payphone booths, and every type of home collectible imaginable. Only open on the weekends, the decade-old shop was even featured on HGTV’s Home Town as a favorite store of host Erin Napier. If you want to shop for goods and gifts from this decade, check out Walnut Square Gifts and Stationery, Main Street Books, and Sacks Outdoors.

To learn more about Hattiesburg’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, there are several stops you’ll want to make. Start at the Eureka School Civil Rights Museum, a civil rights museum that’s housed in the second brick school building for Black students in Mississippi. Pay your respects to the sacrifices of Black Mississippians at the African American Military History Museum and on the Freedom Summer Trail, a collection of markers and significant locations that together tell the story of Mississippi’s 1964 Freedom Summer via an audio tour.

Hattiesburg is a family-friendly destination, but some spots that are especially popular with the kiddos include the Hattiesburg Zoo and Hattiesburg’s portion of the Longleaf Trace. The 44-mile rails-to-trails conversion is a popular spot for walking, running, and biking. Start at the James Lynn Cartlidge Gateway, where there’s ample parking, as well as food and drink vendors, pavilions, and bike rentals.

Where To Eat In Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Hattiesburg is home to 200 locally owned restaurants, giving it more local dining options per capita than anywhere else in the state. A big part of Hattiesburg’s dining scene can be attributed to two restaurateurs: Robert St. John and Nelson Haskin. St. John has been a fixture in Hattiesburg for more than three decades. His beloved restaurants include Tex-Mex spot El Rayo; The Midtowner, where you can find blue plate lunches and breakfast served all day; Creole-inspired eatery Crescent City Grill; family-style Italian restaurant Tabella; and Ed’s Burger Joint, with its seemingly endless burger and hotdog, and sandwich options. St. John’s Mahogany Bar is all about the beer and whiskey, but also offers a great late-night menu. His newest venture, Loblolly Bakery, sees him pairing with James Beard award winner Martha Foose to bring the city both classic pastries and inventive treats.

Haskin’s restaurant collection consists of five downtown spots, each with their own vibe and speciality. Head to Bourbon on Front for an upscale steak or seafood dinner and access to the city’s only rooftop bar. For more casual eats, try the gourmet burgers at Hattiesburgers and Blues, the chicken tenders at Nellie’s Chicken and Daquiris, or breakfast at Southbound Bagels & Coffee. Take a quick trip to New Orleans with Dinner at Blue Jazz Café, where the menu is decidedly Cajun, and the live music is always flowing.

Other Hattiesburg hot spots include Birdhouse Café for a healthy but delicious lunch from Food Network Star Katie Dixon, Trattoria Pizzeria for a classic, crowd-pleasing dinner, and beloved 100-year-old diner Coney Island Café. If you’re looking for a craft brew, try Southern Prohibition Brewery, Colludium Brewing Company, or The Porter.

The Best Places To Stay In Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The Bay Bed & Breakfast is a great place to stay if you want the best of both worlds. You’ll be near enough to walk to all the action in downtown Hattiesburg, but still get to experience all the charm and homey comforts of a Southern B&B. Traditionalists can enjoy modern comforts and an industrial chic vibe at nearby Hotel Indigo. Other popular hotel chains like Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree, and Courtyard by Marriott each have Hattiesburg locations. For a serene retreat set in nature, book a tiny home or larger lake house at Longleaf Piney Resort, located 25 minutes from downtown, or make base in the rolling hills on the edge of De Soto National Forest at Whiskey on the River cabins, which is 20 minutes from downtown in nearby Petal.

Hattiesburg teen competing in USA International Ballet Competition

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg teen will be competing this weekend in the 12th USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson.16-year-old Alexei Orohovshy will be competing Sunday night. He is believed to be one of the few dancers in Mississippi to have ever competed in this competition.Alexei’s parents, Katya and Arkadiy Orohovsky, are the founders and teachers at the South Mississippi Ballet Theatre in Hattiesburg, where Alexei grew up.While Alexei said he has been competing in ballet competitions sin...

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg teen will be competing this weekend in the 12th USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson.

16-year-old Alexei Orohovshy will be competing Sunday night. He is believed to be one of the few dancers in Mississippi to have ever competed in this competition.

Alexei’s parents, Katya and Arkadiy Orohovsky, are the founders and teachers at the South Mississippi Ballet Theatre in Hattiesburg, where Alexei grew up.

While Alexei said he has been competing in ballet competitions since he was nine, his parents said he has been dancing since before he was born.

“Yeah, I was still performing when I was pregnant,” said Katya.

His parents said they encouraged him to try out for different activities when he was younger, but Alexei said his exposure to ballet intrigued him.

“I think, just over time, I realized more and more that I wanted to do it because I saw it,” said Alexei. “I think from the very beginning, it was always something kind of connection with me.”

His parents would notice his interest in competitions at an early age. His father said Alexei first said he wanted to participate in completion when he was six years old.

“When he was little, we were always competing, technically,” said Arkadiy. “And then, eventually, he started winning technical aspects, but we’re still laughing about that.”

Alexei automatically qualified for IBC after he won the Youth America Grand Prix award for the junior category last year.

“USA International Competition happens once every four years, and so this is the first year I have been eligible to compete, and thankfully I did,” Alexei said.

“It’s wonderful. I’m super excited, and it’s been great so far, and I can’t wait for the rest of it.”

Alexei will be competing on Sunday in the junior men’s category.

“As parents, we’re extremely proud of him for getting to where he is, but also as teachers, like, I feel like he represents the state really well,” Katya said.

IBC officials said 119 dancers were invited to compete this year. The 12th opening ceremony will be Saturday, and the competition will run through June 24.

Tickets for the competition can be bought on the USA International Ballet Competition’s website.

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Syphilis in MS is on the rise. What counties have the highest rates?

Former State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs recently sent out a tweet saying Forrest County's rate of syphilis cases is three times higher than Hinds County.Dobbs, who resigned from his position in July 2022 as the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be on a decline, said Forrest County — and the Pine Belt region — is a "hotbed of syphilis in Mississippi.""Docs and providers — think about syphilis in your patients," he wrote.From the data Dobbs shared on Twitter, Forrest...

Former State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs recently sent out a tweet saying Forrest County's rate of syphilis cases is three times higher than Hinds County.

Dobbs, who resigned from his position in July 2022 as the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be on a decline, said Forrest County — and the Pine Belt region — is a "hotbed of syphilis in Mississippi."

"Docs and providers — think about syphilis in your patients," he wrote.

From the data Dobbs shared on Twitter, Forrest County has the second-highest rate in Mississippi for number of cases of primary and secondary syphilis per 100,000 people in 2021, the most recent figures available. Only nearby Covington County's rate was higher. In 2020, Forrest County again had the highest rate, second to Coahoma County in the Delta.

But what does that mean? The Mississippi State Department of Health helps explain what syphilis really looks like across Mississippi.

The most recent report provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was available to review was from 2021. The figures for that year and 2020 come with a warning that the data may not paint an accurate picture.

One reason given by the CDC was the disruption of STI-related prevention and care services that started in 2020 with the surge of COVID-19 cases. The lack of available services likely continued into 2021, the CDC reported.

The 2021 rate for Forrest County was 109.1 cases per 100,000 people, just under Covington County's 109.4. Hinds County's rate in comparison was 36.4 — like Dobbs said, about a third of Forrest County's case rate.

Forrest County's 2020 syphilis rate per 100,000 people is 94.8. Coahoma County, in the Delta, is 94.9. In contrast, Hinds County's rate is 34.5 cases per 100,000 for the year 2020.

Looking at actual numbers of cases reported, Hinds County had a total of 80 cases reported in 2020, compared to Forrest County's 71. Coahoma County reported 21 cases in the same year.

Forrest County cases took a leap in 2021, reporting 85 cases to Hinds County's 81 — the first and second-highest number of cases that year. Covington County reported 20 cases in 2021.

What makes the difference in the rate vs. number of cases is the population of each county. Hinds County had around 230,000 residents in 2020 and 2021, while Forrest County reported approximately 75,000 residents during the same period. Coahoma County recorded just over 22,000 residents in 2020. Covington County's population in 2021 was about 18,300.

2019:Mississippi has the highest rate of this STD, ranks 3rd for two others

Despite possible anomalies in the reporting of syphilis cases during the pandemic, it is likely the upward trend will continue, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in an email, but that trend is not just limited to Mississippi. That trend is expected to continue, he said.

In fact, the increase in syphilis cases in Mississippi began before the pandemic, leading the nation.

"The increases in syphilis are being seen across Mississippi and are really seen nationally as well," he said. "The increases are likely multifactorial, and include better identification and reporting of cases."

In addition to better documentation of syphilis cases, social factors could be the cause of the rise in not only syphilis, but other sexually transmitted infections — like gonorrhea and chlamydia — as well.

"It is important to consider the impact of the growth of illicit drugs as well as increased use of anonymous online dating services which can lead to difficulties identifying contacts to test/treat," Byers said.

Byers, who announced he will retire at the end of June, did not specifically address why cases were going up in Forrest County or why cases in Hinds County are decreasing.

Attempts to reach other medical professionals for comment were unsuccessful.

Health report:Jackson no longer No. 1 in nation for sexually transmitted diseases. See which city is

So what is being done to fight the continued rise of STI cases in Mississippi?

Byers said much is being done at the state level.

"Maintaining public health infrastructure is important, and MSDH continues to prioritize increased staffing, increasing provider communication and support, and modifying testing requirements to limit the impact," he said.

One of the new requirements is the addition of syphilis testing during pregnancy. Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis in the first and third trimesters and again at delivery, Byers said.

"Congenital syphilis can be prevented with appropriate testing and treatment," he said. "If you are pregnant, make sure you are tested. If you test positive while pregnant, make sure you are treated appropriately with penicillin."

If left untreated, congenital syphilis can lead to long-term health problems in the child or may cause preterm birth or miscarriage.

"We are doubling down on our efforts to ensure that positive pregnant women are identified, reported to MSDH and treated," Byers said. "We are working with our partners to ensure providers are aware and understand the new testing and reporting requirements. Testing and reporting by providers is key."

Sexually active people also can do their part to prevent the spread of syphilis, Byers said. Learn about the disease and its symptoms. If you suspect you may have an STI, get tested.

"Syphilis can be treated very effectively and is easy to prevent when partners are treated," Byers said.

Symptoms of early syphilis can be a genital ulcer or a rash, which also sometimes appears on the palms or soles of feet. The rash or ulcer will go away, even if left untreated. The other symptoms will disappear over time. But that does not mean the disease itself is gone. Asymptomatic infected people can still infect others, sometimes for years after initial contact.

Nationwide, syphilis cases increased by about 30% in 2020 and 2021. Nearly half the cases reported are in men who have male sexual partners, the CDC reported. But the number of female cases is rising sharply, having increased 55.3% in 2020-21 — 217.4% from 2017 to 2021.

It is important to note that these disparities are unlikely explained by differences in sexual behavior and rather reflect differential access to quality sexual health care, as well as differences in sexual network characteristics. For example, in communities with higher prevalence of STDs, with each sexual encounter, people face a greater chance of encountering an infected partner than those in lower prevalence settings do, regardless of similar sexual behavior patterns. Acknowledging inequities in STD rates is a critical first step toward empowering affected groups and the public health community, to collaborate in addressing systemic inequities in the burden of disease — with the ultimate goal of minimizing the health impacts of STDs on individuals and populations.

More than half the cases reported in 2021 were in teens and young adults, 15 to 24.

Person of the Day | Alexei Orohovsky, Hattiesburg Ballet Dancer Representing Mississippi

Alexei Orohovsky waited in the wings for hours for his moment in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix 2022 in Tampa, Fla., trying to keep his muscles ready for the final round in the world’s largest nonprofit international student dance competition and scholarship program. He was 15, primed to dance the God of Wind variation from “Talisman,” in a situation and setting ...

Alexei Orohovsky waited in the wings for hours for his moment in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix 2022 in Tampa, Fla., trying to keep his muscles ready for the final round in the world’s largest nonprofit international student dance competition and scholarship program. He was 15, primed to dance the God of Wind variation from “Talisman,” in a situation and setting that hardly qualified as breezy.

“I was the very, very last dancer of the night,” Orohovsky said. “I had been warm for, like, four hours—trying to keep warm. I was exhausted. But I remember hearing the audience, thundering, backstage.”

Then, once onstage, it all came together for him. “Of course, there were mistakes,” he said, brushing those aside like the most minor of nuisances. After he finished, a whirlwind of applause enveloped him like a hug. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘I want this experience. I love this moment.’ I really invoked something in the audience, and I want to be able to do it again.”

He won the Youth Grand Prix, the top prize in his division, at the YAGP 2022. Just over a month later, as the youngest competitor by two years, he earned a junior men’s silver medal in the 2022 Helsinki International Ballet Competition.

Now, the dancer from Hattiesburg is fulfilling a prediction he made to his parents, that he would come here to compete in the XII USA International Ballet Competition when he was 15. He was close. The XII USA IBC was postponed a year because of the pandemic; he’s now 16, but he is the sole Mississippi competitor among nearly 100 dancers in the USA IBC.

The competition started Saturday, June 10, at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Miss., with the Gertrude C. Ford Opening Ceremony and its Parade of Nations, the lighting of the USA IBC torch, and a performance from The Washington Ballet, a company that includes many USA IBC alumni. Three successive rounds of classical and contemporary ballet competition will follow, concluding with an Awards Gala on June 23 and the C Spire Encore Gala capping the event on June 24. The 2023 competitor field features 99 dancers (down from the initially announced 120 because of injuries or travel issues) from 17 countries.

At the Jackson Convention Complex earlier this week, Orohovsky’s hair was still a bit damp with sweat from the hour-and-a-half competitor class he had just finished. He joked about feeling old at one point, dealing with a pain in his hip that had been bugging him. But his thrill about being at the USA IBC, and performing in his home state, was palpable.

Orohovsky’s first competition performance, Round 1 Session 2, began at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 11.

The dancer grew up amid the pre-professional ballet training program his parents, Arkadiy and Katya Orohovsky, started in Hattiesburg, his mother’s hometown. Both professional dancers, they founded South Mississippi Ballet Theatre in the 2009-2010 season. The ballet school serves about 50 students, drawing from a three-state area, and performs full-length ballets two, sometimes three times a year, Katya said.

“We tried very hard to keep him out of dance,” she said of Alexei, but he grew up in the studio. “My office had a baby bed in it because my husband and I teach and train together, so we’re in the studio 24-7. He was around it, but we would never let him take classes until he was about 8.” He tried soccer, baseball, gymnastics, basketball and taekwondo, too.

“We never wanted him to feel like it was forced on him or expected of him,” she said. “We are very much about letting him find his own way through things.”

Usually, with one dancer as a parent and especially with two, children are “either going to really, really love it, or they’re going to absolutely want nothing to do with it; it’s not usually an in-between,” Katya explained. Alexei fell into the “love it” camp. “We tried to treat him like any other student in the school,” she added.

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted the family’s usual summer plans to teach ballet and visit family in Europe, Alexei Orohovsky asked to take the summer off. Before the season ended, however, the Boys Ballet Summer Intensive in North Carolina had him back at the barre.

“I was very out of shape, I looked awful. I was dancing terribly,” he said. “But I realized how much I missed it, and I realized that I don’t want to be away from it. … This is something I can’t see myself living without.”

That feeling sparked his motivation to pursue dance as a career, with the goal of becoming a principal dancer at a company in Europe, where he feels the art form enjoys a deeper legacy and more stable support and appreciation.

Orohovsky recalled the USA IBC poster that was always on view in his parents’ studio, the tapes he watched of it as a child, and his first time at the event in 2014 when he was 7. He was amazed, seeing so many dancers and their level of skill “I remember thinking how cool it would be to do that one day,” he said.

The 16-year-old knows the dancers featured on IBC posters who have competed and won at that level. “I want to be one of those names,” he said.

At the 2018 USA IBC, Orohovsky told his mother, “When I’m 15, I’ll be just old enough, and I want to come back.” His training prepared him for this weekend, as he honed the skills necessary to qualify. “I was dead set on it.” While the event’s pandemic-related postponement prevented him from competing at 15, he has finally reached this long-awaited stage.

Alexei Orohovsky is among a handful of Mississippians to compete at the USA IBC since its launch in 1979—a count that includes Kathy Thibodeaux (silver medalist in 1982), Sarah Newman and Jon Drake.

Instead of pressure, the young competitor feels excited “that I’m able to represent something so great,” he said. “I love it, being in Mississippi. It’s great to have more people in my home state, especially related to ballet.”

The dancer relishes another opportunity to be on stage and share the technique, skills and artistry he has worked hard to achieve. “It also allows me to experience a great time with all my fellow competitors, many of which I have known for years,” Orohovsky said. “I get to share the love of ballet with them on a stage, and it’s so much fun.”

Should he advance to Round 3, Orohovsky will perform the world premiere of “Lament,” a powerful and introspective contemporary work that Catherine Lewellen, founder and director of highly selective Elite Classical Coaching in Frisco, Texas, choreographed. “It kind of moves me from the soul,” Alexei said of the piece. He trained with Elite Coaching during the 2021-2022 season. For the past year, he has been studying at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany.

“He’s fearless about stuff, in his training as well,” Lewellen said, with results that can go “kamikaze, like a tornado that goes crazy and it’s too much. Or, it can be this just amazing thing, like, ‘Where did that come from?’ It’s this fearlessness that I think really helps him push those boundaries and see what he can do. When it works, it works, and he skyrockets.”

“When I’m on the stage and I’m able to tell a story to the audience through my movement alone, and I’m able to invoke an emotion in the audience that I’m feeling onstage, that makes everything worth it—all the training, all the hours, the sweat, everything,” Orohovsky said. “Then, I’m able to become a true artist.”

For more information and tickets to USA IBC events and competition performances, visit

Hattiesburg names grand marshal for its annual ‘Parade of Champions’

From City of Hattiesburg Communications DepartmentHATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Earlier this year, Ernie Watson led the boys basketball team at Hattiesburg High School to its first state championship in nearly 50 years.In a few days, Watson will be at head of a parade celebrating the accomplishments of the city’s students, grade school to college.Watson was selected grand marshal for Hattiesburg’s “Parade of Champions” set to roll at 5:30 p.m. Monday in downtown Hattiesburg.The parade ...

From City of Hattiesburg Communications Department

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Earlier this year, Ernie Watson led the boys basketball team at Hattiesburg High School to its first state championship in nearly 50 years.

In a few days, Watson will be at head of a parade celebrating the accomplishments of the city’s students, grade school to college.

Watson was selected grand marshal for Hattiesburg’s “Parade of Champions” set to roll at 5:30 p.m. Monday in downtown Hattiesburg.

The parade is a city-wide initiative to celebrate all of its local school champions across both athletic and scholastic endeavors.

More than 30 groups and individuals with statewide and conference titles will participate in this year’s parade.

Representatives include title holders from Hattiesburg High, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Presbyterian Christian School, Oak Grove High School, Hattiesburg Forerunners, The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University.

“Coach Watson has been an integral part of this community, culminating in Hattiesburg High’s first boys basketball state championship in nearly 50 years,” Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said. “This season was a pinnacle for his career, and we celebrate his many years of service and mentorship by naming him the Parade of Champions Grand Marshal for 2023.”

This year, Watson led the Hattiesburg High Boys Basketball team to its third state title and, its first since 1974. During the postseason, he was named Coach of the Year by both the Mississippi High School Coaching Association and Pine Belt Sports.

Watson has served as a coach at Hattiesburg High since 2011 An USM alumnus, with a bachelor’s degree in coaching and athletic administration, Watson also holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Louisiana Tech University.

The parade will roll from Sacred Heart High School, take a right onto West Pine Street, take a right onto West Front Street, take a left onto Main Street and end at the Hattiesburg Community Arts Center.

“We hear a great deal of feedback from residents about the need to invest in programming for young people,” Barker said. “The Parade of Champions stands as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the hard work and achievements of our community’s students, whether in the classroom or on the athletic field.

“Each and every citizen should make it a priority to come out and cheer on these deserving high school and university students because they have represented their families, schools and city to the fullest.”

Residents, friends and families are encouraged to line the street along West Pine, West Front and Main streets.

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