Take a moment to meet a few of our talented dancers….
Katie is 16 years old and a junior at The Stevenson School. She began dancing at the age of three. After taking a break from dance at age nine to travel to over 60 countries around the world as well as to play several team sports, she returned to her passion for ballet when she was 12. During her travels, she was especially inspired by watching the Bolshoi Ballet perform Swan Lake in St. Petersburg, Russia. She trained at the Florida School for Dance Education in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and participated in their annual dance performances.
Two years ago, Katie moved to California and began her first year under the instruction of Tia Brown Rosenblum at The Dance Center (TDC). She also competed at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and several other dance competitions. For the past two summers, Katie has participated in Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s (CPYB) 5-week program in order to improve her artistic and technical skills.
Last year, Katie was thrilled to perform in MPBT’s first inaugural Nutcracker as the Rose Queen, Clara’s friend and a snowflake. The hard work, dedication, and camaraderie developed with her fellow dancers in this first performance proved to be an extremely rewarding experience for Katie.
Katie’s reaction to the news that she was cast as this year’s Clara was “I can’t believe it,” with tears in her eyes. She is humbled to have been chosen for this role and hopes that her passion for dance will shine through during this performance. Katie concludes, “I am grateful and thankful for the inspiration from TDC, especially Tia who continues to motivate me to exceed my own expectations.”
Katie lives in Pebble Beach with her parents, John and Lynda, her twin brother, Jack, and her beloved white golden retriever, Laddie.
Grace: “Sugar Plum Fairy”
Grace is a 17 year old high school Junior who is currently pursuing her education Monterey Peninsula College in order to provide more flexibility for her dance training. Her love of dance began at the early age of 4.
As a competitive dancer, beginning at the age of 9, Grace has enjoyed both being a dance team member as well as competing multiple solos at the countless competitions she has participated in. Her success in competitive dance has led to numerous awards and recognition both as a team member as well as an individual soloist.
Grace trains in multiple genres of dance including ballet, jazz, and contemporary. Her dance training regimen consists of 4-6 hours of dance per day, 6 days a week. She also incorporates swimming (another passion) into her schedule when time permits. While pursuing her most beloved focus, ballet, Grace has spent the past five summers as a student at ballet intensives across the country. These include: The American Academy of Ballet in New York, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet Academy, Colorado Ballet, and Ballet West. She believes that the opportunity to study and train at these ballet intensive programs, combined with the incredible mentorship and support she has received from Tia Brown Rosenblum, has enabled her to become the dancer she is today.
Grace feels that her early years of participating in the Nutcracker productions have served as natural stepping stones for the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which she is honored to play in this year’s Nutcracker. A pivotal moment in her dance career occurred during her 7th grade year. Her “dream came true” as she was awarded the role of Clara. It was then that Grace truly understood her passion for performing. “I am forever grateful to my parents for providing me the opportunity to dance, and to Tia for being such an incredible mentor to me for the past 8 years,” said Grace. “She has not only helped build my foundation in dance, but she has also helped me to achieve some of my biggest dreams and aspirations.” While her biggest aspiration is to dance for a professional ballet company, she can also see her
Norah: “Dew Drop”
Norah is 13 years old and homeschools through Ocean Grove Charter School. She began dancing at the age of two and hasn’t stopped since! Norah appreciates all of her incredible teachers at The Dance Center, who have helped her along her dancing journey by being so supportive and motivating.
This is Norah’s fourth year participating on two of TDC’s competition teams. This will be her first year performing with TDC’s Ballet Team, which she is thrilled to be a part of. She adores performing and is continuously inspired by the talent of her teammates.
“I have been anxiously awaiting the start of this year’s Nutcracker. After last season, I missed it so much! Participating in the Nutcracker is now a huge part of my annual holiday season!” said Norah
This is Norah’s second year performing in the Nutcracker. Last year, she danced the role of Clara and loved every second! This year, she is ready to bring her excitement and passion to the roles of Dewdrop, Clara’s Friend, and a Lead Snowflake.
Norah’s favorite school subjects are writing and history. When she isn’t dancing, she loves to spend time reading and writing, baking, and hanging out with her friends. She wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps and become a Physical Therapist, hopefully working with professional dancers.
Norah lives in Seaside with her loving parents, Sarah and James, brother, Evan, and little dog Max.
Grace: “ Lead snow, Reed Pipe Lead, and Flower”
Grace is a 13-year-old, currently, an 8th grader attending Carmel Middle School. She recently moved from Los Angeles. Grace found her passion for dance at 9 years old and never once thought about quitting or becoming recreational. Ever since 9 years old she has been pushing herself every day to become a professional dancer. For 3 years she has danced 25-30 hours a week on top of schooling.
She has attended multiple summer dance intensives, auditioned for Joffery San Francisco two years ago, and went that summer. Last year she auditioned at The Joffrey Ballet School again hoping for a scholarship to study at Joffery New York. She was awarded a 50% scholarship to both the ballet and contemporary/jazz intensives. She has also previously trained at Degas Dance Studio’s summer intensives for 4 years.
Grace is a very well rounded dancer in many styles. Not only has she been training in Ballet, she has trained in contemporary, jazz, hip hop, tap, jazz funk, horton, flamenco, modern, musical theater, choreography composition, and improvisation.
Grace has competed at YAGP in Huntington Beach for 3 years in a row and this year will be her 4th year. She has been performing variations ever since the age of 11 years old and contemporary solos since the age 10.
She is very excited to be dancing with The Dance Center and Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre!
Danielle: “Reed Pipe Leads, Snowflake, Flower”
Danielle is 14 year old and a freshman at Carmel High School. She danced for a year or so when she was five. However, she stopped dancing until fourth grade when she rekindled her love for dancing under the mentorship of Emily Freeman at Hidden Valley. After a year of ballet with Emily, she was ready to take pointe classes with Tia Brown at The Dance Center. She also began taking classes from a variety of teachers with different styles and methods including Kitty Bloch, Harmony True, Amanda Spencer, Michelle Netzlof-Luna, and Hope Fellows.
Kitty Bloch informed her students about an intensive in Italy called the World Dance Movement that she has taken part in for many years. Danielle was inspired and she and her parents decided to travel to Italy for the two week intensive. Danielle got a new perspective on dance and was further inspired to learn about styles other than ballet. After that summer she began taking some contemporary ballet and modern classes. In 2017 she auditioned for the Nutcracker for the first time and
In 2017 she auditioned for the Nutcracker for the first time and danced the role of Ballerina Doll alongside Sage Bueler as well as a snowflake and a flower. This was a wonderful way to improve her skills as a dancer and performer. This year, she is not only performing in the Nutcracker but also competing for the first time in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). She is very grateful for the guidance and love from Tia Brown and Laura Jeselnick and the push to try something new this year. She is especially excited to be cast as one of the reed pipes as well as a snowflake and flower. She was immediately interested in that role last year because of how graceful and challenging the role appeared to be.
When Danielle is not dancing, she also enjoys taking part in other artistic endeavors including singing in her school’s choir and honor choirs. Although dancing and singing have obvious differences both require focus, intensity, and creativity which are qualities that Danielle thrives on. Danielle also got involved with visual art for the first time and posed for a sculpture done by Paige Bradley. She is excited to continue performing, growing, and taking as many opportunities as she can to expand her knowledge of artistry and performance.
Harmony: “Angel Queen”
Melina: “Lead Arabian, Lead Snowflake, Flower”
Melina is a 16 year-old Senior at Stevenson School. Three years ago, with no knowledge of ballet, Melina decided she finally wanted to pursue dance after wanting to for years. She initially started taking private lessons with Laura Jeselnick, and then Tia Brown, who both believed strongly in Melina and brought her up to speed. Melina is thankful to all the teachers who have formed her into the person she is today in the past three years, as she awaits college in the next year.
Melina has been on TDC’s Ballet Team and performing classical solos since her Sophomore year and is not only excited for the upcoming season, but is ecstatic for Nutcracker rehearsals to start.
This is Melina’s second year in the Nutcracker, performing as the Arabian Lead, Snowflake, and Flower. Last year, she performed as a Reed Pipe Lead, Snowflake, and Flower, and learned greatly from the experience. “I am so grateful to the teachers who have pushed me to where I am today. Three years ago I would not have imagined applying to colleges as a double major pursuing dance.Without their encouragement I would not have found my true passion.”
Outside of dance, Melina’s favorite subjects are AP Economics and AP Calculus. She desires a career as a trauma surgeon one day in Washington D.C. In her free time, she fosters puppies and kittens who are either ill or are in need of a place to stay until they can be placed in a forever home through the Animal Friends and Rescue Project. Melina lives in Pebble Beach with her father, mother, her two cats, Little Dude and Pebble, and two dogs, Zoe and Bentley. Her sister, Elaine, just left for college at San Francisco State this fall.
Chloe: “Lead Spanish”
Chloe is sixteen years old and a junior at Pacific Grove High School. She has been dancing since she was three and has studied ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary. Her love of the contemporary/lyrical genre was aided when she was in the fifth grade and was selected as the lyrical student of the year by Laura Jeselnick. It was a surprise to both herself and her parents! However, it was not until the opening of the Dance Center that Chloe became more serious in her dancing. She has been a part of the competition teams for the past four years. She has danced various group dances, a trio, and a duet, but this past season she competed her first ever contemporary solo. Her love of being on stage stems strongly back to her first Nutcracker when she was five years old.
Chloe has so many great dance memories but one of her favorite memories was being evaluated and encouraged by Tia Brown Rosenblum to go on pointe. Although she did not realize all of the hard work it would entail, she has been pleased with the results.
This year will mark her ninth year dancing in the Nutcracker. Last year was her first Nutcracker on pointe in the roles of Soldier Doll and Snowflake. This year will also mark her first year in a tutu role as Spanish and she hopes to gain entry into the “Tutu Lounge”. Chloe will also be dancing as a Snowflake and a Flower. One of Chloe’s favorite Nutcracker moments was being selected as the Naughty Bon Bon not once, but twice!
When Chloe is not dancing she can be found volunteering with the Teen Conservation Leader program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She has accumulated over 300 hours since she started two years ago. What she enjoys most about volunteering is sharing her love of the ocean and its inhabitants with people from around the world. She has also been able to be a leader in the Young Women in Science program, which mentors middleschool girls and helps them develop a love for the ocean sciences and self confidence. This summer she became dive certified so that she could gain a “fish eye’s view” of what she loves. She hopes to study Marine Biology in college (hopefully in Hawaii).
Chloe lives in Pacific Grove with her parents Doug and Tammy, and her loving dog Coco. She also has an older brother Calvin who is a sophomore at UCSC.
Nina: “Lead Candy Cane”
Ten years ago, a five year old little girl watched a magical movie called Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses ; a magical movie that changed her life. As soon as she watched, in awe, the dancers in the film, she knew she wanted to dance forever. Ever since she was that five year old little girl, Nina has loved dance more than anything in the world.
After Nina’s first year of dance, her mom signed her up to be a cast member in her studio’s annual Nutcracker, and at first, Nina did not want to do it. However, after rehearsing for and performing in her first Nutcracker, Nina fell in love with it just the way she did for dance. Nina has done Nutcracker every year since her first, except for one, which she deeply regrets. In fact, Nina even has a countdown for how many days until the first show this year, and was previously counting down the days until auditions!
Along with participating in the annual Nutcracker, Nina is on The Dance Center’s ballet, tap, and jazz/contemporary competition teams, and takes ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, tap, and acro classes. Nina feels extremely inspired by her amazing coaches: Tia Brown Rosenblum, Laura Lobo, Maryann DeAngelis, Harmony True, and Pam Keindl; as well as her past instructors: Laura Jeslenick, Amanda Spencer, Kitty Bloch, and many others. Nina also feels blessed and honored to dance in such a supportive environment with the most supportive of friends. “The Dance Center is a second home, and the people there are a second family.”
Nina is beyond excited to be a lead Candy Cane this year, and get to wear her first pancake tutu! “It’s like getting your first pair of pointe shoes, or getting a lead in Nutcracker for the first time; it’s the best feeling ever!” Nina is so thankful for her supportive friends, family, her dance coaches, and most importantly, Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses for inspiring her as a dancer.
Sage: “Lead Candy Cane, Snowflake, Flower”
Sage is fourteen years old and a freshman at Monterey High School. Her love for dancing took root at the ripe age of five and has only blossomed since. Though she has studied jazz, contemporary and ballet; pointe has stolen her heart and continues to be the focus of her dance endeavours at TDC. With the faith and encouragement of her instructor, Tia Brown, Sage has been able to be apart of the jazz contemporary and ballet team as well as being able to perform a variation from Coppelia in the Youth American Grand Prix Dance Competition.
Alongside this, Sage has performed in a variety of group dances as well a trio and solos. Her passionate pursuit of the stage was watered as she performed as the Ballerina Doll in the in the festive 2017 Nutcracker Showcase and she looks forward to keeping this traditional favorite alive this year in the role of the Lead Candy Cane. She will also be seen onstage as a Snowflake and Flower. Outside of dance, her creative ebb continues to flow in various forms of art. When asked of her reflections as she continues out her dancing career Sage states that while dance is a form of expression, it is “her source of focus and discipline,” teaching her how to work hard in light of obstacles knowing the efforts go towards a rewarding goal: showtime.
Andrea: “Mouse Queen, Harlequin, Snowflake”
Andrea is a thirteen-year-old eighth grader at Buena Vista Middle School. She has been a passionate and dedicated dancer since she was three. Thanks to her inspiring teachers at the Dance Arts studio, she has grown up to embrace learning and performing all styles of dance.
Andrea has been a competitive dance member for four years and is delighted to join the Senior Jazz Contemporary team and Teen Acrobatics team at The Dance Center this year. Since being welcomed into the TDC family this summer, Andrea has been consistently challenged to surpass her potential by her dynamic, motivational instructors. Andrea is beyond grateful for the masterful guidance and expertise she has already received from Tia Brown Rosenblum, Maryann DeAngelis, Laura Lobo, Laurel Weingand, and Meghan Daly. In addition, she feels fortunate to be dancing and performing with her exceptional teammates!
This is Andrea’s fifth year dancing in a Nutcracker production. She has enjoyed her roles as a lamb, snow maiden, elf, flower, child, rat, snowflake, soldier doll, “Waltz of the Flower” dancer, and “Tre Pak” acrobat. She is beyond thrilled and grateful to dance in the 2018 Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker in the roles of Mouse Queen, Harlequin Doll, and Snowflake.
In her free time, Andrea loves entertaining her family with her new dance routines and acrobatic tricks. She cherishes time spent with her parents, two older sisters, Annabella and Alexa, close friends, and, of course, her two “doodle dogs.” She loves learning about science in school.