Take a moment to meet a few of our talented dancers and find out Why THEY Choose MPBT….

Skye: 2019 “Nutcracker”

Throughout my past 16 years, the last 2 years have probably been the most rollercoaster, knock down, and build up ride of my life. The reason why I dance and love dancing so much is because it allows me to express myself without talking. It doesn’t just challenge me physically but dance also challenges me mentally which is the main reason why dance is such an escape and love of mine. In the last 2 years, but especially the past 6 months, I have struggled with many unexpected difficulties. During one of my hardest times, MPBT Nutcracker cast was there to help me stay strong and fight. The lovely MPBT founder Tia Brown has been by my side for the past 8 years and has been one of my main
supporters who has been there for me, not just as an amazing dance teacher, but as a life mentor. Being apart of the MPBT production as the Nutcracker with Tia has truly been so special and she has taught me so many things that will stay with me for the rest of my life. As Jalaluddin Rumi said “Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

Norah: 2019 “Snow Queen”

When I was two years old, I had amazing experience. I attended my first ballet class and LOVED it! I could wiggle all I wanted and shake out all of my toddler energy. When it was time to perform an Itsy Bitsy Spider dance we had learned I couldn’t wait to… stomp off my shoes and do half of the choreography. In time, dancing (especially ballet) became my biggest passion. I would not be where I am as a dancer if not for my incredible teachers: Laura Lobo, Laura Jeselnick, Maryann DeAngelis, Pam Keindl, Harmony True, and Tia Brown.

 Not all of my life has been as fantastic as that carefree recital. Juggling my schoolwork, volunteering at the Aquarium, and dancing fills up a huge part of my week. When the stress of the sheer amount of activities I participate in starts to become overwhelming, I turn to dance to express my emotions and dance all of my stress away. Channeling my stress into my art form has really helped me control my anxiety about school and volunteering.

Another aspect of my life that has been greatly affected by dance is my shyness. As a little girl, meeting new people, having a new teacher, and auditioning for a team, made me feel really nervous and usually caused me to not take those incredible opportunities. Thanks to my amazing Dance Center and Monterey Pennisula Ballet Theatre families I have overcome those fears and have learned how to use dance to express how hard those auditions, meeting new people, and learning from a new teacher, are for me.

 This year I am so honored to be stepping into the role of Snow Queen. It has been a dream of mine to one day perform this role and I am thrilled that this dream will be coming true! I can’t wait to be part of the party scene as one of Clara’s Friends and also as a Flower in the Land of Sweets! All I hope to do is bring a smile to at least one shy little girl in the audience that may one day step onto the stage and shine.  

 I live with my magnificent mother who is always making sure to get me to classes and rehearsals on time, my amazingly committed father who always loves to reprise his role of the man behind the Christmas tree, my loving and supportive little brother Evan, and my adorable dog Max. This is the dream that a two-year-old, in pigtails that stomped off her ballet shoes, never imagined coming true.


Evan: 2019 “Mouse Queen”

My name is Evan, I’m a fourteen year old sophomore at Carmel High School, originally from Long Beach, California. In sixth grade we left home and moved to Carmel, this was incredibly hard considering I didn’t know any of the other kids or the campus. I felt like an outsider looking in until I came to The Dance Center. Everyone was welcoming and kind and I wanted to spend as much time there as I could; however, I was struggling to focus in school and keep up with my classes and as a result, had to lighten my time at the studio, where I had begun to make important and lasting friendships. 

Thankfully, come eight grade with determination and support, I was able to develop the habits needed to help me succeed in my classes and incorporate more dance back in my life. With Nutcracker auditions approaching last year I knew I wanted to overcome my struggles with self-confidence and learn to stand out instead of hiding in the back and fearing I would be noticed. To do this I started working harder and getting more comfortable with my movement which led me to feeling much better about myself and landed me with my first lead role, Soldier Doll! 

Growing this confident mindset and seeing the results through my dance gave me the motivation to continuously better myself throughout this entire year which has prepared me to now have the lead role of Mouse Queen! I am so grateful to MPBT for the opportunity to play this part, and to all of the teachers who have helped me along the way to being here. This Nutcracker season is going to be amazing.

Sage: 2019 “Reed Pipe Lead”

My name is Sage and I am a 14 year old sophomore at Monterey High School.  I can say that in my life I have found my power through dance. While a lot of teenage girls go through cycles of ups and downs, I know that I am an athlete so I support myself and train for my sport. This emphasis on being strong and developing the muscles needed to excel in advanced movements has kept my relationship with my body positive. Behind every pretty ballerina is a solid foundation. Motivated by my desire to improve my strength as a dancer before Nutcracker season I attended a summer intensive and trained the hardest I have in my life. Rising to these challenges to prepare for MPBT’s production has enabled me to showcase that I am not just a delicate girl. I am a powerful athlete. This year I am a Lead Reed Pipe and I look forward to bringing my role to life in this holiday production. 

Chloe: 2019 “Reed Pipe Lead”

I have always loved to dance. When I was little I would get into trouble for being so “wiggly”. I always took this ability to move for granted and would use it as my coping mechanism for anything going on in my life, good or bad. I would celebrate by dancing, calm my fears by dancing and just live my life through dance. Then a couple of years ago I hurt my knee dancing-not even doing anything huge-just a drag step and bam! There it was dislocated knee cap, knee immobilizer, crutches and weeks of physical therapy. This was about five weeks before recital and I believed that I could make it back to dance in a couple of days. Wow was I wrong! I realized that what I loved so much could be taken away really quickly. The road back was so challenging, what I missed most was my ability to move my way through my day with ease and freedom. It felt like missing recital was missing the “big game” and I had to dig deep to learn other ways to channel whatever I was feeling. I came back to dance the week before the inaugural Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theater Nutcracker auditions. I had been out for two and a half months and really didn’t know if I could make it back but Tia knew me better than I knew myself and gave me two pointe roles that tested me and reminded me that nothing worth doing is easy. Since then I have never taken my dancing for granted. I am a Senior so this year will be my final Nutcracker. I will leave knowing that not only have I grown through the times when I have danced but especially the times when movement has alluded me. 

Arielin: 2019 “Reed Pipe”

My name is Arielin, I’m sixteen years old, and for fourteen of those years I’ve danced. I can’t really imagine my life without dance, at this point it has become a part of me, and I wouldn’t be me without it. I’ve also been homeschooled for nearly all of my life, so dance has been the only place I’ve been able to make longlasting friends.

This year I decided to make a big change. I switched from the studio I had been dancing at for five years to The Dance Center. I left the friends I had made and all that was comfortable to me. It was and is really hard for me, but Tia and everyone at Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre and The Dance Center has been so welcoming to me.  I’m so excited to spend the next two years before I graduate as part of the MPBT and TDC families. 

Katie: 2019 “Lead Candy Cane”

Dance has deeply affected my life and is helping me grow into the person I am supposed to be. As an introvert, it has been very difficult for me to express myself. Dance allows me the freedom to convey who I am and how I feel through movement. Dance also pushes me out of my comfort zone, which has challenged me and given me opportunities to mature as a person. I can’t imagine my life without it. I love to dance because it inspires me and brings me so much joy! I feel blessed to be part of the Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theater for my third year and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so incredibly beautiful!