Take a moment to meet a few of our talented dancers….

Katie: “Clara”

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

Skye: “Nutcracker”

Skye is a 15 year old Sophomore at Carmel High School. He first realized his love and passion in the performing arts when he was 7 years old.  He starred in Sleeping Beauty as the King and this inspired him to get involved in the arts. His cousin had performed locally in the Nutcracker for many years which sparked his interest in performing. He decided at the age of 8 to audition for the Nutcracker to keep the family legacy going. At this age he had no formal instructions in dance. In his first year of auditioning for the Nutcracker, he got a lead part as Fritz. This was the beginning of his journey dancing with Tia.

Tia has always instilled in him to push himself to thrive as a dancer and never give up when things get tough.  A life lesson that will carry him through in many ways. From this point, Skye submerged himself in musical theater performances.

Skye’s favorite genre of dance is ballet. He started with formal training last year. He has a love for ballet because it is challenging and helps him to focus both physically and mentally. He also likes tap to feel the beat in his feet.Skye is a lover of life. When Skye isn’t performing, he LOVES being with his friends, listening to music, skiing, biking, swimming, and spending time with family.

One of Skye’s lifelong goals has been to bring joy and happiness to the world through dance and the performing arts.  He is thrilled to be apart of this journey of the Nutcracker with his MPBT family.

Ruby: “Rose Queen”

Ruby began dancing at the age of 3 participating in her first performance of the Nutcracker that year. Since then being a part of a Nutcracker performance has been an important part of Ruby’s life and she credits those experiences as a continued spark of inspiration that feeds her passion for dance and performing. Last year’s production of the Nutcracker – being Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theater’s first production of the Nutcracker – was a highlight that showed off an improving skill as Lead Arabian.

Ruby also looks for other opportunities to expand her dancing experiences. This summer Ruby auditioned for and was accepted into the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. This month long summer intensive ballet program saw Ruby train with some of the finest ballet teachers in the Vaganova method ballet technique. Ruby gives credit to the support of her family as well as her teachers at TDC for supporting her in this wonderful experience.

Ruby is currently in the 9th grade and is enrolled in a homeschooling program through Ocean Grove Charter School, an accredited program through the Monterey School district. This program not only gives her the opportunity to concentrate on her studies but allow her the flexibility to attend to her daily dance training which sees her put in as much as 4-6 hours a day. She trains in a large variety of dance styles: ballet & pointe, contemporary, jazz, and acrobatics. Ruby also enjoys assisting her teachers in a number of classes and choreography sessions for the younger dance students. In assisting her teachers she is drawn to the myriad of skills it takes to be a dance instructor.  Even though Ruby one day dreams of a career in dance she says, “I try not to get so caught up in thinking about my future as it can block me from fully living in the present. If it was my choice I would want to have an experience in every part of the dance world: I would be a dance instructor, a choreographer, a prima ballerina, business woman, producer etc.”

Ruby is currently a proud member on TDCs competition team. This upcoming competition season you can see Ruby in a total of nine competition dances which include; TDCs Senior Team, Acro Team, Ballet Team, a contemporary solo, a classical pointe solo, and a duet. In this years production of the nutcracker Ruby will be playing the roles of Rose Queen, a Lead Snow, and a Harlequin. She is beyond excited for this years production of the Nutcracker and she can’t wait for the curtain to draw up!


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.


Elysia: “Snow Queen, Clara’s Friend, and Flower”

Elysia is a 14 year old freshman at Stevenson School and lives in Pebble Beach.  Ballet is her favorite style of dance and she has been dancing for most of her life.  She moved to Pebble Beach about two years ago from Fresno, California and started training at The Dance Center in Carmel.

Her instructors at The Dance Center, specifically Tia Brown Rosenblum, have helped her grow as a dancer exponentially.  Tia encouraged Elysia to apply to a summer intensive program for the summer of 2017 and she was very excited when she got accepted to The American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive in New York City.  At the summer intensive, Elysia was able to take classes from many amazing teachers and she learned so much during the five weeks of training.

Elysia has also been a competitive dancer since she was 9 years old.  She has competed in both groups and solos and her favorite competition has been YAGP.  This year, Elysia will compete with two solos, a duet, and she will also be on Ballet Team. 

In the 2017 Nutcracker performance, Elysia performed as a Lead Reed Pipe, a Flower, and as a Snowflake in The Nutcracker.  This year, she will be Snow Queen, a Flower, and one of Clara’s Friends.  She is honored to be able to dance in the Nutcracker once again and can’t wait to get on stage to perform.


Claire: “Reed Pipe Lead, Clara’s Friend, and Flower”

Claire is 14 years old, and a Freshman at Santa Catalina School.  Her passion for dance was ignited at the age of three with her first dance class.  In addition to ballet and pointe, Claire has studied jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, acrobatics, and hip-hop.  Claire competed on Dance Teams for 5 years, and credits that experience with teaching her the importance of teamwork, consistency, dedication, being humble, and for giving her incredible time management skills!

Claire’s first experience dancing for Tia Brown Rosenblum was in the Nutcracker seven years ago as a Baby Ballerina Doll.  Since then, she has been blessed to work closely with Tia in 5 more Nutcrackers, in many classes, as well as through her experiences competing solos and on Team.  When asked what is her favorite part of being in Nutcracker, she said, “I love the experience of performing on stage. The rehearsals are a lot of hard work, but they’re fun because I get to dance with my friends.”

Reed Pipe has always been one of Claire’s favorite parts of Nutcracker because she particularly loves the music for that section. Previously, Claire has played the roles of Spanish Lead, Snowflake, Flower, Clara’s Friend, Jr Reed Pipe, and numerous other Jr Lead and Corps roles.

When she is not dancing, Claire enjoys swimming, going to the beach, reading, listening to music, volunteering at the hospital, and her newest challenge – Water Polo!  Her favorite subjects in school are math and science, and she aspires to be a pediatric surgeon someday.  Claire lives with her parents, KC and Susanne, her sister, Madeleine, her 2 cats, Cody and Lily, and her Labradoodle, Ella.  Claire is very grateful to Tia Brown Rosenblum, Laura Jeselnick, Harmony True, Kitty Bloch, Maryann DeAngelis, and all of her dance instructors for their continuous love and support.


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”


Harmony is thrilled to be dancing in MPBTs second year of The Nutcracker. She is excited to restart her professional ballet career, as this year’s Angel Queen, after taking a few years off from her move to the Monterey area.
Harmony is in her third year of teaching at The Dance Center Carmel and is very honored to have a full schedule of training and molding a vast variety of ballet and pointe classes. She has felt nothing but, welcomed and loved at TDC by the faculty, students, and their families.
She was a principle dancer for The Civic Ballet Company of SLO for over 10 years under the artistic director of Drew Silvaggio, that was formerly ran by his mother, Lori Lee Silvaggio. Both were pillars in the dance community for the past 40 years. Harmony has been graced to dance roles such as Flower Queen, Snow Queen, and Sugar Plum multiple times, with a live orchestra. She also able to be pushed out of the element of ballet and perform in contemporary pieces such as Alice in Wonderland, sidewalk stories, Midsummer nights dream, the crucible, just to name a few. Being able to dance lead challenging rolls in each unique and original contemporary shows.
Ballet has been able to show and give Harmony an exciting life that she never thought she could obtain. Training with the New York Joffrey ballet company and traveling for almost 3 weeks in China, are just to name a few memorable experiences.

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.

Kennedy: “Lead Chinese”

Kennedy is 13 years old, lives in Carmel Valley and attends Carmel Middle School.  Her love of dance was ignited in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of three in a ballet/jazz combo class with Ms. Sally. It was Ms. Sally’s sparkle and passion for dance that captivated Kennedy. She continued to dance at the Nebraska Dance Center until age seven. While she transitioned with her family, her passion and commitment for dance never faltered. She bravely entered new studios under new instructors with each move until 2014, she finally landed on the Monterey Peninsula and fell into the hands of Laura Jeselnick. Her affection for dance continued to blossom and she was honored to become part of her first competition team in the spring of 2015. Later that year, Kennedy joined the newly formed Dance Center, and it has been her studio home since.  Competitive dancing opened a new world for Kennedy and she fell quickly in love with the spirit and challenge of competition. She continues to compete in a variety of styles and groups.

However, Kennedy was truly inspired by her very first performance last year in the Inaugural MPBT Nutcracker. It was this performance that sparked a new interest and love for ballet and performance. Last summer she attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Summer Intensive to further her ballet instruction and passion for the performing arts. Dance has become part of Kennedy’s soul. TDC is a place where she can be herself, express creativity and expel energy in a safe, nurturing environment. Currently, Kennedy spends about 20 hours a week, practicing several styles of dance. If she is not dancing, Kennedy loves spending time with her family at home or at the lake wake-boarding. She enjoys watching college football, listening to country music and playing with her pup, Bailey. Kennedy is a committed student and has maintained a straight A’s at CMS.

TDC and MPBT have offered so many incredible opportunities for Kennedy. She has been privileged to work under Tia Brown, Maryann Deangelis, Laura Jeselnick, Laura Lobo and many other talented teachers who inspire and challenge her daily not only to be a better dancer, but person.


Cecilia Yu: “Lead Chinese”

Cecilia has always loved to dance, but her love for the Nutcracker goes back to when she was a 7-year-old soccer player.  While playing goalie she successfully blocked the ball from making a goal…. with her head!  To help make the tears go away, her mom asked if she’d like to audition for that year’s Nutcracker.  All of the tutus, sparkle and makeup quickly erased all memory of cleats and shin guards! And so began her love for all things ballet. That year Cecilia appeared as a child in the party scene and in the Candy Cane Corps.  This year Cecilia is thrilled to be dancing as a Chinese Lead, a mouse, and is very excited to be dancing as a Snowflake in the Snow scene, a goal she’s had since her very first Nutcracker. 

Besides dancing in Nutcracker Cecilia enjoys spending time with her team and practicing. For the past few years she’s competed on jazz and contemporary team, adding in ballet team last year and a contemporary duo this year. Ceci is really excited for this year’s challenge of dancing both pointe and contemporary solos at YAGP. 

When Cecilia is not dancing, dreaming about dance, or talking about dance, she’s thinking about a possible career in marine science.  Last year she took part in the Monterey Aquarium’s Ocean Plastics Pollution Summit, working with classmates and teachers on ways to reduce the amount of plastics we use and, thereby reducing the harm it’s doing to our oceans.  Cecilia attributes the courage she had for her presentation to the confidence she’s gained through dance.  Having to present a project is relatively easy when compared to executing your first calypso or triple pirouette in competition!

Ceci cherishes all of the friends she has at TDC and values their support and encouragement in class and on teams.  She loves to work with her coaches, Miss Maryann and Miss Tia, who has helped her greatly reduce her bad habit of “chasing butterflies!” When Cecilia is not at TDC she’s a happy 7th grader at Santa Catalina.   At home in Monterey she loves to play with her puppy, Coco, facetime with her sister Lucy (who’s in college) or chat with her other sister Macy (also a dancer) about the latest Beyoncé song and what music might be nice to have choreographed for next year’s competition pieces. “Dancers don’t need wings to fly” –unknown

Sierra: “Ballerina Doll Lead

Sierra is 13 years old and is an eighth-grade student at Stevenson School. While in pre-school at the Children’s Creative Learning Center, Sierra dabbled in “recreational ballet.” At this young age, she enjoyed moving to music, making up dances, and putting on shows for whomever would watch.  Yet, Sierra took a break from dance to explore other sports-related activities, such as soccer, cheer/POM, and gymnastics; yet it was clear her heart longed for dance. At the age of four while watching Mary Poppins, direct from Broadway, her passion for the performing arts was ignited as there was dancing and singing.  Yet, it would take a whole year to find a local studio where she could express herself to music.  At the age of five, she began to dance at school and with a local studio, yet still only recreationally.  However, her flame began to burn a bit brighter when she was cast as a dancing duckling in Peter and the Wolf at the Outdoor Forest Theater.  She pursued theater for the next three years and was cast in James and the Giant Peach, Snow White, and Swiss Family Robinson.  During this time, she expressed interest in music and began taking violin lessons, then guitar, then trumpet.  Still, there was something missing.  In 2015, she heard about The Dance Center’s approaching grand opening. Having a bit of experience with dance, although recreationally, she was tested to determine her levels in various genres.  As a result, she was asked to participate on one of the competition teams.  Being no stranger to the stage, she readily said yes.  And that’s where her dance story really begins.  Just prior to The Dance Center’s grand opening, she participated in private ballet lessons with Laura Jeselnick and Hope Fellows three times per week to bring her up to speed in ballet and these lessons made the flame nearly inextinguishable.  After the first year of non-stop dance and competition, she had been bitten by the dancing bug.  With the guidance and push of Tia Brown Rosenblum, she elected to perform a solo during her second year of competitive dance training, which was choreographed and cleaned by Maryann DeAngelis.  Now there was really no looking back.  At the age of 10, Sierra was strong enough to go en pointe. Sierra now competes on both the Jazz/Contemporary Team and the Hip-Hop Team as well as performs solo routines and has performed a duo as well.  In 2018, she was a scholarship winner in jazz/contemporary and ballet courses taken at convention.  She enjoys classes in nearly every genre of dance – ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, acro – and is in the studio nearly seven days a week during Nutcracker season.  In the summer of 2018, she attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet where her love of ballet/technique grew immensely as did her hope to be cast as a Ballerina Doll for the 2018 Nutcracker.  She has a knack for learning choreography, being a team player, and showing up with a smile.

When not dancing, which is rare, Sierra relishes time spent with family and friends.  She enjoys her school studies, especially math and science.  She loves to travel and be adventurous, from Hawaii to Alaska to Mexico to Costa Rica to Utah and anywhere in between or around the world; yet if there’s a zip-line or a rollercoaster, her vacation is made.  Sierra also enjoys volunteering for National Charity League’s various philanthropic partners with her mom and was recognized for her volunteer activities earlier this year.

Sierra is excited to join the cast of MPBT’s second annual Nutcracker Ballet as a Lead Ballerina Doll, a Spanish Junior Lead, and a Snowflake.  She hopes to continue to get stronger in ballet and pointe so she may be cast as the Spanish Lead and be inducted into the “Tutu Dance.”  Sierra thanks The Dance Center and the Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s instructors for believing in her abilities. Here’s to a fantastically fabulous performance of the 2018 MPBT Nutcracker.

Piper: “Ballerina Doll Lead”

Piper is a 14 year-old 8th grade student at Stevenson School.  

She is currently participating in her 7th Nutcracker and she is so excited to be given the role as Ballerina Doll.  She began dancing at the age of 3 and has not stopped since.  In 2015, PIper joined the newly formed Dance Center. She was thrilled to be able to advance her dance career by joining a competition team.  

This past summer, Piper attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Summer Intensive in order to further her ballet training and technical skills.  When she is not dancing, Piper enjoys spending time with her family and playing with her little dog Luci.  

Piper is so grateful to have such amazing teachers and friends and to be a part of such a beautiful production.