2023 Lead Dancer Spotlights-
SUGAR PLUM FAIRY- CECILIA
8th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
I’m excited to see all of the changes for this production. I’m also so excited to see how the teachers highlight the best in all of the dancers. I’m also so excited to take the stage as Clara!
I participate because it’s fun and I love to dance. I especially love dancing with my friends and that the community comes together for the holiday season. Dance at its core is to connect and entertain with an audience and that is exactly what we are doing.
Dancing and performing is everything to me, I love it!! It brings me joy and also challenges me. Someday I would love to dance for a ballet company.
ARABIAN LEAD- TES
GRANDE PAS DE DEUX & CODA- KASSIA
DEW DROP- LILIANA
SNOW QUEEN- DANA
ANGEL QUEEN- KATE B.
12th Grade, Pacific Grove High School
This year I am looking forward to performing with my friends, particularly my fellow seniors. I am also excited to dance in a new scene, Angel Scene, that I have never been a part of before. I always enjoy learning new parts and dancing to music with a new character in mind.
Performing in the Nutcracker has always been one of my favorite parts of the dance year. I love the stepping back into the character of a familiar role, and even more so learning new parts to add to my repertoire. Being a part of the productions at MPBT means being a part of a huge, supportive family. We go through all of the highs and lows of performance together and it is an experience I cherish every year, and will continue to cherish even after I leave high school.
Dancing has always been a source of structure for me, a unique rhythm that operates outside of the normal stress of life. Being in the studio, I can focus on nothing but the movement. While performing has often been a challenge for me, this has only made those moments when I can truly lose myself in the dance more precious and rewarding. I will always be grateful to dance for pushing me to be stronger and more diligent, not just in class, but in all aspects of my life. I don’t ever want to stop dancing, and I will likely continue taking classes my whole life, even if I don’t have any professional aspirations.
Lillie, Mouse Queen
10th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
I’m most excited to create new friendship bonds with the cast. Nutcracker is always a great experience for me because of the bonds that I create with different people! I always enjoy laughing and smiling with the people around me and it is a great start to the holidays!
Participating in MPBT’s productions mean a lot to me because they help me grow as a dancer. The productions are always a lot of fun and they give me a sense of what dancing on stage at a company might feel like later on! I always look forward to being in the nutcracker all year and am always so excited when the time of year finally comes.
Dancing and performing mean a lot to me; it wasn’t always my passion, and I started dancing pretty late in life, but as I improved and started to create friendships. I realized how much dancing truly means to me. Dancing is my passion and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the help of all of my dance teachers! I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing opportunity to perform for all of my friends and family! My goals for dancing and performing is to keep growing as a dancer and as a friend! If I am able to keep growing and become more mature with my dancing then I will feel very accomplished with the hard work I put in! Thank you to everyone who makes this performance possible!
Amber- Lead Spanish
10th Grade, Monterey High School
I am excited to grow as a classical dancer as well as a performer this year. This is my first leading role en pointe, and I am beyond excited. In the last year I have found a new and improved love for ballet, so going into the 2023 Nutcracker with Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theater was more nerve-racking than ever. I am so thrilled to be able to showcase my hard work and love for this art form with a new passion this year. More importantly, I am thrilled to share this with the audience.
MPBT means so much to me, and the personal impact that the Nutcracker puts on my life has continued to develop for many years now. Ever since 2019, I knew that Nutcracker season was the best season. I am so honored to be surrounded by so much talent from the cast, as well as a phenomenal team. The end result is truly what brings me back year after year. It’s incredible to see all the hard work that gets put into our production, and I am left with such a full heart. MPBT is truly a family that I know I can return to each holiday season.
I have found a sense of safety and familiarity while dancing and performing. Especially in the last year, I have been able to turn to dance like never before. My time inside the studio has helped me discover the dancer I hope to become, as well as become comfortable with my own movement. In the future, I want to further my dance education in college, and spread my passion to others, whether that’s through teaching or choreographing. Not only do I want to educate, but I want to perform myself. Broadway is a large dream of mine; being a dancer on Broadway and tying my love for musical theater, acting, and dancing all in one. But also, performing for contemporary companies around the US (which there are many). I have many passions, and not exactly sure where they will take me, but I trust that I will end up doing what I love: dancing.
Payton Thompson, Lead Reed Pipe
8th Grade, Carmel Middle School
I am most excited to connect with this year’s choreography and making it meaningful.
I participate in MPBT because it’s a lot of fun and it makes me happy.it’s meaningful to me because I work hard towards performing and having fun while doing it.
Dancing is my whole life and when I perform on stage and in the studio it just adds so much excitement and happiness to my life. My goal is to someday be snow queen and sugar plum fairy and for just dancing in general I hope that someday I can win first place at YAGP and that I can amaze myself with my dancing someday.
RACHEL, LEAD REED PIPE
Monterey Peninsula College
I’m most excited for the special opportunity to share my love of ballet with all those who come to watch the performance and perhaps even foster a love and appreciation for ballet in those who haven’t seen a ballet before. After all, it’ll always be somebody’s first Nutcracker!
I participate in the Nutcracker because there’s something incredibly special about working hard on something that you know will metamorphose over the weeks into such a beautiful production. I am always very impressed with every single dancer there, and in all of the hard work and tears that goes into it.
To me, ballet is more than the movement itself and the challenge that it provides—it’s the self expression and meditative aspect that bring me so much joy. When you dance, you are solely focused on ballet and there is a unique kind of freedom that sort of focus. And I love to perform since it is a chance to share this self expression with others and tell a story that is so much bigger than myself.
LEAD REED PIPE- ELLA
Violet, Lead Reed Pipe
12th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
This year will be my last Nutcracker performance, and I am especially thrilled to be able to show how I've grown in ballet through performing the role of Lead Reed Pipe. This last opportunity will be also be memorable for me because I began my Nutcracker journey 2 years ago as a Garland in Waltz of the Flowers, and this year I get to dance the more challenging role as a Flower in the same scene!
I love participating in MPBT's productions because of the amazing community that allows me to grow and thrive as a ballet dancer, and the way I able to challenge myself. The instruction and as genuine care and I've received from the teachers is so meaningful to me, as well as the lasting relationships I have built with my fellow dancers.
Dancing to me means having something to work hard on and become better at, always pushing myself to accomplish the next small step as I try to reach the never-perfected art of ballet. I'm very thankful that I have so many opportunities to dance and perform, and so I always try to embrace the chance to improve and try my hardest whenever and wherever I can. The satisfaction and joy onstage are always so worth the difficult moments of getting there, and the feeling of wearing a tutu immersed in the gorgeous Nutcracker scenery completely makes it worthwhile!
Madison, Lead Candy Cane
12th Grade, Pacific Grove High School
I am excited to perform with my friends on stage and watch the growth of all of the people in this production.
I participate in MPBT’s productions because performing on stage for the public is a combination of all the hard work I’ve put in over the years and I’m excited for my final performance as a senior.
I love being a part of collaboration, community, and creativity all in one place. When I graduate I am planning on majoring in dance, so I can continue to grow and do what I love. I will hopefully continue dancing throughout my life.
Meg, Lead Candy Cane
Monterey Peninsula College
I am most looking forward to sharing a lead role with some of my closest friends.
I love the family of dancers that surround MPBT and make everything happen
I love that performing and dancing is a way that I can entertain my audience and I love being apart of that. My goal is my dream, to choreograph so I can share my love of dance and entertainment with many other dancers.
Lauren, Lead Candy Cane
11th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
I am so excited for Nutcracker season! I have always loved Nutcracker. I am really excited to perform with my other lead candy canes, Meg and Madison! I am also really excited to be back on the stage doing what I love!
I participate in MPBT's Productions because I love the community that comes with it. I love being surrounded by so many amazing people who love the same thing that I do. We are just a big community of people who love to dance and I always feel welcomed in MPBT.
I have been dancing since I was 2 years old and I have always loved it. My mom used to dance and I loved watching her in the Nutcracker when I was a little kid. I love performing because I love preparing for the performance and acting while I am performing, especially in Nutcracker because there are so many different roles that I could possibly be and Candy Cane happens to be my favorite. I was a junior candy cane a few years ago and I am so excited to be a Lead Candy Cane with some of my best friends! My goal as a dancer is to continue on through college. I would love to be apart of Body Traffic which is a modern contemporary program based in Los Angeles, California. My biggest goal would be to become a Rockette in New York City. I have always been one of the tallest people in dance and I think it would be great to be a Rockette! I can't wait to have fun this year with the other candy cane leads and I am so excited for this Nutcracker season!
SUMMER, LEAD BALLERINA DOLL
10th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
I’m excited to play such a unique and memorable role.
I love the experience that comes with being part of MPBT’s Productions. I love performing and doing iy with all my close friends.
I hope to take what I’ve learned about dance and performing and pass it on to others. I aspire to be a choreographer or instructor for dance and hopefully continue performing for as long as I can.
ALICE, LEAD BALLERINA DOLL
12th Grade, Robert Louis Stevenson School
I am especially excited for my role this year since it is my senior year, so it will be my final Nutcracker. I am also excited to be a ballerina doll, as I really enjoy being in the party scene. As well as the snow scene again, because the snow falling on stage is always a fun experience for both the audience and everyone on stage.
I participate in MPBT's Nutcracker because I think it's a fun way to spend the holiday season and get in the spirit of things. I also used to go to the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker growing up and really enjoyed it so it's very cool that I get to participate in a Nutcracker of my own.
I really enjoy dancing and performing on stage, and it is a unique experience that not everyone gets to have. I hope to continue dancing next year when I go to college.
AUDREY, LEAD CHINESE
11th Grade, Monterey High School
I am most excited to get to perform at the Sunset Center and get to see all of our hard work pay off. I also always look forward to spending time with my friends during rehearsals and backstage, it’s so exciting to see myself and them grow in this experience. Lastly, I love getting to see all the scenes get put together and how the production ends up looking all together.
I’ve been participating in the MPBT Nutcracker since their first one in 2017, so I’ve grown up with it which makes it so special. The memories I’ve created with it are so important to me and it’s really not the holiday season without Nutcracker. It’s such a memorable time that I get to spend with friends that I love are so special. I also love rewatching each year’s Nutcracker performances and seeing how I’ve grown and changed as a dancer.
Dancing and being able to perform on stage has helped shape me not only as a dancer, but also built my character as a person. I’ve been doing dance and music performances since I was little, so it’s a part of me that I can’t imagine my life without. I hope to gain life lessons and experiences from performing and dance.
Mary, Lead Chinese
9th Grade, Yosemite Valley Charter School
I’m most excited to show how much I’ve improved in ballet.
I get to do something I love while making people happy. It’s an amazing feeling when you look out and see that the audience is having a great time.
Dance is a way to express my emotions. I tend to be a person who isn’t very vocal, so dance is a great outlet for me. I am athletic and love how dance combines both movement and music. Community has always been important to me, and MPBT‘s Nutcracker provides a community of great fun and enduring friendships. I look forward to participating in the Nutcracker for many years to come.
JANIE MARIE, LEAD CHINESE
11th Grade, Los Gatos High School
I am most excited to get to be a lead with others and work hard to be able to show my best on stage.
I participate because I love the community and getting a chance to show my talents and perform.
Dancing to me means to be able to express myself and strive to be better. I hope to continue to dance after I graduate whether it's for fun or professionally.
Anna, Lead Chinese
10th Grade, Carmel High School
I am really excited to get to dance with so many kind, talented, and amazing people. Also, I am looking forward to getting to advance my dance and performance skills with a lead role this year.
I love the opportunity MPBT gives dancers to share their passion for the art form with the community. I think the shows inspire an interest and appreciation for Ballet and help keep dance alive. Also, I love how supportive all the people who are part of MPBT are, and how everyone works hard to create such an amazing experience for the audience and all the dancers in it.
Ballet has always brought me so much joy, and I love how performing allows me to share the happiness I feel when I dance with others. One of my goals is to inspire a similar love of dance in others through my performing. I also want to keep the art form alive through the work I do teaching Ballet to young dancers.
Crystal, Lead Chef
10th Grade, Monterey High School
This year I am most excited to be a lead for the first time. I’m ready to show my family and friends how much I’ve grown. My first year being part of MPBT’s Nutcracker, I was a corp role as a baker in Mother Ginger. Now, I’m a lead in the same scene. The chef scene in the Nutcracker has always been one of my favorites, because it’s so happy and fun to perform and watch, so I’m very happy to be part of it this year.
Being in MPBT’s productions is like being part of a big family. Everyone is so sweet and supportive. There are so many extremely talented dancers and I love working with them all.
For me, dancing and performing is a big way I express myself. I love the feeling of being on a big stage with my friends and getting to dance in front of an audience. It’s so much fun to become a new character on stage and help to tell a story. I hope to continue dancing and performing with MPBT through high school.
Emory, Lead Chef
8th Grade, Stevenson School
I am most excited about being in the mother ginger scene because I have never been in it and I love the music.
I participate in them because I love to perform the nutcracker and it is very fun.
I love to perform because it is really fun, and it brings joy to so many people
Abby, Lead Chef
7th Grade, All Saint’s Day School
This year I'm most excited about having my first lead role in the Nutcracker.
I participate in MPBT's Nutcracker because I love being on stage, performing with my friends and enjoying the Nutcracker music. I also participate because Christmas wouldn't feel right without the Nutcracker. Ever since I was 7, I've always looked forward to dancing in the Nutcracker and without it, Christmas wouldn't feel like Christmas!
When dancing and performing, I get to express everything I learn and feel into my movement. Doing so makes me feel proud about myself and how I could influence someone to love ballet as much as I do. My goals for dancing are to improve in class and on stage, and to continue dancing in the Nutcracker for years to come.
LEAD CHEF- STELLA
Audrey, Lead Chef
8th Grade, Carmel Middle School
I am most excited to be in such a big, fun and exciting scene. This year will not be my first time in Act 2 Mother Ginger Scene and I love how the music cheers up the audience. All together it is such a fun and positive experience and I also love the way that I can improve my performance skills.
I love taking part in MPBT's productions because there are so many positive things I can say towards it. I choose to participate because the Nutcracker has become an annual tradition for me and my family. I have grown so much and have made so many good friends.
Performing has almost always been a part of me. I have danced longer than I can remember and have loved it ever since. One of my dreams is to dance with the Royal Ballet.