Dance Kids of Monterey County is celebrating 21 years of Nutcracker onstage! From the humble beginnings in a 100 seat theatre, we have come to call the glorious Sunset Center home. Tia Brown, Nutcracker director for over ten years, creates new and exciting looks each year, challenging the 120 young dancers and adults in the cast to new technical and personal heights.
Our team has been with us for many years. Set designer Nicole Bryant-Stephans, stage manager and assistant stage manager, Carol Heiland Rosa and Trish Hatfield, lighting designer Melissa DeGiere and our beloved costume designer, Joanne Phelps, create a strong base of talent and energy needed to produce quality ballet year after year.
Hundreds of volunteer hours are required to produce this yearly holiday extravaganza. The elegant gala and silent auction kicks off the celebratory weekend and is followed by an exceptional Sugar Plum Fairy Tea on Sunday before the matinee. Kudos to the chairwomen and their tireless committees, dedicated to excellence. The classic tradition of Nutcracker is supported by incredible moms and dads, friends of Dance Kids and a strong board of directors leading the charge.
From the grace and beauty of the pre professional dancers to the youngest four year old, the cast becomes a family with the older students lending a hand to the “littles”, helping each other into the complex tutus and reviewing choreography to assure as close to perfection as possible.
It has been our joy to see the excitement on the faces of the children before the curtain rises each year.
Dance Kids Cascan Nueces 2015 project, a Latino version of the traditional European Nutcracker, is in its third year of touring. Nine mariachi musicians perform Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece re written by Salinas born, Jalisco harpist, William Faulkner, including the four divertissement from the second act and the much loved Sugar Plum Fairy solo. Folkloric dancers perform four traditional, and very different, dance styles from four different Mexican states. The Sugar Plum Fairy solo is performed by a Dance Kids ballerina in a traditional tutu, continuing the process of bridging the cultures and creating growth and understanding with the art of dance connecting diversity.
Each summer Dance Kids collaborates with the nationally recognized program, UpWard Bound. Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves: high school students from low-income families; and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. This program is housed at CSUMB.
Without the support of the Monterey Peninsula community, Dance Kids would not be able to continue its valuable programming bringing dance and the arts to the children of Monterey County. We need your help! Please donate today on this website.
With continued passion and love of the arts,
Alan and Carol Richmond
Civilizations are not remembered by their business people, their bankers or lawyers. They’re remembered by the arts.
The quote was made by an American entrepreneur Eli Broad after founding not one but two Fortune 500 companies. Co-founder of the colossal building empire Kaufman and Broad, he and his wife Edythe have committed their fortune in gifting programs benefitting the youth of America.
Dance Kids of Monterey County believes in the youth of Monterey County and supports programming for traditional ballet as well as culturally diverse learning.
Two years ago a concept to present a Latino Nutcracker was developed. Dance Kids is proud to have this VERY UNIQUE FREE program ready for a venue debut! Our Big Idea will present our bilingual Latino Nutcracker titled Cascanueces at Sherwood Hall, Salinas. The program is an interpretation of the traditional holiday favorite, with Tchaikovsky’s music re written by Jalisco harpist, William Faulker and performed by a nine piece live mariachi band. Traditional folkloric dancers perform with the Sugar Plum Fairy telling the age old fairy tale with a new twist.
Dance Kids is proud to be the recipient of funds through Monterey County Gives! Thank you to all of our friends that donated to Dance Kids programming.