Dance Kids of Monterey County is celebrating more than 20 years of “The Nutcracker” on stage! From the humble beginnings in a 100-seat theater, we have come to call the glorious Sunset Center home. Our team has been with us for many years. Set designer Nicole Bryant-Stephans, 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, who are all dedicated to excellence. The classic tradition of “The 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 4-year-old, the cast becomes a family, with the older students lending a hand to the “littles,” helping each other into their complex tutus and reviewing choreography to assure everything is 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 of Monterey County’s Cascan Nueces project, a Latino version of the traditional European “Nutcracker,” is in its fourth year of touring. Nine mariachi musicians perform Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece rewritten 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 of Monterey County 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.