Mount Madonna Students and Parents to Perform in SCBT’s “Nutcracker”

Mount Madonna School (MMS) students Milana Beck, 5th, Riley Butler, 6th, and Amelia Busenhart, 8th, will be dancing in Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre’s (SCBT) upcoming production of the “Nutcracker,” December 14, 15, and 16 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. 

Milana, a dance student with The Studio in Santa Cruz since she was five, will perform in her fourth SCBT “Nutcracker.” This year she is cast in five roles: Ginger Snap, Page, Party Girl, Chinese Tea dancer, and the mischievous and sassy character of Baby Mouse.

 “I’m so happy when I’m dancing,” explains Milana. “I love the costumes, the people and excitement; and dancing is a lot of hard work.” Milana would really like to dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and hopes to one day be cast in this coveted role. 

Riley’s been studying dance for seven years, and this upcoming show also marks her fourth “Nutcracker” with SCBT. She will perform the lead role of Clara.

 “I’m looking forward to being a solo artist in this role and dancing with the guest artists, Melody [Mennite] and Joseph [Walsh] from the Houston Ballet,” comments Riley. “The choreography is brand new, elaborate and fun to do. The character of Clara is a young teenager, a little spoiled but very sweet. It is Christmas time and friends come and her favorite Uncle Drosselmeyer brings all these great gifts, especially the nutcracker. She has a grand dream that takes her to a magical place with many characters performing just for her in the Land of the Sugar Plum fairies.”

 Amelia has been dancing with SCBT, on the Petite Company, and now Junior Company, for six years. She has been with the artistic directors and The Studio for eight years. Amelia will dance in the role of Ballerina Doll.  

“When I dance, I feel complete,” shares Amelia. “I can’t imagine my life without dance.”

“I enjoy entertaining the audience every year,” adds Riley. “I hope to inspire other little girls to dance. Being part of this “Nutcracker” is something really special, and it’s A LOT of fun, too!”

MMS parents Kelly and Rod Caborn (Cassie, 10th, McKenzie ’12) are also part of the cast. Rod will reprise his role as Drosselmeyer, the magician/toymaker who brings the nutcracker to the party, and Kelly will again portray The Maid, with whom Drosselmeyer has a furtive love interest. 

The upcoming “Nutcracker” is SCBT’s 10th anniversary production, and will feature a 51-piece orchestra led by Maestro Larry Granger. Five public performances are planned, and SCBT is extending its “Friends and Family” membership to MMS families. This membership provides a $10 discount per ticket purchased for the Friday, December 14, 8:00pm performance. To claim this discount, order tickets at and enter the discount code balletmusic

Photos by Lynne Owen


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