Performing in The Nutcracker is a rite of passage for many young dancers, and something they look forward to each December. From Polichinelles to Party Children, see how Pacific Northwest Ballet Company dancers began their life long journey of dancing in The Nutcracker.
NOELANI PANTASTICO, Principal dancer
Originally from Oahu, Hawaii, Noelani trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She attended Summer Courses with Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and she joined the Company in 1997.
Watch her perform as Dewdrop!
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Principal dancer
Elizabeth is from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and began her training with the Academy of Ballet Arts, the Rock School of Dance Education, and PNB Summer Courses. She started professionally performing with North Carolina Dance Theater (now known as Charlotte Ballet), Pennsylvania Ballet, and Ballet West before coming to PNB in 2011 and quickly rising through the ranks.
This year, Liz will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Coffee, Marzipan, and Dewdrop.
BENJAMIN GRIFFITHS, Principal dancer
Ben grew up in Boise, Idaho, where he trained with Lisa Moon. He later studied at the American School of Ballet and attended summer courses with both PNB School and San Francisco Ballet. He danced at Boston Ballet before joining PNB in 2005.
Ben performs as the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavelier as well as Candy Cane this year.
NANCY CASCIANO, corps de ballet
Nancy grew up in Atlanta, GA. She studied at the School of American Ballet as well as PNB School, and she took summer courses at PNB, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. She joined PNB in 2014 as an apprentice.
This year, Nancy will perform the roles of Party Mother, Marzipan, Harlequin, Flower, Snowflake, Arabian Coffee, and Spanish Hot Chocolate (pictured above!).
MADISON RAYN ABEO, corps de ballet
Madison is a Seattle native. She studied at Cornish Preparatory Dance Program as well as PNB School. She attended summer courses at American Ballet Theatre, LA Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Summer Dance Lab, and PNB. She joined us as an apprentice last year.
She’ll perform the roles of Grandmother, Harlequin, Columbine, Snowflake, Marzipan, and Flower in this year’s Nutcracker.
NICOLE RIZZITANO, corps de ballet
Nicole comes from Pittsburgh, where she studied at Pittsburgh Ballet House. She also studied at PNB School, and took summer courses here as well as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Boston Ballet School, and Charlotte Ballet. She joined PNB as an apprentice in 2014.
You can see Nicole as Grandmother, Columbine, Snowflake, Marzipan, and Flower this year.
AMANDA MORGAN, corps de ballet
Amanda is another local: She’s from Tacoma, WA. She studied at PNB School as well as Dance Theatre Northwest, and she attended summer courses at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Boston Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. As part of PNB School’s exchange program, she also performed with Dresden Semperoper Ballett. She joined PNB as an apprentice last year.
See Amanda in the roles of Mother, Snowflake, Marzipan, and Flower this year!
CECILIA ILIESIU, corps de ballet
Cecilia is from New York City, where she studied at the School of American Ballet. She also attended summer courses with Boston Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet Schools. Before joining PNB in 2015, she was a soloist at Carolina Ballet.
This season, she’ll perform the roles of Mrs. Stahlbaum, Party Mother, Snowflake, Arabian Coffee, Marzipan, Flower, Dewdrop, and Spanish Hot Chocolate.
MADISON TAYLOR, CORPS DE BALLET
Madison Taylor is from Gig Harbor, WA. She trained at Tacoma City Ballet and PNB School, in addition to summer courses at American Ballet Theatre and PNB School. Like Amanda, she also performed with Dresden Semperoper Ballett as part of PNB School’s exchange program. She performed with Ballet West before joining PNB in 2015.
This year, you’ll see her as Mrs. Stahlbaum, Party Mother, Harlequin, Snowflake, Spanish Hot Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, Marzipan, or a Flower.
Catch these dancers on stage in George Balanchine’s THE NUTCRACKER
NOVEMBER 24 – DECEMBER 28 AT MCCAW HALL.
“Now” Photos by Angela Sterling.