Soledad High School student Kali Jimenez dances as Clara with the Nutcracker Prince, played by Gideon Brown, during the “A Toast to Dance” fundraiser on Oct. 8 at Scheid Vineyards in Greenfield. (Ginnie Guidotti)

SALINAS VALLEY — Monterey County Dance Foundation hosted “A Toast to Dance” fundraiser earlier this month at Scheid Vineyards in Greenfield to raise money for new costumes.

The Saturday afternoon event consisted of a variety of “The Nutcracker Ballet” dance performances, musical entertainment by the Ettinger Trio and live painting by Gloria Sanchez, who previously worked as lead muralist on the Foundation’s “Nutcracker”-themed mural at the Monterey County Dance Theatre studio in King City.

Caricature artist Elliot Riley also joined the fun creating one-of-a-kind caricatures of guests, in addition to a silent auction, wine tasting, raffles and delicious catering by Rosa Pacheco.

“We thank Scheid Vineyards for helping make this event a reality and all of the artists, musicians and dancers who participated and, most of all, those who came out and supported our mission,” said Teri Storelli, president of Monterey County Dance Foundation.

Dancers in the 2022 production of “The Nutcracker Ballet” perform during Saturday’s fundraiser: (from left) Alicia Quintan as Dancing Bear, Makayla Ramos as Toy Soldier, Kali Jimenez as Clara, Fatima Trujillo as Harlequin/Columbine and Anahi Cervantes as Toy Dollie. (Ginnie Guidotti)

Founded in 1992, Monterey County Dance Foundation is celebrating 30 years of supporting youth dancers in South Monterey County. The nonprofit organization ensures that “no classical dancer in southern Monterey County participating in their programs pays any fees for productions that they participate in,” Storelli said.

The Foundation also offers scholarships to local and nationally recognized dance programs, as well as scholarships to high school seniors.

The goal for this year’s fundraising efforts is to raise enough money to replace the ensemble costumes, known as the “Snow Costumes,” used annually in the “Nutcracker” ballet and throughout the years in various other capacities and productions.

“These are the go-to tutus for the company for large ensemble dances and are in desperate need of replacing,” Storelli said.

Snowflake Sponsors who have agreed to purchase a replacement tutu in its entirety include Steve Schmidt, Barbara Plaskett, John and Janet Buttgereit, John and Annette Romans, and Teri and Anthony Storelli.

There is still time to become a Snowflake Sponsor by mailing a check for $300 to Monterey County Dance Foundation, P.O. Box 2323, King City, CA 93930.

“The Nutcracker Ballet” cast members join some of the Snowflake Sponsors who have agreed to purchase a replacement tutu in its entirety: (beginning from third from left) Steve Schmidt, Barbara Plaskett, Janet and John Buttgereit, and Teri Storelli. (Ginnie Guidotti)

Among this year’s “Nutcracker” dancers who performed at the Oct. 8 fundraiser were: Kali Jimenez as Clara, Gideon Brown as Nutcracker Prince, Fatima Trujillo as Harlequin/Columbine, Anahi Cervantes as Toy Dollie, Makayla Ramos as Toy Soldier, and Alicia Quintan as Dancing Bear.

Under the artistic direction of Monterey County Dance Theatre’s Jan Harkness, the 2022 production of “The Nutcracker Ballet” is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Dec. 9-11, at the Robert Stanton Theater in King City.

Teri Storelli contributed to this article.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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