Digital Program

Mid-Columbia Ballet

Artistic Director

Debra Pearse Rogo

Artistic Assistants

Allie Yates, Willow Busselman, Torrie Mower, Rebecca Rogo, Lily Wutzke, Baleigh Bierman


Naomie Bracy Curran Campbell Saffron Campbell Michael Cryan Brianna Deray Isa Deray Alyssa Ekstrom Emerie Fergusson Philippe Gonzalez Abigail Johnson Morgan Lowry Anniston Martin Leah Nguyen Salma Oummani Emelia Scherer Sana Schiffern Lily Stout Lucy Williams Addison Wiser

About Mid-Columbia Ballet

The Mid-Columbia Ballet (MCB) is a nonprofit corporation, whose mission is to foster and advance the art of ballet in its various forms in the Mid-Columbia region. MCB is managed by a Board of Directors and the MCB Guild is responsible for managing volunteers and many fundraising activities.

The MCB consists of young dancers committed to the art of ballet. MCB’s repertoire includes classical, neoclassical, and modern works by choreographers from throughout the United States. MCB has been granted performance rights to several Balanchine works by the George Balanchine Trust and was the first pre-professional group to perform a work by Twyla Tharp.

MCB has performed at Chop Shop: Bodies of Work in Seattle, USA/International Ballet Competition, in Austria at the Tanzsommer Austrian Arts Festival and at SPRING TO DANCE in St. Louis, Missouri. MCB has hosted Regional Dance America/Pacific Festivals four times, each time bringing to the Tri-Cities over twenty amateur and professional ballet companies, internationally known dance teachers and lecturers, and university recruiters for the 4-day convention.

MCB has also grown to be a valuable community resource. MCB received the 2020 STAR award from the City of Richland for pivoting The Nutcracker to a free movie, Clara’s Tri-Cities Nutcracker Dream that had 14,000 YouTube views and featured over 30 local businesses and locations. In addition, MCB was selected as a grant recipient for Gesa’s Local Heroes program in 2020 and 2021 in recognition of the positive impact our outreach and educational efforts have had in our community. We are very honored to be recognized this way.

Welcome Letter

Welcome to Mid-Columbia Ballet’s (MCB) 50th Anniversary season and our 48th annual presentation of the Nutcracker for the greater Mid-Columbia Community. MCB’s mission is to “foster and advance the art of ballet in its various forms through the presentation of dance performances and educational programs.” MCB believes that dance should be inclusive, and be available to all children, regardless of physical, social, or economic limitations. Dance education is a vehicle for exploring the world around us through a variety of lenses including science, technology, literature, mathematics, history, citizenship, and beyond. The traditions of dance education and performance provide participants with an ongoing essence of self-esteem, self-discipline, and respect for themselves and others.

In keeping with this vision, MCB offers a free Sensory Friendly Performance for all our mainstage productions, as well as our INCLUDE program with free dance classes for children with disabilities, Peter and the Wolf performances for elementary schools, free or reduced tickets to our school performances, and our ongoing partnership with LIGO - The Science of Dance. All these enriching activities are funded by your ticket purchases, individual and corporate donors, and the generosity of several philanthropic foundations. We are all trying to do our part in making the Mid-Columbia area a great place to live! Donations and volunteering are always welcome. Please see the pages on our website at for more information.

Many thanks to our Backdrop Sponsors for helping provide new backdrops which we will use for many more years to provide performance opportunities for our dancers and to bring artistic excellence to our Community.

Al Wells
Chair, Board of Directors
Mid-Columbia Ballet

Guest Artists


Nicole Ciapponi was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and trained with Goh Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and The San Francisco Ballet School. She was a top finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix in 2009 and received the silver medal at the Margot Fonteyn (formerly Genée) International Ballet Competition in 2008. Ms. Ciapponi joined the San Francisco Ballet in 2010, the Joffrey Ballet in 2015 and Diablo Ballet in 2022.


Marco Clemente was born in Chicago and began his dance training at the Ruth Page School of Dance. After his graduation he danced with Dayton Ballet, Minnesota Ballet, and Ballet Nebraska. In addition to company work, he has also performed as a guest artist with Visceral Dance Chicago, South Chicago Dance Theatre, and Chicago Repertory Ballet. This is his second season with Diablo Ballet.

The Nutcracker Story

Our story begins on Christmas Eve as Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum are having their annual Christmas Eve celebration. Their children, Clara and Fritz, and their guests happily admire the treasures under the brightly decorated Christmas tree. As more guests arrive, presents are opened, and the excitement grows. Soon Clara’s godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, arrives. The mysterious Drosselmeyer gives a mouse doll to Fritz, and for Clara he has a very special gift, a lovely wooden doll - a Nutcracker. Fritz jealously chases Clara, teasing her with the mouse doll, causing Clara to trip and drop the Nutcracker. Drosselmeyer comes to her rescue and returns the Nutcracker to her. After the guests depart and everyone is asleep, Clara tiptoes back into the darkened living room to find her beloved Nutcracker. An army of huge rats and mice attack Clara. Drosselmeyer appears at the stroke of midnight and strange things begin to happen. The Nutcracker and the Christmas tree begin to grow and life-sized rats and mice attack the toy soldiers while the Rat King and the Nutcracker battle. The horrible mice overpower the soldiers, and the evil Rat King seizes Clara. The noble Nutcracker has no choice but to surrender. The Rat King releases Clara and is about to deal the Nutcracker a fatal blow when Clara outsmarts the terrible villain! Drosselmeyer magically transports Clara to the Land of Snow where she is greeted by the Snow King and Queen. The journey continues into the Kingdom of Sweets. Trumpets sound, heralding the arrival of the Sugar Plum Fairy and sweets from around the world. Eventually the dream comes to an end as everyone gathers to bid Clara farewell.

First presented on December 17, 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the story of The Nutcracker is based on a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, a musician and lawyer as well as one of the master novelists of the Romantic movement in Germany. The versions of Nutcracker performed today contain virtually none of the choreography by Lev Ivanov from the original production. What has survived is the immortal Tchaikovsky score based on a story scenario by Marius Petipa, adapted from the original Hoffmann tale.

The Nutcracker


Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Debra Pearse Rogo

Lighting Design

Bill Kickbush

Costume Design

Lecreta Andrews   Willow Busselman

Specialty Design & Costumes

Greg Elder & Jeannie Wood-Elder

Rehearsal Director

Anna Lantz

Production Staff

Production Manager
Joel Rogo
Stage Manager
Gaye Wutzke
Assistant Stage Manager
Rebecca Rogo
Wardrobe Managers
Pam Campbell, Michelle Engler, Kim Hattrup, Angie Scherer, Molly Williams
Special Effects Designer
Dan Porter
Lighting & Sound Technician
Scott Thomason
Realife Photography, Charlene Hardy
Technical Director
Jason Martin

Cast List

Act I

Scene 1: The Christmas Party

Mr. Stahlbaum
Randy Hayden
Mrs. Stahlbaum
Susan Presti
Emmett Kirk
Sana Schiffern
Herr Drosselmeyer
Kyle Cox
Party Guests
Cheyenne Brown, Amber Davis, Cassandra Dicken, Rick Graff, Neil Henson, Cade Maldonardo, Kelsey Pontarolo, Vinnie Pontarolo, Kerrilynn Robinson, John Robinson
Party Children
Natalya Blackburn, Tayla Bleazard, Eleanor Brown, Marcus Davis, Callum James, Reese Mower, Carly O'Brien, Bailey Olsen, Claire Phillips, Lillian Wall, Oliver Williams
Brianna Deray
Isa Deray, Alanna Engler

Scene 2: Clara's Dream Begins

Cerise Bricker, Vianne Bricker, Maria Chmura, Brianna Dahl, Cornelia Darling, Kayla Davis, Lyra Davis, Elizabeth Flynn, Marisol Garcia, Emmaleigh Haugen, Caetlyn Kovis, Liliana Littleton, Paige Maier, London Mulholland, Reilly Murray, Tabitha Orth, Victoria Render, Ella Steiner, Rylie Walters, Sadie Wysock
Rat King
Philippe Gonzalez
Curran Campbell
Armelle Bonneville, Addison Chamberlain, Corinna Chu, Emily Croyle, Claire McNeil, Isla Williams
Claire Alley, Helena Bi, Hazel Blodgett, Keily Conley, Gwenyth Cook, Adrienne Cunanan, Claire Debban, Cora Glasford, Jayani Haack, Shannon Levey, Darby Mulholland, Parker Murray, Sarah Oh, Brooke Post, Vittoria Sabin, Inara Solomon, Allyssandra Tuura, Maya Upadhyay, Logan Wiser
Holly Adams, Maggie Avery, Zane Bickford, Nuala Brault, Louis Bricker, PJ Darling, Madison Engler, Adalynne Goodrich, Dexter Hooper, Esha Karkamkar, Evelina Magden-Rydman, Amalia Reynolds, Lauren Siefken, Ralleigh Stratton, Elizabeth Uhrich, Emily Zeng

Scene 3: The Land of Snow

Nutcracker Prince
Curran Campbell
Snow Queen
Morgan Lowry
Snow King
Michael Cryan
Ice Fairies
Nora Barrett, Eliza Bosch, Elizabeth Chavarria, Ella Mae Cotter, Charlotte Debban, Jillian Feng, Ellie Maldonado, Rose Merrill, Lillian Roberts, Robyn Wade
Naomie Bracy, Saffron Campbell, Brianna Deray, Alyssa Ekstrom, Emerie Fergusson, Abigail Johnson, Anniston Martin, Leah Nguyen, Salma Oummani, Emelia Scherer, Lily Stout, Lucy Williams, Addison Wiser

Act II

Scene 1: The Enchanted Palace

Kennedy Burke, Bianca Corilo, Madelyn Dai, Sophia Haugen, Isla Hughes, Harper Jablonski, Alexine Magdangal, Hannah Moody, Emmy Reed, Aveline Strelow, LeelaJune White, Crystal Xu
Sugar Plum Fairy
Nicole Ciapponi
Alyssa Ekstrom, Salma Oummani, Addison Wiser with Hazel Blodgett, Cerise Bricker, Vianne Bricker, Gwenyth Cook, Adrienne Cunanan, Claire Debban, Marisol Garcia, Emmaleigh Haugen, Liliana Littleton, Reilly Murray, Hannah Smith, Ella Steiner, Isla Williams, Logan Wiser
Spanish Hot Chocolate
Emerie Fergusson with Natalya Blackburn, Tayla Bleazard, Eleanor Brown, Lyra Davis, Marcus Davis, Emmett Kirk
German Marzipan
Morgan Lowry and Michael Cryan
Russian Peppermint
Saffron Campbell, Isa Deray, Abigail Johnson, Lily Stout
Arabian Coffee
Emelia Scherer with Conner Bickford, William Dahl,Cornelia Darling,Kayla Davis, Elizabeth Flynn, Genevieve Hickman, Desmond Hooper, Remi Krieg, Sophia Littleton, Paige Maier, Sarah Oh, Bailey Olsen, Claire Phillips,T aylor Post, Victoria Render, Sydney Sjerven, Inara Solomon, Abigail Stout, Allyssandra Tuura, Maya Upadhyay, Christina Yao
Chinese Tea
Naomie Bracy, Philippe Gonzalez, Leah Nguyen with Maria Chmura, Brianna Dahl, Caetlyn Kovis, London Mulholland, Sadie Wysock
Sana Schiffern
French Bon Bons
Anniston Martin and Curran Campbell with Armelle Bonneville, Addison Chamberlain, Corinna Chu, Emily Croyle, Claire McNeil, Tabitha Orth, Hannah Smith, Rylie Walters
Waltz of the Flowers
Dew Drop Fairy
Lucy Williams
Naomie Bracy, Saffron Campbell, Brianna Deray, Alyssa Ekstrom, Emerie Fergusson, Abigail Johnson, Morgan Lowry, Anniston Martin, Leah Nguyen, Salma Oummani, Emelia Scherer, Lily Stout, Addison Wiser
Sugar Plum Fairy
Nicole Ciapponi
Marco Clemente

MCB Company Dancers

Naomie Bracy

3.7 GPA Hanford HS

Loves to read, ride her bike & babysit. Hopes to be a historian.

Curran Campbell

3.8 GPA Hanford HS

Studied last summer at Houston Ballet. Hopes to be a professional dancer.

Saffron Campbell

3.8 GPA Hanford HS

Loves that MCB connects science and dance. Plans to major in aerospace engineering.

Michael Cryan

3.5 GPA Carmichael Middle School

Appreciates the training received from MCB. Hopes to be a professional ballet dancer.

Brianna Deray

4.0 GPA Hanford HS

Studies violin and loves to crochet. Aspires to be an orthodontist.

Isa Deray

4.0 GPA Hanford HS

Appreciates the loving supportive community of MCB. Plans to major in biochemistry and aspires to be a cardiologist.

Alyssa Ekstrom

3.6 GPA Kennewick HS

Studied last summer at Oklahoma City Ballet. Also studies piano, boxing and weightlifting.

Emerie Fergusson

3.8 GPA Pacific Crest Online Academy

Loves teaching ballet, floral design and jewelry making. Appreciates the responsibility, and discipline, learned from MCB.

Philippe Gonzalez

4.0 GPA Hanford HS

Appreciates the many life lessons received from studying ballet. Interested in a future in law or contemporary dance.

Abby Johnson

3.9 GPA Kamiakin HS

Loves all the outreach programs that MCB provides. Enjoys teaching ballet and doing ceramics.

Morgan Lowry

4.0 GPA Kamiakin HS

Loves to read and is in the Spanish Club at school. Hopes for a 1st career to be in ballet, and 2nd in law or medicine.

Anniston Martin

Is a 4.0 homeschooled student.

Loves to babysit and teach young ballet students. Hopes to pursue cosmetology while continuing to teach ballet.

Leah Nguyen

3.7 GPA Hanford HS

Loves to play chess and the piano. Feels MCB has given her responsibility, self-reliance, and discipline.

Salma Oummani

4.0 GPA Enterprise Middle School

She also plays violin in her school’s orchestra. She appreciates the many performing opportunities MCB provides.

Emelia Scherer

4.0 GPA Richland HS

Appreciates the performing, training, and connections that MCB provides. Hopes to balance pursuing a dance career and a love for interior design.

Sana Schiffern

4.0 GPA Hanford HS

Participates in the Chemistry and Recycling Club 2020 overall winner in Mid-Columbia Symphony Young Artists Competition.

Lily Stout

4.0 GPA Hanford HS

Loves to read and watch Murder Mystery Movies. Appreciates the mentors and roles models of MCB.

Lucy Williams

3.75 GPA Richland HS, Tri-Tech Skills Center

Studying dental assisting at Tri-Tech. Appreciates the many life lessons received from studying ballet.

Addison Wiser

3.9 GPA Kamiakin HS

Loves the outreach programs of MCB. Hopes to become a Dance specified Physical Therapist.

Trainee Company

Sadie Wysock, Caetlyn Kovis, Brianna Dahl, London Mulholland, Maria Chmura

Intermediate Company

Rylie Walters, Corinna Chu, Emily Croyle, Tabitha Orth, Claire McNeil, Cornelia Darling, Addison Chamberlain, Armelle Bonneville

Junior Company

Allyssandra Tuura, Bailey Olsen, Lyra Davis, Claire Debban, Adrienne Cunanan, Claire Phillips, Tayla Bleazard, Liliana Littleton, Reilly Murray, Hazel Blodgett, Isla Williams, Elizabeth Flynn, Ella Steiner, Paige Maier, Vianne Bricker, Gwenyth Cook, Logan Wiser, Emmaleigh Haugen, Marisol Garcia, Hannah Smith, Victoria Render, Cerise Bricker, Marcus Davis, Maya Upadhyay, Inara Solomon, Eleanor Brown, Sarah Oh, Natalya Blackburn, Emmett Kirk

MCB Staff

Baleigh Bierman, Torrie Mower, Willow Busselman, Debra Rogo, Lily Wutzke, Allie Yates, Rebecca Rogo, Susan Presti

Artistic Director

Debra Pearse Rogo


Gaye Wutzke

Artistic Assistant & INCLUDE Administrator

Torrie Mower

Artistic Assistant & INCLUDE Director

Rebecca Rogo

Artistic Assistant & Wardrobe Supervisor

Allie Yates

Programs & Outreach Coordinator

Susan Presti

Costumer & Social Media

Willow Busselman

Administrative Consultant

Renée Kolman

Artistic Intern

Baleigh Bierman

Artistic Intern

Lily Wutzke

Debra Pearse Rogo, Artistic Director

Debra grew up in Melbourne, Australia where she trained in the Cecchetti (Italian) Method of Ballet passing all exams, including her teaching certification, with Honors. She also received teaching and performing opportunities with the National Theatre and Ballet Victoria. After finishing her schooling, she performed with the Sydney City Ballet for three years before moving to the United States where she was the Assistant Director and then Artistic Director of Ballet Omaha, a professional company with its own school. In 1987, Debra and her husband, Joel, moved to Washington State to buy a small ballet school; the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet. After more than 35 years it is now the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music and includes a Performing Arts Pre-School.

Debra is currently the Chairman of The Ballet Alliance, and has previously served as Chairman of Regional Dance America, on the Honorary Committee for the USA International Ballet Competition and as Executive Director of Regional Dance America’s Craft of Choreography Conference. Debra has been a guest teacher at many US schools and universities, the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda, the 2013 Australian Cecchetti Conference, the 2014 USA International Cecchetti Conference and the 2016 Cecchetti USA Summer School. In recognition of her work in the Tri-Cities, Ms. Rogo received the City of Richland 2014 Contribution to the Arts Award.

MCB Board of Directors

Guild Representatives

Jen Chamberlain, Dawn Cryan

Honorary Board Member

Patricia Barker

Former Artistic Director of Royal New Zealand Ballet

Honorary Board Members in Memorium

Curt Colvin Patty Taylor Wally Weimer

MCB Guild

Guild Officers and Committee Chairs

Jen Chamberlain
Dawn Cryan
Neil Henson
Jody Longwell
Dawn Cryan & Lisa Wright
Ballet Café
Bouchra Oummani & Anita Petra
Lot Deray & Rosie Chu
Travers Bracy & Brandie Bracy
Christina Stout
Poinsettias/Hanging Baskets
Kay Nguyen & Becky Phillips
Restaurant Fundraisers
Aimee Kovis
Cooklies & Water
Delphine Appriou & Kris Tuura
Jen & Travis Chamberlain, Katie Croyle
Online Store
Travis Chamberlain
Viera's V-Day Treats
Angie Scherer
Front of House
Ashley Lowry & Nicole Wiser
Shevaun Martin
Alicia Brown & Enid Flynn
Jody & Ron Longwell
Naoko Schiffern & Rosie Chu

The mission of the Guild is to support and promote the Mid-Columbia Ballet in their commitment to providing high quality performing arts to our community. The Guild assumes responsibility for organizing volunteers to support MCB productions such as The Nutcracker. Guild funds help MCB with production costs such as theatre rental, costumes, guest artists, and outreach. Volunteers organize a series of various events throughout the year to raise funds for MCB.

The Guild welcomes any new members who wish to ensure that the Tri-Cities will always have an opportunity to enjoy the cultural experiences of ballet. To learn more about the Guild and how to become a member visit our Guild page.

2023-2024 Season Guild Members

Melany & Ryan Bickford
Tatyana & Tyrone Blackburn
Delphine & Alain Bonneville
Travers & Brandie Bracy
Bradley & Talena Bricker
Ross & Alicia Brown
Pamela & Dale Campbell
Travis & Jen Chamberlain
Robert & Svitlana Chmura
Rosey & Albert Chu
Jason & Andrea Cook
Katie & Tim Croyle
Dawn & Mike Cryan
Brett & Stephanie Dahl
Julie Dai
Rob & Amy Lynne Darling
Amber & Damien Davis
Michelle & David Dearlove
Jeremy & Annie Debban
Arnie & Lot Deray
Brett & Shawna Ekstrom
Michelle & Caleb Engler
Aaron & Kelly Fergusson
Danica & Rick Garcia
Rick Graff
Anita Petra & Horacio Gonzale
Jereme & Shankari Haack
Mark & Kim Hattrup
Jeremy & Cindy Haugen
Neil & Kriste Henson
Daniel & Aimee Kovis
Michael & Miriam Littleton
Ron & Jody Longwell
Ashley Lowry
Chris & Scott Lowry
Jill Lunde
Sean & Kirsten McNeil
Stephanie & Mike Maier
Jason & Shevaun Martin
Harry & Terri Miley
Heather Murray
Kay & Loc Nguyen
Jacob & Dava Olsen
Larry & Jennifer Peterson
Susan Presti
Matt & Maria Render
John & Kerrilynn Robinson
Debra & Joel Rogo
Blake & Angie Scherer
John & Naoko Schiffern
Stacey & Angela Smith
Christina & Ryan Stout
Katherine Torelli
Kristopher & Brianne Tuura
Ethan & Ashley Walters
Aaron & Skye White
Mark & Signe White
Bracan & Rachel Williams
Molly & JJ Williams
Matt & Nicole Wiser
Gaye & Michael Wutzke
Andrea Wysock

Our 2023-24 Season Supporters

The Mid-Columbia Ballet (MCB) is incorporated in Washington State as a non-profit corporation and is exempt from federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information on MCB’s finances, including funding spent on programs, do a charity search at

Join those mentioned below by giving a gift that will help MCB sustain our efforts to provide artistic excellence in our productions and community outreach programs.

Donate Now

Please patronize the local businesses and other arts groups that support MCB