Dress up and learn about the Nutcracker story as the characters come to life! Enjoy performances by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her friends from the Land of Sweets, make keepsake crafts, take photos with the cast, indulge in a heavenly dessert and beverage bar and don’t miss our unique Nutcracker shopping boutique.
2pm and 4pm.
Hosted in the Marzipan Room at
Laguna Dance Theatre, Home of Laguna Ballet
23854 Via Fabricante Suite F3, Mission Viejo CA 92691
**(Children under the age of 6 must be accompanied by and adult)
Seating is Limited

For more information please email



  • Your support is greatly appreciated and we look forward to the 2019 Nutcracker season!       

       2019 Nutcracker Dates

    Thursday December 19
    7:00 PM
    Friday December 20
    7:00 PM
    Saturday December 21
    2:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    Sunday December 22
    1:00 PM & 6:00 PM

    Laguna Ballet’s 2019 Nutcracker at Saddleback College McKinney Theatre

    McKinney Theatre Seating Chart

  • Please join us for our future Nutcracker performances, a family favorite holiday tradition, presented by Laguna Ballet.
  • Thank you to all who attended and participated in the 2018 performances of The Nutcracker!

Laguna Ballet is a non-profit junior ballet company founded by Shery Gilbert, and is comprised of students ages 5 and up. For the past 34 years, over 90 children from Orange County participate each year in Laguna Ballet’s full length Nutcracker ballet.

Participants in the production are given the opportunity to dance with professional guest artists from companies such as New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Moscow Classical Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. Auditions are required for all participants.


Spring Showcase

Thank you to all of our volunteers and families that participated in out Spring 2019 Showcases!

We are looking forward to a wonderful 2019-2020 Season!

Laguna Ballet hosts an annual spring performance which showcases the Classical Ballet Division, Professional Children’s Division and Commercial/Contemporary Division.

Professional guest artists are invited to perform with our students to enhance their performing experience.  Previous guest artist include Principal and soloist dancer from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet,  Miami City Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet.

2019 Performance Dates

Thursday June 13th

Mixed Rep

Spring Showcase


Friday June 14th

Swan Lake

Classical Ballet Division Spring Showcase


Master Classes & Upcoming Events





Master Class Series  | Intermediate & Advanced

Register for Clifford Williams Master Class:

2-Day Pop-Up Workshop with Jodie Gates

Link to REGISTER for Pop-Up Intensive

Friday, June 22 – Saturday, June 23, 2018 

Laguna Dance Theatre
23854 Via Fabricante, Mission Viejo 92691

Laguna Dance Festival partners with Laguna Dance Theatre/Laguna Ballet to offer a one time only experience.  This 2-day Pop-Up workshop features ballet class, Forsythe repertory, choreography class and coaching sessions with LDF Founder & Artistic Director Jodie Gates.

Ms. Gates is the Vice Dean of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance where she leads the teaching philosophy of today’s successful “hybrid dancer.”  Former principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Frankfurt Ballet, she is a nationally recognized choreographer and stager of William Forsythe’s ballets.  Surprise guest artist to be announced.

$150 per student

June 22 1:00pm – 5:00 pm
June 23 1:00pm – 6:00 pm

Laguna Dance Theatre is excited to announce Rainer Krenstetter, Principal with Miami City Ballet and Former Principal with StaatsBallet Berlin, Guest Artist in Residence April-June 2018


Rainer Krenstetter began his training at the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera, then trained Royal Ballet School in London joining the a corps de ballet member with the Vienna State Opera Ballet in 2000. He joined the Berlin State Ballet in 2002 under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov; becoming a principal dancer in 2013. Since 2014 he has been principal dancer Miami City Ballet.

Rainer won the Prix De Lausanne in 1999, and has been a member of the jury at the International Ballet Competition in Rome and Riga.


Upcoming Events

Laguna Dance Theatre is excited to announce Rainer Krenstetter, Principal with Miami City Ballet and Former Principal with StaatsBallet Berlin, Guest Artist in Residence April-June 2018


Rainer Krenstetter began his training at the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera, then trained Royal Ballet School in London joining the a corps de ballet member with the Vienna State Opera Ballet in 2000. He joined the Berlin State Ballet in 2002 under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov; becoming a principal dancer in 2013. Since 2014 he has been principal dancer Miami City Ballet. Rainer won the Prix De Lausanne in 1999, and has been a member of the jury at the International Ballet Competition in Rome and Riga.


Shery Gilbert, Artistic Director

Ms. Gilbert, began her training in Los Angeles at the Lichine Studio under the tutelage of Irena Kosmouska, later moving to Long Beach Ballet and eventually to the Orange County Ballet under the direction of Michael Panieff. While recovering from knee surgery, she obtained a BFA at the University of California, Irvine. It was there that she met Antony Tudor, the associate director of the American Ballet Theatre. Mr. Tudor became her mentor and changed the way she approached Classical Ballet. Ms. Gilbert became a member of Ballet Nacional de Panama. She continued to study with Jillana, former NYCB Principal and Wilhelm Burmann in New York City. In addition to founding Laguna Dance Theatre and Laguna Ballet, she continues to actively coach dancers of the New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Ms. Gilbert is also a member of the caDance Advisory Board and sponsor of the caDance Festival 2005 & 2006.

Katherine Rochon-Thomas, Ballet

Katherine is an alumna of Laguna Ballet, where she trained under Shery Gilbert.  She continued her training at SAB, PNB, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Dallas Fort Worth as a scholarship student and trainee. Katherine developed an interest in The Pilates Method and studied and taught under Master teachers Diane Diefenderfer and Ron Fletcher. In addition to running FyneLine Body Conditioning, Katherine continued to teach and perform throughout Orange County and Colorado for Defores, Ballet Pacifica, The Crystal Cathedral and Belliston Ballet Academy. In 2015, Katherine returned to Laguna Dance Theatre as a teacher and choreographer; and currently directs The Sugar Plum Tea for Laguna Ballet.

Nicole Douglas- Ballet

Nicole grew up in Massachusetts and trained with Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She danced with Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company for two years performing in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, and Contemporary Repertoire. After recovering from a hip injury, she joined Ballet Magnificat’s trainee program in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2010 she began teaching in Massachusetts & Mississippi.  Nicole Joined LDT in 2017.


Sara Windal, Ballet
An Orange County native, Sara trained in Orange County and on full scholarship at Stanley Holden Dance Center in LA. She attended summer intensives in San Francisco Ballet, Paris, France, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and studied privately with Rebecca Wright and Patrick Frantz. She was awarded a Full scholarship to Pacific Northwest Ballet School and performed with the Company in Symphony in C, Midsummer’s Nights Dream, Nutcracker, Brahms Schoenberg and a world premier ballet by Kent Stowell. She joined Hartford Ballet as an apprentice and then spent many years as a Principal dancer with Anaheim Ballet. Sara performed lead dance roles locally in The Glory of Christmas, West Side Story, and Pippin and was featured in an Oingo Boingo MTV music video. Sara graduated from UCLA with BA in English Literature and did graduate work in New Testament studies. She has been teaching ballet since 2000 and has been teaching at LDT since 2006.

Sven Toorvald, Ballet

Sven Toorvald is an alumnus of Westside Ballet who has danced with Houston Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Company. Sven is also an alumnus of AFT, the American Film Institute. His highly-regarded documentary, The Ballerina Interviews, premiered on PBS in November 2003.


Ellen Cretti, Pre-Ballet/Tap/Jazz

Mrs. Cretti is a former Manhattan Rockette who toured cross-country with Bob Newhart, Ricky Nelson, The Four Seasons, and the New Christy Minstrells. Ellen has choreographed and performed in numerous musical and dance productions including Rosie in Bye Bye Byrdie, The Boyfriend, Mame. South Pacific, Oklahoma. She played the lead roles in original musical productions of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella at the PAF Playhouse in New York. She performed in Guys and Dolls under the direction of Brian Dennehy. She trained in musical theatre and assisted in classes at Hurbert Berghof Studio in New York City. She was the Founder/Director of the Hillside Studio, for Dance and Drama in Huntington, New York for ten years. She taught at the Royal Dance Center in Florida from 1985-1999. Ellen relocated to California and has been with Laguna Dance Theatre for fourteen years. She has a gift to teach preschoolers and has successfully developed a dynamic children’s dance program here at LDT.


Stephanie Dai

Stephanie Dai is a dancer, freelance artist, and recent graduate of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance’s inaugural BFA class. Trained in the improvisational technologies of William Forsythe, Stephanie currently plays with marrying the aesthetics of contemporary and hip hop into a rich, personal style. Her versatility and distinct improvisation work has allowed her to headline events with the hip-hop crew, Miniotics, be featured in a UNIQLO commercial directed by Solange Knowles, and perform as a soloist in the original works of Bill T. Jones and Sonya Tayeh. Stephanie hopes to continue freelancing while combining her love for movement with other passions such as visual media and pedagogical research to create interdisciplinary works of art.



Emily Ortega- Lyrical, Jazz
Emily Ortega’s love for dance started at the young age of 3. Inspired by her family’s history of dance, she knew it was something she wanted to pursue. Emily is trained in all styles of dance. She has competed and won multiple titles at regional and national competitions. Emily is currently pursuing her professional career as a dancer with the Movement Talent Agency and is consistently training with the industries top choreographers. Emily’s desire for teaching began around the age of 16 while assisting classes. Sharing her passion with students and watching them grow and evolve into the dancers they aspire to be is what motivates Emily to present the best to her students.

Emily Kimbro- Ballet, Pilates
Emily began her training at Laguna Ballet under the direction of Shery Gilbert at the age of six.  She attended summer intensives at Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  While dancing at Laguna Ballet, she performed many leading roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Odette in Swan Lake.  She is Body Arts & Sciences International (BASI) certified in Pilates.  Emily earned her BS in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton and will graduate from Chapman University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2021.

Marisa Fiore-Severen-Social Media & Website

Marisa began her training at LDT in 1987 and received a BA in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in Dance Performance from Chapman University. She is also certified by the American Ballet Theatre in the Primary through Level 5. Marisa is a Body Arts & Sciences International (BASI) certified Pilates instructor with a specialization certification in dance from BASI and founder of Laguna Corps Pilates at Laguna Dance Theatre in 2006. Marisa’s repertoire includes leading roles in Laguna Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and other classical ballets along with original works by Shery Gilbert. Marisa has been an assistant choreographer for Laguna Ballet’s productions since 2003. Marisa’s family relocated to Florida in early 2019 and she will continue working remotely managing LDTs Social Media/Website, and guest teaching for Laguna Ballet


Laguna Corps Pilates | Benefits of Pilates

  • Low impact fitness developed to accommodate all levels activity
  • Increased body awareness
  • Postural improvement and correct alignment
  • Fitness that benefits every type of body for every age and ability
  • Overall increased strength and flexibility
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased range of motion and mobility
  • Joint stabilization and mobility for those who suffer from arthritic conditions
  • Strengthening injuries post rehabilitation
  • Increased core strength
  • Cross training designed specifically for athletes, and dancers
  • Balance and coordination
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Overall Well being

For more information on schedule and pricing contact

Marisa Fiore Severen 


Body Arts & Sciences International (BASI) Certified; Dance Specialization Certified
BA Chapman University, Theatre & Dance
American Ballet Theatre Teacher Certification Primary – Level 5
Founder of Laguna Corps Pilates 2006


Personalized precision fitness training for all ages and abilities.

Pilates is a method of exercise designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Pilates is not only for fitness, but also important for sports training and physical strengthening for injuries post rehabilitation. Practiced faithfully, Pilates will provide numerous benefits including increased lung capacity, improved joint stability and mobility, strength and flexibility. Coordination – both muscular and mental, will be strengthened in an effective Pilates program along with posture, balance and core strength. Pilates teaches balance and control of the body, and that capacity spills over into other areas of one’s life.Laguna Corps Pilates offers certified professional training with private or semi-private sessions developed specifically for each client’s needs. A wide variety of Pilates equipment designed by Balanced Body and Current Concepts offers a full Pilates experience. Each session is designed specifically to maximize the knowledge and execution of Joseph H. Pilates technique.

About Us

Laguna Dance Theatre offers strong pre-professional ballet training, customized to the aspirations and possibilities of the individual student. Laguna Dance Theatre founded in 1985 under the direction of Shery Gilbert and is the official home of the nonprofit arts organization Laguna Ballet.

In addition to ballet classes, LDT also offers the best in jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, pilates and classes for dancers from age 3 to adult.

Pre-School Dance

We have an excellent preschool program which develops rhythm, flexibility, strength, musicality, coordination and self-esteem. Mommy and me classes, ballet, tap and jazz for children ages 3-6 and summer dance camps are available.

Young Dancer

Classes are offered for the serious student and those looking for a well rounded dance education.  Dancers are introduced to proper technique and discipline in a fun and supportive atmosphere and form life long friendships.


We offer a two tract program for aspiring professional dancers, or those who wish continue their education at a collegiate level.  Technique, pointe, variations, pas de deux, pilates, and dance history offer a well rounded dance education. Private coaching and original choreography are available.  Spotlight, YAGP and Prix de Lausanne competitions are recommended.