Local Ballerina Dances With Minnesota Dance Theatre

by | Dec 2023

The Silberhaus family's Christmas party in "Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy" from Minnesota Dance Theatre's 2022 performance.

The Silberhaus family’s Christmas party in “Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy” from Minnesota Dance Theatre’s 2022 performance. Photo: Katie Cannon

Madison Skapyak takes part in this year’s Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy.

Minneapolis’ State Theatre transforms into a dazzling holiday dreamscape for Minnesota Dance Theatre’s latest rendition of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy this month. A 44-piece orchestra brings Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s iconic score to life while Loyce Houlton’s choreography imaginatively illustrates the story of Marie and the wintery dream woven by her mysterious Godfather Drosselmayer.

And, a young Orono native is taking to the stage to help tell the beloved story.

Excelsior Elementary School 5th grader Madison Skapyak wasted little time before embracing the world of dance, starting at the age of 3. “I’ve competed nationally in all different styles and genres,” Madison says. After two years as a member of Minneapolis’ Concept Pavielle Ballet Select, Madison is embracing the next chapter of her dancing career.

Madison Skapyak (front left) performs in Minnesota Dance Theatre's "Act I: Emergence" in the Fall 2023.

Madison Skapyak (front left) performs in Minnesota Dance Theatre’s “Act I: Emergence” in the Fall 2023. Photo: Katie Cannon

“This is my first year dancing at Minnesota Dance Theatre, and it’s my new home studio,” Madison says. To add to her list of firsts, this will also be Madison’s first time dancing Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, an annual holiday favorite of the dance company and school.

Madison will dance alongside fellow students, company and guest dancers in the roles of center Marionette, a soldier in the Toy Army and a dancer in Divertissement IV. “My favorite role is probably Divertissement IV because it is a trio with two adult dancers, my partners and myself,” Madison says. “It is a fast and fun dance where I get to do lifts and show my acrobat skills.”

Her roles in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy are just the beginning of Madison’s recent dance accolades. “I recently auditioned to attend Ballet Academy East, also known as BAE, in New York City, and I was accepted,” Madison says. The summer intensive program spans two weeks in August on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Minnesota Dance Theatre’s Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy runs from December 16–23 at State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Times and ticket prices vary.

Minnesota Dance Theatre
Facebook: Minnesota Dance Theatre
Instagram: @mndancetheatre
YouTube: MNDanceTheatre

Instagram: @madisonskapyak


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