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Kanyon Elton and his sister, Marlee have been dancing together their whole lives (Ziegler Photography) 2014


By Rebecca Rudolph
The Star
November 21, 2014


[Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA] – When Sun Prairie high School senior Kanyon Elton was two years old, he was a dancer. Mary Poppins was his favorite movie, just to watch Dick Van Dyke’s footwork. “The chimney sweep song he had down pat, all over our living room,” Kim Elton, his mom, said.

Now, more than a decade later, he’s a lead in the Midwest Performing Arts’ Nutcracker performances on Saturday, Dec. 6.

“Every studio usually has their own version of the Nutcracker, and I feel like what (the director) has put together is a completely different Nutcracker than I’ve ever performed or seen,” Kanyon said.

The story line of the ballet is well known. Godfather Drosselmeyer, a toymaker, gives two children gifts at a Christmas Eve party. Clara receives china dolls, which come to life that night.

“Pay attention to how people act towards each other,” Kaynon said. “How people react to other people tells the entire story.”

Meghan McDermott is the owner, artistic director and instructor at the Midwest Performing Arts, and the Eltons said she’s a fantastic instructor and director. “She is not a high stress person. She is just lovely. She’s made a huge impression,” Kim said. “Ultimately, I think we ended up in the best place for both kids.”

In addition to Kanyon dancing in the Nutcracker, his sister, Marlee, a Sun Prairie High School junior, will be performing. “My sister and I have our quarrels, just sibling things, but I think it’s fun to have someone in the family to (dance) with,” Kanyon said. They’ve been performing together their whole lives, so seeing the Nutcracker this year will be bitter sweet since it’s their last show together, Kim said.

This is his second year in this roll as the harlequin doll, nutcracker, cavalier and Russian. “I feel like I can be more expressive and fix myself in small details I wasn’t able to fix before,” Kayon said.

This is done with practice on variations, which are solos, and with mentoring from McDermott.

It’s also his last show as a high school student.

Kanyon and Marlee are two of eight Sun Prairie residents in the Nutcracker. Others include: Lauren Zernov, Abby Harmans, Ellen Hebgen, Abigail Folz, Allysun Gillham and Meghan Hebgen. Total, there are 104 dancers, including everyone from five year olds to adults, from Waunakee, Madison, Middleton, DeForest, Sun Prairie, Prairie du Sac, Middleton, Dane, Lodi and Poynette.

The pre-professional male ballet dancer first entered the dance scene shortly after chimney sweeping the living room in a basic children’s class. From there, Kanyon progressed into many areas, including jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern and break dancing.

“I like the feeling of being on stage and the movement you do while dancing,” Kanyon said. “I just loose myself in it.”

It’s incredible to watch him dance, because he assumes a new level of confidence, Kim said. “We’ve never made them dance,” Kim said. “They always chose to dance.”

Although dance involves grace, it also takes more physical ability than people realize, Kanyon said. “If a guy would come in and take a class, he’d be sweating,” he said.

Dancers have to build and learn to use muscles efficiently, otherwise injury or pain could occur, he said. Using certain muscles with certain moves is key, otherwise executing moves, like lifts, are dangerous.

There will be two performances of the Nutcracker on Saturday, Dec. 6. Both the 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances will be at the Middleton High School Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol St., Middleton. Tickets for adults are $19, and tickets for children under 12 cost $14. They are available online at


Copyright 2014, Hometown News LLC



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