Scenes from the Nutcracker at HRMS

Local ballet students from Columbia Gorge Dance Academy perform their annual holiday show, "Scenes from the Nutcracker," on Saturday in the auditorium at Hood River Middle School.

There will be two shows, at 1 and 4 p.m., with different casts performing at each one. The performances are a fundraiser for FISH and Hospice of the Gorge; audience members are asked to bring canned food for FISH or a cash donation for Hospice.

The majority of the ballet is staged by Nancy Clement, ballet director at the academy, and is based on the version by the late William Christensen. Laurissa Pennington and Nicole Sherrell, both seniors at Hood River Valley High School, will share the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Julie Stanley and Rachel Nice will dance the role of Clara. Dolls will be danced by Lydia Diers and Allison Byers, and the Bears are danced by Christa Chandler and Ariel MacMillan. The Snow Queen will be danced by Krista Apland, and Maddie Priest and Hannah Jacobson share the role of the Dew Drop Fairy. A "fight scene," the battle between the mice and soldiers, is a new addition to this year's performance.

This will mark the fourth year dance academy students have staged the program at the middle school. The production involves coordination and volunteer help from many in the community: Janet O'Rourke, Kathleen Priest, Jacquie Barone and Shelley Hight have clocked many hours coordinating costumes and scenery art; Rachel Krummel, HRVHS drama director, and her students coordinate the lights and volunteer as back stage assistants; and numerous "helping moms" sew costumes and donate money for sets, costumes and other necessities.

"It is truly a community event," Clement said.

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