Kaleidoscope: 15 years of the Nutcracker

Nearly 400 ballet students at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy performed in three shows of “Scenes from The Nutcracker” over the weekend in Hood River Middle School’s auditorium.

Claire Rawson as one of the Dew Drop Fairies.

David Mackintosh
Claire Rawson as one of the Dew Drop Fairies.

This was the 15th annual benefit performance of “Scenes from The Nutcracker” for FISH and Providence Hospice of the Gorge.

Nancy Clement, ballet director at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy, said in her message to the audience, “What a wonderful way to share our love of dance and to support FISH and Providence Hospice of the Gorge!”

This year, as usual, all three performances played to full houses, and whereas past shows have pulled in $2,500 or so, “this year it was $3,500!” Clement said. And that’s not counting the tons of food donated. “I’m very happy,” she added.

“Scenes from the Nutcracker” began when Clement’s students danced at the local senior centers: Down Manor, Parkhurst House and Hood River Care Center. Community interest began to grow, as did the number of dancers, and so the production was moved to the stage and opened to the public as an annual fundraiser.

Megan Hobbs and Mikayla Kiyokawa, seniors at Hood River Valley High School, and Dominique See, a senior at White Salmon, shared the lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy. See, Sierra Johnson and Taniya Roberts all danced as the beautiful Snow Queen.

The coveted role of Clara was shared by Ashley Hendricks, Madi Wofford and Fiona McGlaughlin; Luke Southall, Josephine Stenn and Caroline Hyde shared the role of Fritz, Clara’s naughty brother.

The Mechanical Dolls this year were Megan Hobbs, Megumi Hosaka and Anneke Virk, and the Dancing Bears were Olivia Acosta, Elizabeth Bricker and Rory Krehbiel.

Clement dedicated this year’s shows to “Nutcracker friendships,” inspired by her friendship with Ann Morgan Strasser, with whom she danced The Nutcracker at Ballet West in Utah.

“We have a very special friendship that that began with ballet,” she told the audience. “One of the things I love seeing are the friendships that begin here in our dance studio.

“Play dates are set up after ballet with the little ones; students request to be in class with their friends from across the river, and some very special and long-lasting ties have developed among the advanced girls — after all, some have been dancing together since they were Baby Mice!

“So here’s to celebrating the special friendships of Nutcracker,” Clement said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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